Day #8 - Successes and challenges overcome with my horse
This is a hard one to answer without going into incredible detail. There are successes every day with a horse and I have not always remembered/documented every single little thing. So I will just give an overview of some of the major successes with each of my mares.
A big success for Reva was simply starting her under saddle. Granted, she was super easy, but I did it myself with no help. She had a great start in her racehorse training so riding was not that scary or difficult for her. Our first time off the farm at the Chris Lombard clinic was a huge success, showing me that she has potential and is a thinker. And of course, this show season was a HUGE success, not just because of the awesome ribbons and awards she won in her first time out, but because she was calm and happy. I am pleased that she was able to compete well and despite some baby mistakes, I think she will be a successful show horse for years to come.
I think the biggest challenge I overcame with Dreamy is training her to be a riding horse when she was 15 years old and only knew how to be a broodmare. Granted, she had early race training and a few starts too, but again, I did all her training myself. I did begin lessons with her in 2008 because I knew I needed help, but my instructor is my instructor, not my trainer. She has gotten on Dreamy a few times, but she is instructing ME on how to train my horse. She does not train my horse (or me! LOL! ;-) I am proud of how far I was able to bring Dreamy along, winning many ribbons and awards in open shows and dressage. We earned good scores at First level dressage and Prix Caprilli this year which makes me very, very proud. We have showed in schooling shows, "AA" rated shows, breed specific shows/classes, USDF rated shows, and even did demonstrations at the World Equestrian Games in 2010. Most of the time she is the only Standardbred at the shows we compete in, therefore she has been a wonderful ambassador for the breed! I have accomplished and exceeded every goal I have set with this mare. She is amazing! :-)
I would say the biggest success with Sparky was earning her trust and building a solid relationship with her despite her past. She was the best first horse I could have asked for. She overcame her fear of humans to become a willing and able partner for me. She was never the most perfect show horse, but we earned our fair share of ribbons and awards over the years. I think we could have done even better if I had been more confident in myself; however, Sparky also helped me to become a more confident teenager in many ways. She was unable to jump any longer when her hocks began to fuse (back in 1999), so I am proud that I was able to retrain her myself in a new discipline (from eventing to carriage driving) so we could continue our journey together. I am proud of her and I know a piece of my heart will leave when she leaves this Earth. She is my "heart horse".