Right now both Flip and Bella are out on trial which makes me nervous but that is sometimes the only way to get business done. I know both of the people who have them out so I am comfortable with the situation. I personally hate trials with a passion. I always had really bad luck with them in the past but it seems like with the CANTER horses I have had good luck so I might be a bit more relaxed now. The trick is making sure you know the people who are taking the horse, putting a good contract in place and praying 🙂
I dropped Flip off to Mogie who is an upper level event rider that I lesson with. She had seen me ride him but had not ridden him herself so I was really hoping she liked him as much as I did. I took a lesson on her ex 3* horse which was so much fun! Boy, you forget what it is like to just concentrate on yourself. Riding the greenies gives me lots of bad habits so I just worked on me. We did a bunch on the flat and then some work over fences and I think I giggled the whole ride. He obviously had his own opinions about everything and figuring out his buttons was a comedy act. If I touched him in a way he didn’t like he would give me a little buck to let me know that was not appropriate but sometimes it was him that needed to remember the rules. He cracks me up because he walked out of the barn like an old man (I think he was 20+) but the minute you got him really working it was like you were on a different horse. He made me really work for everything because he was pretty slow but she said I did a good job of making him really work and not just fake it 🙂 He got quite excited about the jumping and we did a few courses with me trying to figure out his buttons. Keeping him uphill and packaged together was the theme because he liked to get a bit strung out and flatten his jump. What a fun ride it was and something I should do more often.
After I finished up my lesson Mogie brought Flip in to ride. Now he hadn’t been ridden all week due to the rain and he had been mostly standing inside. I wasn’t sure what he would think of her ring as it is a big ring with no fence around it on a very open property but of course he showed off. Allie and I thought he was going to be the type that showed off and so far I think that is the case because he is always better when he goes places. It was the first time I had seen him really being ridden seriously but someone else and it was almost like I didn’t recognize him. Before and after footage is an amazing thing because he has transformed himself into a different animal. His first few rides were like riding a horse who had his head in my face, no concept of forward and almost like a board. No bending, hated contact, angry about leg and just sort of confused about the whole process. He left me wondering how the heck they race them.
I really didn’t have that many rides under him because he needed time off. He moved very body sore and mentally just wasn’t ready unlike some other horses who come in. He needed to just relax so he got lightly evaluated but mostly just turned out. It was only in the past 2-3 wks that I started to put him in a 3 day a week work program. He is a 3 yr but also one that looks like he has a lot of growing to do so a light program seemed to work best for him. I changed the bit to the duo, added a running martingale and showed him a bit about how to use his body by stretching and going forward. He seemed to really be getting it more and more each ride.
I am mad that I didn’t get any footage of his last two rides because if I showed it to you I swear you would think it was a different horse. He was beautiful. When Mogie was riding him she had a big smile. She gave me the highest compliment saying I had done a great job of starting him. He was soft in the bridle, lightly stretching to the hand, forward, moving off the leg and she said he had three really nice gaits but especially his canter. She loved how balanced and uphill it was. She said she could feel him really pushing with his inside hind leg in both directions using it underneath his body. He sure didn’t start out that way! He was also so focused and behaved. He really didn’t look at anything and was so agreeable about going to work. Quite the change in attitude from his arrival.
He is a great example of treating every horse like an individual. I get the itch to ride them all but he clearly told me what his program should be. When he arrived in August he needed more time physically and mentally and that time really made the different along with the chiropractor getting him all happy in his body again. I also had his teeth done before he went on trial and they really needed it! He had a cap so loose that the dentist reached right in and pulled it out. He got two more taken out and two other loose teeth. He had some very sharp edges as well.
I should have had that done sooner but it is hard to call the dentist in for just one or two horses and nobody else was due.
Bella left in the middle of the huge rain storm so not sure how it is going with her but I did get a report that she settled in like she had been there forever and was super nice to handle and work around.