Friday 5 March 2021

The New Bridget

 Amanda's post HERE got me thinking, because I also own a horse that doesn't much resemble the one I bought all those years ago. It's a fun topic, looking back on where you started from and what you've got now. Maybe your horse has all kinds of experience now, maybe there are way more tools in the toolbox and that's changed how they are to ride and be around. Maybe it's more of a mental thing, where you've both matured into a partnership. I wonder how many of us could honestly say their horse is exactly the same from the day you bought them?

I was looking back on the blog archives and it's so funny - I actually wrote a post about Bridget in April 2014, sharing for the breeder. I was working out of province and not really in the market for anything, plus I was riding at a hunter/jumper barn and had some aspirations of going that direction if I ever was to buy another horse.

I forgot she had a grey mane and tail when she was young...wonder if her foal will?

I actually ended up purchasing her in the fall of that was 6 and a half years ago.

For the first year or so, I had her at home with me and we tackled tons of trails and did a bit of schooling in the arena. She was super on the roads and trails, but my initial impressions were that she was very, very stubborn and super lazy and opinionated about anything she found difficult (which was everything involving any sort of schooling or rein contact). Zero interest in being part of anything that didn't meet her own agenda. Her go to was to just shut down and plant her feet (I'd joke that the batteries wore out). So although she checked my boxes as a safe confidence builder, I didn't love her or think I was the right person long term for her. I was still shopping for the right horse, then Bridget was going to be sold as a safe kids trail pony.

This clinician still asks about B...she looked easy with me, but then decided 'nope' for him and made him work for his $ lol

Then, I moved yet again, for my current job. My office just happens to be 10 minutes from a very good eventing/dressage coach. So, obviously I was not going to let that opportunity slide and just brought the potato pony I had that was sort of for sale to a barn full of eventers.

The next few years I learned a ton, as did B. The more she learned how to use her body, the more forward and confident she became. While she never really could be trusted to not opt out and let me down on the day (we used to joke I needed to bring 150% motivation and commitment to make up for Bridget), her work ethic improved a lot and she became surprisingly athletic and capable as a little eventer/jumper and later, as my low level dressage pony.

She's so cute. I do believe she hesitated a few strides out and I was still shouting at her to go, lol

She's talented enough dressage wise that I was encouraged to keep on keeping on by even some bigger name trainers (besides, by that point we had a partnership and I was super attached and not selling her) but after a couple of successful show seasons she gradually got more and more unreliable and 'stuck' again and was definitely telling me she didn't love her job. I started shopping for a pony to be my future dressage/eventing ride, and that's how baby Sophie came into the picture.

Why yes, I do still have all the tests with nice comments :)

A couple of years ago, I was offered the chance to work from home part time, then Covid happened and I've been full time from home for a year. B moved home with me 2 years ago and I have to say the change in her since then has been absolutely shocking. The first time my coach came to give us a lesson she was surprised - "I don't know how you did it but you've finally got her forward enough". I didn't do anything, to be honest, B was finally just offering it freely and I was happily just riding. Maybe I didn't need another pony for those competition goals after all?  Encouraged by the breakthroughs, I signed her up for a show in the city that spring. She worked wonderfully all the way up to it, then on the day...nope. Nada. The B of 2014 was back and it was awful. I don't know how much more loudly she could tell me she was not interested in being the next dressage star.

Since then, we just visit the arena once or twice a week and hit the trails most days. And again, the difference in her attitude continues to be shocking. She's bold, outgoing, super spicy, opinionated, engaging, and often way too much in your space. She whinnies and comes running when she sees me or my truck.  A far cry from the reserved and uninterested pony I bought who basically had zero personality beyond a pretty strong "best leave me alone if you've got any work planned" vibe. If I look back, she was never easy, and there were always glimpses of a bigger personality in there, but I'm honestly still puzzled as to why she was so reserved for so long. Our current boarding and riding schedule is exactly the same as what we started out with all those years ago, but I've got an entirely new pony. Part of me feels a little like I let her down a little before thinking she was naturally just super quiet and introverted, the other part of me just wants to appreciate that she's gradually come out of her shell over time and is such a fun, happy thing now.

Living the life :)


1 comment

  1. It is interesting how we evolve. I think thst you have become less focussed on your goals and more accepting of her. Some horse just need time.