It’s around this stage of a re trained horses education that I start to search for a new owner. I don’t like to get stuck with them once their training is complete, this ensures I have space for another horse to enter the re training program at the first opportunity . I try to match them with an owner while they are still in training. If possible once the horse has reached a reasonable level of ridability I want to get the new owner involved in the training process, I would like to see them ride the horse as many times as possible to try to build a workable relationship before they take the horse home. It’s just as important for me to check out the new owner as it is for the new owner to check out the horse.
Bazaconi had some potential. He had movement to die for, he was certainly good looking enough and had the presence to be a show hack, he was bold enough to jump, it would all be about finding the right owner/rider to deal with him.
Most riders experienced enough to take him on aren’t looking for a horse off the track, if they are are they have their own connections to find one and are good enough riders to safely re start them.
Baz needed a committed rider with good basic skills and strong support around them to continue to take his education forward. When I advertised Baz I got dozens of enquires immediately, most were not good enough, not brave enough or not committed enough to do the job, a few came to look at him but on enquiry I knew they were not right. Baz would not go until I was confident the required elements were in place, the new owner was aware of his issues and my gut said it was ok.
Finally a girl with loads of enthusiasm, enough basic ability and a good support network stepped up. She loved all the things I loved about Bazaconi. I warned her, he would be a challenge for anyone, she rode him and was confident she could go on with the job, based on her support network and the fact that she was looking for a challenge. I was cautiously hopeful that this might be a match.
The girl came and rode Baz several times and though she was just getting back into riding after a break I could see her getting her legs back with each ride. She handled Baz well and I kept reminding her of the importance of taking things slowly and consolidating the work I had done.
She may have ridden Baz 10 times or there abouts as his training progressed, I saw nothing that made me think she could not do the job, certainly under my instruction she could. A careful and skilful instructor should be able to make it work.
My goal, is to train horses to the point where they could compete at preliminary dressage level and pop over a few small jumps if that is the new owners wish.
Bazaconi’s work gradually consolidated, his education progressed more quickly than his physicality, this is is often the case with off the track horses I train. There is no shortcut when it comes to physical development. Thoroughbreds are incredibly intelligent they learn quickly, limited mostly by emotional baggage from their racing days. Strength and musculature need to transform from that of racing horses, carrying minimal weight for very short periods, to that of riding horses carrying up to a quarter of their body weight sometimes for very extended periods sometimes many hours, they may have to jump jumps that they would never even consider in a natural environment, you could put your horse in a yard with 1.5 metre fences, put water outside and none inside and he would die of thirst before jumping the fence, yet, jumpers can be trained and conditioned to jump much higher and harder obstacles than this as a matter of routine, “what incredible athletes they are” Baz would continue to need loads of rising trot work again and again until it was so easy it was boring. He need to initially get his muscles working correctly and then let them build and strengthen. The canter would be a totally new challenge.
I’ve said it before but I will say it again horses were not designed to carry weight, we need to help them develop the posture strength and endurance to do what “we” want from them.
So, though baz was developing basic education which would need to be carefully continued, the tangled weak mess that was his back would need careful management lest, with muscular discomfort, he fall back to his conditioned racing reflex of “run away”. Once he had slipped back into that mode it would be difficult to convince him to give a considered response.
All this was impressed upon his potential new owner. A decision was made, assuming all progressed as expected, she would take Baz when I was happy with his level of education.
Baz had, with some strict conditions, found a new home fingers crossed!
End of part 7