The squeaky wheels get the grease! A number of you have made it clear that you are waiting for the next “young horse” review! And its finally here – this one is about Boogie.
I have posted about him before, back when I thought he was going through a difficult phase. You can find that
HERE. Well, I am no longer riding him in fuzzy cheek pieces, although that was a good idea at the time. And as I think back on all the alternations, negotiations, revelations and frustrations….. its clear that this horse is not in it for the short haul. Boogie is here to stay, if for no other reason, than to expand my horizons as a rider and trainer. He is my mood ring, and a subsitute for the psychiatrist’s couch. One day, I am going to write about how nice it is to ride a well trained, polite and obedient horse like Boogs. But that is in the distant future. I have heard that one’s children are windows to the parent’s soul. Gawd, I hope that is not true in this case!
Here is a photo of when I bought him in 2009 from Kathleen and Colin Dumont, in Pendleton Oregon. He was bred
2 year old Boogie
in Texas by the Dumonts and they brought him up here as a 2 year old, and I bought him a few months later. I wont go into his breaking/gentling years, that was in the blog of last year, but lets skip ahead to this year: his 5 year old year and his first full season competing.
If you had asked me in Feb 2012 whether Boogie was going to compete, I would have snorted through my nose and said a big NO Way. He is a mentally immature horse, and I am going to bet that it will be another 2 years before his brain catches up with his physical development. But, as the season approached, I knew that part of his education was to go away from home and experience new environments in a low stress manner. I tried extremely hard to keep
it low stress… for him anyway! Shauna and Kiera can attest that Inavale and Montana were full of very careful planning and specific rules for tacking up, walking with saddle, warming up… etc. Boogie has continued to be extremely sensitive about the saddle and girth. I constantly remind myself that he does NOT buck, rear, spin or spook….. he just scoots. He keeps his stress in his back and rear, and folds tighter than love note in a pocket.
I carefully chose the locations where I took him. Inavale, Montana, Whidbey Island and Lincoln Creek all are venues which have ample free room for longing and riding. If Boogie got concerned about the warmups anywhere, I could escape and find a corner to be alone and decompress him. That plan worked well for all the warmups. In view of his performances: he had a “Confusal” at Inavale fence #2, which I don’t blame him for at all. Fence #1 was such a surprise that it took him until #2 to realize that he was shocked! After a pat and a circle, he completed the rest of the course fault free. He stormed around both Whidbey and Lincoln Creek as well. He showed that he was brave, bold, and a thinking XC horse. Dressage is OK – and I look forward to
him being more relaxed in public in the coming season to get better scores. Show jumping – Bam. Done that. Eat that up like its whip cream on a brownie. * Note: watch THIS video from a jump school this week to see that he would have been very unimpressed with a beginner novice height SJ course.
At Aspen, I got a chance to talk to Kristi Nunnink about Rosie (R Star) who shares his sire. She confirmed to me that, like Boogie, Rosie was very very brave over obstacles as a youngster. And like Boogie, she was also difficult to train. Im hoping that our Boogs will follow his sister’s footsteps in the next 6 years. That is a LONG time to look ahead, but Im glad to do it. I have not had a horse, ever, who exhausted so much of my brain power to train. I have to think through every single day and hope that I am thoughtful enough to come up with a solution to the issues that he keeps throwing at me. I might pull my hair out at times, but my mantra with him is: “you are worth it”.
Over and over again.
TIOM (the issue of the month): is the girth. Yes, you know that squeezing, compressing, pinching serpent that bleeds the life out of a horse?! The very one. I think that I have felt him have a longer stride and a more relaxed start to the workout when I have a long girth on him. As opposed to the short girth that goes with the monoflap jump saddles that I own. Of course…. Boogie wants a new saddle. He whispered that he would like a custom one, but I pretended not to hear that. We will have a visit from a saddle fitter and see if we can cope with a plebian, off the rack saddle.
This fall I have been very lucky to get a lot of help from Kim Severson and Scott Keach – both whom have helped me see where I am going in the future with Boogie. Day to day can seem like one step forward and one step back… but I know that is not true. We humans can dwell on the negative more easily than champion the positive. I have to remember that he has progressed brilliantly this year. The video I made this week of him jumping showed me that I have a lot of work to do to get him more relaxed in his back over the fences. He has been so full of energy – raw, youthful power- that I felt I needed to make the jumps higher if not to just get his attention. While he was quite obedient, there is alot I need to do to help his form become more relaxed and commonplace. I dont want home schooling to be so brilliant and big. Next video will show him with less “superman” on the back side of the fence and a little less jumping “at” the fence. By that, I mean I would like him to be more relaxed on take off and less forward at the base.
Next blog: Cochlear the Wonder Irish horse.