Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Senor Wimbledon von Mule (We call him "Wimbley")

Wimbley the first month
The title of this post is a link to my official website, where my resume can be viewed.  It gives a run-down of my experience and qualifications but I want to share a bit more personal background before embarking on the training journal for Wimbley.

I have a pretty common beginning in the equestrian experience, and I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I have started and trained quite a few young horses over the course of my career.  I stopped doing it for three reasons: 

1. If it was a horse that I bred, people bought it before it was old enough to be trained and either didn't bring it back to me for training, or wouldn't leave it with me for long enough for the training to be set (people want "90 day wonders") 
2.  If it was a horse that was owned by someone else, they never wanted to commit to the actual time it took to really train a horse for an amateur to ride safely and reliably or they put competition pressure on the horse before it was ready. 
3.  If I owned the horse that was old enough to be started, I succombed to the pressure from potential buyers to sell before the horse was finished.  Of course, in dressage, "finished" is relative, but if you have a horse for sale, it is not cost-effective to keep it until it reaches Grand Prix, so my horses generally sold when they were solid Training Level or First Level, tops.  I got tired of making horses for other people, so I concentrated on teaching people on their own horses to make them better, and bought a lesson horse for those who were just starting to ride or were without their own horse.  So I haven't had a "prospect" for many years.

Wimbley the second month
Then came Edie.  She came to me for dressage lessons in April of 2010, and we hit it off right away.  I had known her for longer, but she was the student of  a friend of mine.  My friend had a (human) baby, and moved farther away than was feasible for Edie to drive for lessons, so she came to me on my friend's recommendation.

A couple of weeks later, Edie said she would like me to evaluate a horse that she had that was started for polo but would be too tall.  She wanted to know if he had any potential for dressage.  I said that every horse benefitted from dressage training, but how far they can go in their training depends on many factors, including their gaits and temperament.  Most important is whether the owner is willing to take as much time as needed for that particular horse to develop their strength and understanding of the job, and to not rush things, and be willing to stop or adjust the training at any point in which the horse indicates that it is too much.  I told her that the training process takes years, not months, and with the most talented horse and the most gifted trainer, and the stars aligning in the heavens the road from training level to grand prix would take at least 5 or 6 years.  With a horse who has any conformational, strength, or temperament issues it can take much longer, or s/he he may never get there at all.  Her response was "well, if you think he has any talent for it at all, let's see what happens".

I started riding Senor Wimbledon von Mule (“Wimbley”) for Edie in the beginning of May 2010.  I thought he was 3 years old, almost four at this point, but later (in November) I found out he was 2 years old, becoming 3 in April 2010.  He had been backed in October of 2009 by Edie’s Polo Trainer, Manuel D’Avila, and Manuel started riding him in January 2010 to prepare him for polo.  Manuel owned him at that point, but he felt that Wimbley would be too tall for polo, and Edie really liked his disposition so she asked me if I would evaluate him for dressage.  Manuel rode him for me, and I told Edie that he would certainly make a good lower level horse, since he had three good gaits, and a very good nature.  Edie bought him from Manuel and put him in training with me for dressage.  There is a story behind his name, too, which I will tell in the next post.
                                                          (to be continued........)

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