For those of us who breed, it's a long, long journey - we decided on our breeding plans in 2008, 4 years ago. We spent many long nights on foal watch in 2009, 3 years ago. We loved our babies as they grew and tried to give them the nourishment, bonding, and environment (creeks, banks, etc.) for them to grow up as future eventers. Now it's time to begin their testing - did we succeed or fail?
Megan innovated our "TeamCEO Young Horse Challenge" which has been active this summer. Our babies get routine handling, farrier, and vet care, but live outside - almost feral - without training until they're 3 years old. Our students were each assigned a 2009 baby (Andrea's "baby" is from 2007, a dispersal purchase, but was in the same training status as the others) on June 1, and given 60 days to break and train them IN THEIR SPARE TIME! The only rules were (1) rider and horse cannot get hurt (THANKS to John Lyons for that concept!), (2) horses were not to be put on the bit at this age, and (3) the 3 y.o.'s could not be jumped over 18".
I've broken and trained horses for 50 years, and I couldn't do what this group did. Kelly will forever be "Mary Poppins" for her umbrella trick (nobody wanted to be in the ring when she practiced!!), Emma did the unthinkable - standing on a green 3 y.o.!, and Andrea jumped a green broken horse over vertical barrels with impeccable style (again, Rose is 5 so she's allowed to jump seriously). Emily was voted the winner on Chaos, including a bareback exercise and bridleless bow to the crowd.
Who learned more, the riders or the babies? You decide! All I know is that I'm a very proud Papa - for both my horse babies and my daughters!!!
Our young'ns will be turned out for the remainder of the fall, and begin their serious training for the 2013 season in December after our competition season is over.