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BRAG MOMENT: my boy "got it" last night!!!!

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  • BRAG MOMENT: my boy "got it" last night!!!!

    Brief version of the whole story....as best I can (not good at being brief, sorry)...

    Some years ago, we had a TB mare donated to us....she had been a professional broodmare for years after a failed racing career; she'd been pregnant with twins but absorbed them. The breeding farm needed to "cut their losses" and she was set to go to slaughter. A lady heard about her, bought her from the farm, and donated her to us. The mare exudes natural potential for dressage...another story...

    Fast forward 5 years. The same TB farm calls us - they have factor's last son, the gelding who was weaned early as they tried to help Factor manage carrying the twins. Despite being a full brother to a very laid back, easy gelding in their herd, this youngster simply wasnt maturing and had a variety of "issues". Would we allow them to donate him as well, as they were afraid if they tried to sell him where his life might go.

    Kelso arrived to us, looking as gawky and gangly as a long yearling (photos on his page to prove it, I'm not lying!) He was so immature that our herd all treated him like a foal -- all but his momma who wanted nothing to do with him. Even our very aggressive lead gelding at the time simply sniffed at him and ignored him, as he would a weanling.

    Long story short, this summer he has finally finished growing. We pulled the last remaining baby teeth. He acts like a matured gelding now with the mares, although he still plays like a foal with his 2 young buddies. He has broadened in chest and especially in barrrel.

    I've spent all summer, when time allows, doing round pen work with him, working on building top line and building his balance. Every one in a while, for 3 or 4 or 5 strides, he would show his mother's balance and grace. Then he'd go back to being a heavy forehanded clumsy clod. We've been doing lots of transitions, lots of reverses, lots of walk, trot 10-15 strides, halt -- all working on shifting his hind end under him. He's made real progress when working at liberty, but when I rode him for the first time last week, he was immediately hollow and high headed. Not where I wanted him to be....

    Last night, I chose to put him in driving lines again for the first time in several months. Lets see if I can get him better listening to soft inputs from my hands BEFORE I put weight on his back again.

    We began at a trot his preferred direction -- and his movement was nice but not graceful. I gently asked him to come round -- just a stride, or two or three....and suddenly, as if a light came on, Kelso rolled his weight onto his haunches, raised his top line, tucked his nose to just ahead of vertical, and FLOATED -- not one, not two, not three but about 10 strides!!! I had momentarily forgot myself, but immediately remembered that he's not used to this, and asked him to relax long again. For the next 20 minutes, we did these short magnificient movements, including not only some really soft bends but also crossing over as I moved him to and from the rail.

    I WAS SO PROUD OF HIM!!!!! I have to contain my high just now, and not rush to get back in my saddle. We'll keep doing just this work for at least the next week before i consider stepping weight in stirrup....

    but I'm high as a kite. For more than just fleeting moments, I could see his mother's incredible grace and motion gliding around my arena!!!!!!!

    thanks for letting me ramble, I'm so high on him just now!!!
    Crosswinds Equine Rescue, Inc.
    AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
    Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)

  • #2
    That is wonderful!!!!
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


    • #3


      • Original Poster

        THANKS~!!!! I'm just bubbling with excitement for him.

        I hope to get some video of him working tonight, and will try to get it to youtube and share the link here.

        The idea that he could mature into his momma's natural way of going is just the most exciting thing in the world to me. I've never ridden a horse with such natural talent before or since -- happily admitting that I don't normally get to ride bred-for-dressage horses in my world....If he could come CLOSE to mirroring his momma, someone will be getting themselves an amazing horse when they adopt this boy.....
        AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
        Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)


        • #5
          It's such a fantastic feeling
          Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


          • #6
            that is so exciting [ what an accomplishment!
            "I love Puika and Giva" fan club member


            • #7
              Its an amazing feeling when it all comes together! Grats!
              I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


              • Original Poster

                I thought folks might like this comparison...

                this first video was back in spring. To give you an idea of his change in size -- he rode then in my Wintec with a medium narrow tree -- the second narrowest tree made. I attempted to saddle him this morning (not to ride, just for fit), and the medium wide tree is not broad enough for his 'new' ribcage!

                PS: he has only ridden maybe 2-3 times since that spring shoot. We've spent the summer working in the truly round pen outside, all at liberty, doing lots of transitions, and working on natural balance -- and letting him finally finish maturing!

                NOW....this second video isn't very good, i'm sorry -- lighting isn't great in our indoor and there wasn't a lot of time left on the tape. but it gives you an idea how he's moving now....

                that's last night. the biggest things i see watching them both are that he has so much better balance now....and he's not fighting or avoiding the bit nearly like he had been.....

                I'm SOOO proud of him! He's going to be a great adoptable. It's so hard to remain patient and keep him on this slower, easier course, rather than just hopping right back in the saddle!!!

                AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
                Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)


                • #9
                  Okay so I must not be the only one wondering - how did you teach such a strong 'reverse' ??


                  • Original Poster

                    Hi, In! I wish i could there is some super magic trick, but it is simply his personality, and I've let him do it because it seems to really encourage him to use his hind end particularly coming out of the reverse.

                    I can ask for any of several different things...

                    "whoa, reverse" and put my leading hand in front of him. He will halt, make a face (because he hates to halt), and reverse in either direction and he SHOULD stand but he usually walks out and I let him do that because getting him to walk out while he's collected is a challenge and he's doing it "as his own idea' in this case.

                    "Reverse" while trotting with me relatively quickly tossing the leading hand in front of him, he is SUPPOSED to sit back onto his haunches and reverse at a trot without doing a hard pivot, and trot out. A lot of the time he gets himself excited and does that 'hard reverse' instead. Normally, when not videotaping, I will require him to do 2, 3, 4 more until he does it nicely like he did the last reverse on the first video, giving him time to stretch into a real trot between each.

                    I'm very open to any thoughts on why this is a good idea or bad, how i might be helping or hurting him in my effort to get him to use his hind end under him and track up further....I'm a greenie dressage rider without access to a regular instructor, and my training background was all with hunters under saddle but I'm trying to set a simple dressage foundation under every horse we train no matter their future career....

                    AnnMarie Cross, Pres, Crosswinds Equine Rescue, cwer.org
                    Sidell IL (near Champ./UofI/Danville IL/IN state border)