Take Your Time
Hey everyone. While I’m still sitting and waiting on Hoosier’s future I still have Zeke in work. I took Zeke to MayDaze Horse Trials and did novice. He quickly went on my naughty list. At the ditch, after being great until that point, he dumped me and took off like a man. He came up to the ditch and wanted no part of it. He caught me off guard so I tried to jump it for the both of us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t count when I jump it by myself. So since at that point the show was over for me, I went and schooled him over every ditch the Kentucky Horse Park owns when the show was over the next day, and again on Tuesday when the Horse Park offered schooling. All that being said, the show wasn’t a complete flop. We did get a 28.5 in dressage, which was his best test yet, so at least there’s progress there.
All of this has gotten me thinking about young horses and how funny, but complicated they can be. I love Zeke, and I do believe that he is very talented, but MayDaze has humbled me to remember that you have to take your time with the young ones, especially if they have potential. I have had people ask me why I don’t go ahead and move Zeke up because he jumps everything so big. Well, one of the reasons I don’t move him up is because he jumps everything so big. Just because a horse has a lot of scope and power doesn’t mean they should move through the levels quickly. It only means you’re going to scare a young talented horse, and once you scare horses from moving them up too fast it’s hard to get their confidence back.
That being said, Zeke stopping at the ditch doesn’t mean he’s been pushed too fast (it’s only novice), but what it does mean is he’s not ready to move up. I really need him to do all three phases solid before he gets to move up. I do believe that he is getting closer to a move-up but I don’t mind taking all the time he needs at the lower levels. Why? Because the longer you spend at the lower levels creating a foundation with the fundamentals, the faster you can move up at the upper levels. I have learned this going from Hoosier to Zeke. There are little steps that I skipped with Hoosier that I am paying for and trying to fix now. But like I’ve said before, I’m still learning and will continue to learn from every horse and every aspect in this sport.
One of the most frustrating and most attractive things about our sport is it can never be perfect; we are always learning and always getting better. So my advice to all of you bringing along your own young horses is to take your time. It will be worth it in the long run.
Until next time, safe rides!