_

_

Monday, 11 July 2016

Notes from Henry's Trainer

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!). 


Nature Henry!


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 realized.


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. :)

19 comments:

  1. It sounds like Henry is doing really well! And hopefully it isn't anything major with his front.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's a good boy! I hope so too :)

      Delete
  2. Sounds like you have a good handle on a program for Henry. Kudos to you for being proactive and looking into the RF issue. Hopefully it is something very minor that preventative steps will address.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we've got a good plan! I hope it's minor too, fingers crossed!

      Delete
  3. Sounds like you're doing a fantastic job with Henry! The soundness thing could be anything, and probably since it doesn't sound very bad will be corrected with shoeing. Fingers crossed it's something simple and you get it figured out quickly! Henry sounds like a great horse and reminds me a bit of my horse Jamp. He's a nervous sort, but if you're patient with him, he gives you everything.
    As for the hunters, don't be fooled into thinking you need to ride around in a half seat. You definitely DO NOT have to do that in the hunters. You just want a horse that goes around softly and evenly. Whether your butt is in the saddle or not will does not equal hunter success or failure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes he sounds very similar to Mr. Jampy! Thanks for your encouragement about the hunters, I will definitely pick your brain a lot more if we go that way :)

      Delete
  4. sounds very insightful and cool you were on the same page...glad henry is doing well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I'm pretty excited to see how things go for us! :)

      Delete
  5. You do look awfully good on him...;) Fingers crossed the exam turns up nothing important!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thank you! I feel a bit big on him but he's filling out. :)

      Delete
  6. Shoes might help. Developing muscles with more riding time might also help. Eugene has a problem leg, but it's been getting better with more and more work. I hope Henry continues to do so well for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope shoes will do the trick! That makes me feel better (hearing about Eugene), I hope it's nothing major for Mr. Henry too.

      Delete
  7. You look very good on him. I like what the trainer said about him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I feel a bit big on him but he's growning a lot right now, it'll all even out :)

      Delete
  8. The trail riding plan sounds like a good one. I hope the upcoming foot exam shows nothing major! He looks absolutely adorable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I think so too! Fingers crossed for an exam that finds nothing scary :)

      Delete
  9. Hoping the soundness issues are nothing serious

    ReplyDelete
  10. IMHO hunters is really dressage (in a different frame) with jumps. And honestly, I wouldn't worry about appearances (like your rubber boots) until you start showing, and even then, the most important this is clean and well-fitted clothing and equipment.

    ReplyDelete