About a week ago, my good friends Kendall and Vicki brought their horse to me to train while I am at Andrews. When I am done here, I am going to go work at Kendall and Vicki's barn in Florida, so it is nice to get a head start on his training, and get some help from Andrew while I am here.
I met Kendall and Vicki when I was in Destin working with Jodie Kelly. They had just purchased Tucci and brought him there for training. He was a stallion at the time and was gelded shortly after arriving. Vicki loves to tell the story of how I met them at the barn at 4:00am on a cold February morning and walked right on the trailer with a stallion I did not know to help unload him.
Tucci came into training with me and Kendall became a regular student of mine. It was a fun project as Tucci did not turn to the right, and Kendall had not ridden in 20 years! I started Kendall out on the lunge line like I do all my students, and taught him basic dressage in the ring. Not emasculating at all! Kendall is a trail rider at heart and likes to get on and go! But he does understand that dressage training helps his horse's overall fitness and strengthens him to carry his rider. It is particularly important in this case, because Tucci has a short, tight back, and Kedall is a tall rider. Without strengthening his back through the dressage work, Tucci could develop a sway back over time and could become lame.
Tucci is a Fresian/saddlebred cross. When I first got him, he only knew the basics, and was so stuck on his right shoulder that turning right was hard for him and he did not want to pick up the right lead canter. He ran into the canter both directions. We worked on getting him straight, getting a depart into the canter, and began some lateral work. I worked with him for almost a year, and after I move away, Kendall did a little trail riding with him, but he developed severe fly allergies and has not been ridden for the past 10 months, so he is pretty out of shape.
This is the first time I have gotten a horse back after having him in training for awhile. I am amazed to find out that he remembers everything we had been working on! He just needs some fitness. It is a really good feeling to know that I have helped a horse in a permanent way, and probably lots of others too!