The right horse at the right time. I have heard professional riders talk about getting a horse that was “one horse too soon”. What do they mean by that? I asked one and he said that he got the ride on a very talented horse but he did not feel he had enough experience, at that time, to do the horse justice. I have known a few amateur riders who have got a horse that is more horse than they are able to ride confidently. This will usually result in a loss of confidence as the horse will be too much for them.
The right horse at the right time means the rider is confidently able to ride the horse and a good relationship can develop. I have been very fortunate to have a few “right” horses at the right time. Here is the first one. His name was Amos and he was the first horse I rode. I was eight years old and spent six weeks on a ranch in Wyoming. Amos knew he had a little one up and looked after me very well, as we rode out with the wrangler onto the hills. I thought Amos was the best horse that ever existed and my love of horses began with him.
When I was eleven I began to ride in earnest. First my parents leased a horse for me and when it was clear that I was serious about riding they bought me my first horse. His name was Willy. He was a Mustang. He may have been badly treated before I got him as he was very nervous at first but soon learned to trust me. I learned to jump and we went to lots of horse shows. I also spent time with him in California and we did eventing. He could gallop and jump for the cross country and jumping phases but neither of us took the dressage phase seriously. Willy taught me how to ride.
There was a big gap of 30 years in my riding life when I did not ride at all. I was busy with a career and lived in the city and could not afford to have a horse. Then when my daughter started to ride I joined her and I have never looked back. I rode a few horses and then was lucky enough to get another “right” horse. His name was Tommie.
Tommie was seven years old when I got him. He had walk, trot, canter and a single flying change. I bought him in the Netherlands and when I tried him I took him down the road to make sure he would be good to take hacking. We passed a pen with about seven Rottweiler dogs who all rushed the fence barking. Tommie did not even bat an eye.
Tommie and I went from USDF (US Dressage Federation) First level up to the Prix St. George, both of us learning as went. Lots of people would say Tommie was “cute”. That used to rather annoy me as I felt he was much more than just cute. But he was small and not the huge 17 hand big mover that people said were “gorgeous”.
I had Tommie for six years. Sadly he became ill and I had to have him euthanized. It broke my heart. But what a great ride we’d had together. He was the right horse at the right time for me. He gave me confidence and we learned together.Here is a photo of Tommie and me doing our first Prix St. George test in 2013. It was a first for both of us.
For all of you who follow this blog you will know I now have Biasini. Biasini is the most talented and best trained horse I have ever owned. But he is also the most opinionated, spirited and strong horse I have ever owned. If I had not had Tommie, little “cute” Tommie ,before Biasini I would not be able to ride Biasini. I had the right horse at the right time in Tommie and that is why I was ready to have the right horse for me now……Biasini.