So I am more than pleased with how Bear (see http://talldarkandspotty.blogspot.com/) is coming along. It’s been over a year since I bought him and he’s a super horse. But I’m looking for another challenge, a different version of the same challenge I guess. Bear was two and a half when I bought him, so we have taken things really slow. He was nearly three before I first sat on him, I didn’t start his serious under saddle training until he was three, and even then we’ve taken it slow and easy on his body and mind. The result is that we both came out of the experience happy and healthy, and we’ve had great success along the way. I don't plan on taking things any quicker with him, so he's still a long term goal.
I still wonder sometimes if I might be able to eventually train for other people, but when taking on other horses for training you’re making some pretty big promises, and those results are expected to come in neat 30, 60, or 90 day packages! I want to try to put more consistent training on a horse that is the right age for full training, and see where I can get. The next logical step is to start another horse, and re-evaluate myself along the way. I figure its a good evaluation of myself, and a good way to keep fresh things in mind with Bear; each horse offers different problems and makes you think of new and creative exercises as solutions.
So here’s the goal:
• Keep my eye out for a good project horse (also a test of selecting a good horse!)
• Put a real sold 90 days of training on him (or her)
• Get him going well over fences (I’m looking for something that has at least been started, so that I can put a discipline specific finish on him)
• Spend a fourth month testing him out with other riders, and shows
• Find him a good show home early spring
Right now the market is flooded with horses with little to no training, and as much as I’d like to think that with the local auction shutting down they’re no longer being sent to Mexico to become dog food, I doubt that every seller is taking the time to find their beasties good homes. The best way to give a horse a future is giving them solid training that allows them to be a useful and safe companion even if they don’t turn out to be terribly talented at a given discipline.
So this is the goal, to bring a horse from being nothing but a “potential hunter” to the real deal “trained and proven show horse”. If he proves to have no talent, make sure that he is safe and reliable for his new home. And of course, I’ll be documenting each step of the way!