Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pippa Training Musings

Anytime I mess with Pippa, I keep feeling torn. Her body is maturing early, early enough that when my vet checked her knees a few months before she was 2, he said her legs could stand a rider and work already, but mentally and emotionally I know she wasn't and still isn't ready. My trainer in NC (Sophie Pririe Clifton) is a firm believer in putting HER ponies under saddle at 2.5 years, and she does training from the ground from birth. I have been continuing with all sorts of mental training with both of my youngsters (Pippa and also Queen), exposing them to trail work in-hand and also various obstacles, similar to what they might see on an obstacle course so that they can get the mental challenge. The longer I have Pippa, the more strongly bonded we get to each other, and while I know this means she puts more trust in me and can handle more exposure, it also prompts me to be more protective of her and less anxious to rush into things. I am a firm believer in not backing before 30 months and not really working before 36 months since I really want my kids to be sound still when they hit their 30s. When I look at Paul Belasik's and Andrea Velas's model for excellence with their horses at the Pennsylvania Riding Academy at Lost Hollow Farm (this pair of riders and their program is my measuring stick for excellence, btw), they have such a high standard of care and their stallion, Excelso, is in his 20s, completely sound and never needs joint supplements, plus he is still doing all the grand prix movements every week. To my knowledge, they start a 6 month lunge/longe line program at 2, start backing at 2.5, and have them riding and ready for sale at 3 years old doing w/t/c reliably that an ammy (amateur) rider could purchase and bring them along under an experienced trainer. This is what I want for my horses, being able to ride comfortably and with soundness well into their 20s and 30s at upper level work. I don't really want to part with any of my girls, so I don't really train with any buyers in mind, but I am also aware that crap happens in life sometimes, so they need to be sound, sane, and used to strangers if they ever had to part ways with me at any point and find a new mom (or dad). Oh, what to do, what to do? My big concern with Pippa is making any steps backward since she had a rough start. We have such a good rapport right now, and she trusts me, and I don't want to rush through any training program with her that could damage that trust or injure her in any way. Meh, morning musings...

No comments:

Post a Comment