I mentioned my APHA colt, “Chase,” in my last column – since then, he’s started to come along under saddle. He’s learned to stretch into the side reins and begin working over his back, and I’ve seen his lofty trot stride begin to emerge. He’s become reliable about crossing ditches and the small bridge on the property where I board him.
He’s figured out that the outside leg cue means “lope,” and he’s able to bend away from my inside leg on a circle.
I can honestly say he’s got the best mind of any young horse I’ve ridden. He’s quick on the uptake, eager to please, and I even thought I’d be able to tell you he’s not at all spooky. Unfortunately, he disproved that theory when he shied at a stored canoe the other day, but even then, he wasn’t at all bad. He was reasonable about it, and he trusted me to work him past it with far less protest than most young – or even older – horses.
I have to say the situation has met and surpassed my expectations. I doubt Chase had any expectations, but he seems to be enjoying his new experience. He’s very much like a Labrador puppy on the ground. He picked up my hairnet the other day after a ride and shook and chewed it until I intervened. Given his baby antics, it’s kind of shocking how workmanlike he’s been under saddle. I know he’ll dry up soon enough, but I’m enjoying the baby shenanigans while they last.
Seeing him begin to develop into a reliable young riding horse is sort of what I imagine it’s like to see a toddler become a child and then a teenager. I feel like I’m carving a work of art out of stone – slowly chipping away the excess portions so that this lovely young being can emerge.
We did a lot of groundwork from the time he was a weanling, but there’s something about actually clambering up on a young horse’s back that brings the partnership to a new level. It’s when both horse and rider say, “OK, this is where the rubber meets the road … Can I trust you?”
In this case, I feel the answer from both parties has been a definitive, “yes.”
Here at The CE, we strive to foster the same sort of meaningful relationships with – and when at all possible, between – our columnists, our advertisers, our directory members. In this edition, you’ll see that we recognized riders who worked hard to get to the Pinto World Championship Show and the Georgia State Federation of Saddle Clubs state show this year. We’ve added a new columnist, aspiring journalist Analisa Camelin, who’s currently studying at the University of Louisiana, and we’re checking back in with the Berry College Equestrian Team as they begin the process of defending their national champion status for a third time. We caught up with internationally-recognized dressage instructor Wendy Murdoch and talked with her about how she’s helping horse owners on social media, and we got the scoop on the unique Southern Equestrian T-shirts you’re starting to see at horse shows throughout the Southeast.
You’ll also notice we’ve added a calendar of horse events in the Southeast for the next few months. If you’ve got a show, clinic, training challenge, trail ride or other event we need to add, simply email me – we’re providing this as a free service. Calendar deadlines are the same as ad deadlines – see pages four and 22.
Finally, enjoy your fall – the riding weather is shaping up nicely!