After 90 days of training, Henry was ready to leave the trainer’s and be my summer trail horse. RK did a really nice job with him. I could not have found a better fit for a trainer for Henry. I’m not sure if this is a warmblood thing or not…but Henry is kind of an enigma. He’s the most sensitive horse I’ve ever worked with but also can tune me out better than any horse I’ve known. I also have to be really careful that my own energy is in the right place before I even get out of my car at the barn.
RK wanted to have a few hours with me and Henry before he left so he could show me what Henry has learned and chat with me about my plan for him going forward. I sent RK three questions that I wanted to go over in our last meeting. I really wanted to make sure that if he did end up being for sale that I found the best possible home. I know Henry on the ground really well but I am just getting to know Henry the saddle horse. I felt RK could provide better insight in this area.
1) What would be the ideal workload for Henry (ie. 4 rides a week for 30 mins each, 2 rides a week for 60 mins etc) He didn’t have any specific recommendations for workload. He said that Henry still had some growing/growing up to do so a summer of long slow trail riding miles would be ideal. I had actually already planned to do this (which is a bit spooky!).
2) What discipline would Henry enjoy most? RK thinks Henry would excel as a hunter. He's trained a few hunter horses and he felt Henry had the right attitude and look for the discipline. Henry doesn’t like to speed around like maniac (I feel you bro) and he isn’t afraid of natural obstacles. RK doesn’t think he quite brave enough to be an eventer, which is kind of a bummer as that what Coach D had in mind for him. He said that Henry might get there with a lot of patience. As I thought about it more I kind of agree with him.
3) Any qualities that I should look for in a potential owner/home? As verbatim as my brain can remember: “Someone who will be patient with him – number one. This is exactly the kind of horse(introverted) that people push into doing hard things too early because he’s athletic and fancy-looking, but he will not ever be safe with that kind of training and riding. Some horses can handle that kind of pressure, he can’t. Someone who will accept his quirks. Someone who is calm and is willing to take the time he needs to figure things out….. Someone like you actually.” Well then.
Following RK across the scary metal bridge
The hunter thing was surprise #1. I am about the least “huntery” person that has ever lived. I look like a complete slob
most all of the time (I ride in
rubber boots very regularly - as evidenced by these photos). I can’t
even ride in a half seat. I have taken
dressage and jumper lessons but I don’t even know who specifically coaches
hunters in my area. So this would be a huge
departure for me if I decide to explore that option with Henry at some point. Surprise #2 was that he thinks I’m a good fit
for Henry. I actually don’t feel like
Henry and I click very well on the ground (he drives me insane) but under
saddle we are really on the same page and have a lot of fun. So I guess we’re a better fit that I
The last surprise was not a good surprise. RK told me that Henry occasionally takes an off-step on his right front at the trot with a rider. I don’t feel it at all when I ride him, but I weigh less than the trainer and haven’t been riding him in the arena much (it seems to crop up on a circle, and we don’t circle much on the trail). It doesn’t get worse or better throughout the ride and seems to occur randomly. I took a video of RK riding him in a circle at the trot, will be sharing it once I can make it a bit shorter. RK felt it was more of an “uneven-ness” more than a soundness issue, he does not feel that Henry is in pain. It’s very minor and barely noticeable or I would be investigating it a lot sooner. RK feels like front shoes would probably solve the problem completely.
I let Coach D know about the weird soundness issue. At this time I’m not comfortable selling him until I’m able to investigate it more. I don’t think the timing for a horse purchase was exactly right for her either. Also considering that she is an eventer and I’m not sure Henry would excel at that, it might not be a good fit. I have booked a full soundness exam and xrays for both front fetlocks (and maybe other things if required) in July.
When Henry was 6 months old his right front was overgrown and almost looked clubbed (it’s not). Now it just flares out a bit more than the left when he’s at end of his time between trims. There is a slight difference between the size/shape of the fetlock joints so I suspect maybe something is off in that area. If the xrays/soundness exam doesn’t give me any answers then I will investigate further and will likely shoe him.
Hopefully will have some answers soon and then can put a better plan into place. :)