Green Horse Tales is a new series where riders share their struggles, triumphs, and adventures producing a “green” horse. Today, Horse Junkies United blogger Ashely Harvey shares the ongoing saga of her and her young horse Valhalla, also known as “Baby Oscar.” Send us your green horse tale to hello(at)heelsdownmedia.com.
My life is crazy. I might be crazy.
I’m your typical adult ammy, I work full time, try to train and compete my two horses, mostly on my own it feels like, and desperately attempt to keep my personal life from falling apart. I take whatever help I can get when it comes to my horses, but the last 12 months have been a whirlwind and the help I used to rely on isn’t always there. Plus, I’m on a budget, so what help I had was still on the ground or given out of love and concern. You see, I am an adrenaline junkie eventer with advanced level dreams. I cannot afford an advanced, or really any level, event horse, so I buy them off the track and produce them myselves.
Even when I was a junior, I bought green horses and produced them up the levels in the equitation, hunter, or jumper divisions. Unfortunately, even on the B circuit, most hunters don’t want to buy a thoroughbred. Finally, I found my calling and switched to eventing. I was hooked.
I produced my heart horse, Donnie, up to the preliminary level. We are still working on going farther than that, but it’s hard. Competing at that level is just plain hard, but when you add in losing your trainer, a (very) difficult to ride horse, your new trainer being 3 hours away, a full time job, and life in general…well…we’re working on it. Maybe this will be the year we hit the big I, but for now I’m content chipping away at it. But this story isn’t about Donnie, it’s about his younger brother, Oscar.
I bought Oscar two years ago. I was tacking Donnie up, and Philippa was super pregnant with her daughter Millie at the time. I must have been making too much noise because she barked at me to quiet down. I stopped what I was doing and watched her hop on a tall, lanky, dark bay off-the-track thoroughbred she had just picked up last month. I fell in love. I asked her if he was for sale and what his price was. My next question was when can I try him.
Long story short, I bought the lanky, nervous, but game greenie. I gave him a summer of enjoying time to be a horse and slowly learning the basics of eventing. In the fall I started jumping him, he was a natural.
Last year was his first season competing. At his first event we scored a 50 in dressage, had a few rails and almost a minute worth of time penalties in stadium, and had a wonderful almost double clear cross country round. Well, at least we knew what we had to work on! Unfortunately, the business of work and two horses got the best of me, and we ended up with a stupid refusal at the water complex our next event. I motocycled him into a big complex with a lot of atmosphere and he needed a moment to think about it. #BadMomMoment. Next event I had a steering/mud issue that resulted in a technical elimination. Doh! I decided to call it a year and focus on building a stronger foundation.
Now we’re into next year, 2017. Our foundation is developing, we have slightly better coordination skills, and I’m hoping to get him out cross country schooling more often. All while still trying to balance training and competing my other horse and work.
Which brings us into…the adventures of baby Oscar! Stay tuned for the latest shenanigans of this goofy, giant quirky horse and his ammy mother that thinks she can take the beast.