My horse, Petey, has been on pasture rest since an injury in early June. He hurt himself while jumping 3’6” and we made the decision to sell him. Petey will always have a special place in my heart since he was my first horse.
Luckily we found a pasture at a facility within driving distance from my house. There was a clinic going on at the facility, which is also a training and sales barn, the day my mom and I went to visit Petey. I signed up to ride one of the sale horses in the clinic. We were planning on arriving at around 10 am, but of course I was anxious to visit my horse. I was ready to leave the house by 7:30 am; but my mom didn’t share my early morning enthusiasm. She was relaxing at the table drinking her routine cup of tea, but I could not sit still. I packed up that car with all of the equipment I would need, got the camera charged and ready to go, and even worked on cleaning my room. I was not going to give my mom any more reason to delay.
Are We There Yet?
To my delight, we left the house at 8:00 am and arrived by 9:00. The drive was quick because there was no traffic on that Saturday morning. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I began scanning the fields for Petey’s familiar face; but the owner told us that Petey was on a different part of the property. I could hardly keep myself from running to meet him. As soon as I saw him, I called his name and he came trotting over to the fence. Unfortunately the other two horses that shared his field didn’t like Petey getting all the attention, and tried to bite him or just push him out of the way to make room. While my mom distracted the other two horses with treats, I was able to spend some time with Petey.
An Unexpected Surprise
All too soon, it was time for the clinic to start. I said goodbye to Petey and promised to come back and see him right after the clinic. The owner showed me the horse I would be riding and left me to tack up. Nick was a large bay gelding with a huge blaze, the first thing I thought when I saw him was, “wow, what a gorgeous horse, that couldn’t possibly be the one I get to ride.” Nick is 14 years old and has done many of the equitation medals. Although he was a bit lazier than the horses I am used to, he perked up once we started jumping.
Mattias Ekeroth taught the clinic and had a very different approach than my trainers. He began by letting us warm up our horses by ourselves, only giving us guidance if we needed help. I was impressed with the way he helped me learn to ride new horses, offering different strategies to get the feel of them. The course was quite tricky, there was a zig-zag of jumps down the middle of the arena and we had to keep rolling back to the jumps. It was a test of mental endurance that I had difficulty with in the beginning. I love long approaches to fences because they give me time to relax, but with Nick’s help, I quickly fell into the rhythm. Being an older horse, Nick was able to help me out a bit with finding the distances and getting the lead over jumps.
After untacking Nick, I rushed back out to Petey’s field and gave him a few more carrots. He looked more sound than when I had last seen him, sohe is going to come back to work soon. We are going to continue trying to sell him, and hopefully someone close to home will want to buy him. I would love to see him compete with a new rider at the Woodside horse shows. I have learned so much from Petey, like how to adjust his stride and how to be a more confident rider. I can only hope that his next owner will learn as much from him as I did. Although I will be sad to see Petey go, I had such a blast riding Nick that my mom decided to surprise me by bringing him back to the barn to lease. Nick has so much experience that he can teach me a whole new set of tricks. Already, I am learning to improve my more advanced flatwork such as shoulder-ins and turn on the haunches. I can’t wait to learn all that I can from Nick and hopefully even show him a little bit, too!
-By Lauren Corey, Juniorside columnist