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Thread: J

  1. #1
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    Sep 2009
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    Default J

    As some of you know, my beautiful Lucy had a terrible lameness in 2011. It all started 2 weeks after a 71% at Hickstead Her right hind seemed to become painful high up. 2400 later, we had no answers and she was turned away. A year later she was hacking sound and enjoying life again, but it was clear that her dressage days were over . Because she had so much to give another rider, I addressed the possibility of her owner taking her back for hacking. Heartbreaking after 8 years together on full loan and our dressage dreams shattered (MELODRAMA!!). Lucy's owner asked if I wanted to have a 6/7ish yo sports horse instead. By "sports horse" she meant a rescue gypsy trotter ....

    His life as a 18 month old looked something like this!


    She'd got him as a 2yo fully muscled up and shod all round. He got time off, he was ridden a little, he was quite hopeless as a riding horse

    As a 5/6yo he thought this was a canter

    ... any other arrangement of legs seemed elusive to him.

    And so, with another year to wait until I can start Ghost, I said yes! He already had a sharer 3 days a week which suited me fine for "Ghost days" and the plan is I would bring him on for a year or two and also teach the sharer and hopefully send the two on their way to success when I start riding Ghost.

    So in January 2013 I started my journey with J ...



  2. #2
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    Sep 2009
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    South Downs
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    Looking forward to hearing about his progress
    [SIGPIC][CENTER][/CENTER][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    East Sussex
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    Sorry, got cut short yesterday!

    Thought I'd do a quick photo summary of my first 6 months with J and then start keeping this diary properly from here on.

    January 2013
    - weak horse, prone to overbending and rushing. Completely dead to the leg and even in spurs I found myself nagging him on every stride. Tight through his whole body and a lot of pony striding as lacked the strength and flexibility to move freely. Canter terrible - strikes off disunited on both reins or round his backs and hops a few strides before breaking into a gypsy trot. Arrrrrgh!



    February 2013
    - trying to work on loosening his movement and sending him forwards a bit more. He turns out to be really honest and willing but just so weak through his whole body. As the movement improved, he started going very deep indeed and I really struggled to stop him from curling up and disappearing (see photo!). Really focussed on a three-beat correct canter. Unbalanced and horrid to sit to, but massive for any attempt to canter helped him relax and at least try. Sometimes, he even started to get it right! New saddle helped





    March & April 2013
    - lots of hacking and encouraging him to go long & low to help him strengthen up in self carriage. More and more pleasing moments in the trot work! ... Canter work continues much the same ...







    May & June 2013
    - he dropped a lot of weight right at the start of the spring He was already underweight to begin with so he went onto a super weight gain diet ... which blew his brains out. He sharer took him to a mini hunter trial and J reared her straight off and behaved like a total knob. As I had a big deadline coming up for work, his owner sent him to my favourite local trainer for some attitude readjustment. while he was there I used their facilities as much as I could and this all went very well.

    He came home early June and went straight onto our spring grass (still on 3x massive feeds every day). Things have been great since then. Sharer has regained her confidence and wants to do loads of jumping with him. Fine with me, I only want to do dressage, though eventing might be on the cards if he's any good.



    July 2013

    - all is well. Lots of gentle schooling, trying not to panic about how long it's taking me to teach this bluddy horse to canter!!! He's looking a million times better, just needs some topline now






  4. #4
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    Sep 2009
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    East Sussex
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    J is doing well - we've been hacking to avoid the hot, hot sun for the last few weeks and he's feeling fairly fit and fresh. Unlike Lance, when he has a few days off, he feels terrible weak behind the saddle on the first ride back. Likewise if he hacks in a "sloppy", lazy manner, then he is hard to bring back under himself afterwards. So it's all a bit serious with him at the moment. Treated myself to a dressage lesson today and yes, we have a LOT of work to do now ... He just struggles soooo much to accept a true contact and carry himself through transitions/etc. And frequently "switches off" when he thinks things are getting too difficult for him (which could be anything from a travers to a trot-walk transition - just depends on his frame of mind). I do find it frustrating that he is so sensitive as I like horses with a bit of punch rather than draw-back. But, having said that, I do think it will come. He is just not strong enough at the moment.



  5. #5
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    Sep 2009
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    East Sussex
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    Perhaps because I haven't had a long-legged sports horse for a while, but Wheeeee I got a good adrenaline rush today!
    Decided to let J run at full speed alongside the local galops, just to see if I could stop before the end.

    HOLY ****ING ****!!

    He is FAST!

    .. and the answer is yes, I CAN stop, as long as I don't mind the launching, broncing and bouncing that goes with it

    I still want him for dressage, but he gave me a nice feel today and I got a taste of that power that I normally only allow myself to enjoy with Lance. Slowly, perhaps, he is turning into a horse that feels more like "my" horse .... Such a rush! This is the only little jumps I've ever done with him, a few months back when I was still deciding if he was for me or not .... Might be time to test him out some more. I give his sharer jumping lessons on him sometimes and she is very good, but a very small and usually silent part of me want to get back into the game ...






  6. #6
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    East Sussex
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    Well after that last update I decided I DID want to try him out over some fences, just to get a feel for him/get to know him a bit better.
    Sharer might have to fight me for him when she gets back from holiday

    He was nowhere near as strong as I'd been led to believe so the Pelham is going to be replaced by his usual snaffle. He half-halted to the seat and the snaffle would allow me to actually pick up a contact as half the time I thought I was jabbing him in the mouth ... He is honest and willing. A bit fast but not dangerously so - great fun!

    Nice and straightforward - this was one of the first jumps, I was still trying to find my balance on him


    And then we were off! Jumped corners, rails, everything! We got a good flow for a while and I was very tempted to take some bigger fences, but reined myself in and reminded myself we need to work on technique before height. I think the heights won't be a problem anyway when we get that far.





    No problem with his first ditch. I don't think he actually saw it to be honest ...


    ... and if we did misjudge the stride once or twice, things were thankfully well within his scope When this type of thing stops happening, THEN I might go for some bigger fences ...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    South Yorkshire
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    He looks great fun

  8. #8
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    Sep 2009
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    Petersfield, Hants
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    He looks a cracker!

  9. #9
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    Sep 2009
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    North Cotswolds
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    He's looking great, he's got a good pop on him!

  10. #10
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    Sep 2009
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    2,958

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    love him! can't believe you're going to have two super stars, not fair!

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