Green Horse Tales is a new series where riders share their struggles, triumphs, and adventures producing a “green” horse. Today, Horse Junkies United blogger Megan shares the ongoing saga of her and her horse Walle. Send us your green horse tale to hello(at)heelsdownmedia.com.
Walle The Belflinger (suspected Haflinger/Belgian X) is my coming 8 year old Potato who for SOME reason has decided that jumping is his sport of choice.
So here’s the thing, I’m not a terribly talented rider. 20 years in the saddle and you’d think I’d have an independent seat, that I always have quiet hands and a steady leg……I don’t. I am a klutz by nature and my body just generally doesn’t do what I’m asking of it at any given time. And here I am trying to train a pony/draft cross who’s pretty darn opinionated. It’s amusing, to say the least. (Yes, I have a great trainer who’s helping me every step of the way.)
Walle came to me with solid basics at the W/T/C (with both leads), so honestly I believe the hard part was done for me. On the other hand…..general steering, regulating the speed of his gaits, and convincing him that I DO sort of know what I’m asking for has taken a lot of time and patience. He is a Potato who is FAR to smart for his own good, but to be honest it makes life quite a bit more fun, so I’m not complaining.
We’ve vastly improved our steering and ability to trot and canter in a straight line (I said improved, not perfect), and we’re currently working on adjusting the canter as needed because…..TADA…My draft pony has decided that jumping, of all things, is his sport of choice. When I adopted him I figured, “Ok, low level dressage and trail riding is really what he’s built for.” (And then after free lunging him in the ring one day and having to find a way to physically STOP him from jumping all of the jumps on his own, I realized that maybe he has talents in places I didn’t really think of.)
The first few weeks of our jumping had us fighting endlessly. I wanted him to trot the jumps, he wanted to canter. I wanted to adjust him and find the perfect spot, he didn’t want to deal with my BS. One day I finally set him up for a line of jumps and wouldn’t you know it, this brat picked up the canter and picked the perfect spot, the perfect strides, and the perfect speed for both jumps. The whole time before this when I was fighting with him he was just telling me to back off and let him do it his way. AKA- Stay out of my way, lady.
I know, I know…..he still needs to learn how to adjust and listen to me, and it’s coming slowly, but I was so thrilled that he has such confidence in himself and his abilities. It made me trust his judgement more than I had been, which I believe is what was holding us back.
Unfortunately for him, Dressage is still far too important to me to give up, so he will suck it up and deal with it. My belief is that his conformation makes it difficult for him to stretch and push from behind, so our endless battle has been trying to help him learn how to do so. Whether or not that will ever be something we accomplish has yet to be determined. But ultimately, my green bean FrankenPotato will never be going to Rolex or Devon and will always just be my guy. He’s got a good life ahead of him of having fun, learning what we can, and just doing whatever makes him (and me) happy, so if he never becomes the perfect dressage pony and we just spend our days jumping everything fun in sight, I think we’ll both be golden.