When I decided it was time to leave Indiana and move back to Nebraska I still wanted to have more than one horse to ride. I knew a woman from Lincoln that had a beautiful thoroughbred mare, she was unable to ride due to MS and the mare had spent the last few years in very little work. I had kept in touch with her while I was in Indiana and expressed interest in taking her in for training when I moved home. Cola is a stunning mare just shy of 17 hh. She has three beautiful gaits and loves to work. Unfortunately, her brain does not match her beauty! She is spooky, unfocused, and easily distracted. Not qualities you want in a Hunter.
The first few months I spent introducing Cola to new things. She didn’t have much respect for people on the ground and had not been introduced to many “scary” things. On top of these qualities, she was not very fit from years of light work. Our first rides were spent building up her fitness and working on focusing on me. Once she was fit enough to start jumping things started to move forward quickly. Giving Cola something to focus on (the jump) kept her attention on work and made life around her less distracting.
After a winter of hard work, Cola and I ventured to our fist show together. A local hunter/jumper schooling show. We were going to compete in the Baby Greens. Jumps so small she could step over them. Since there was no warm up arena, I could not lunge to get her mind focused on work. I tacked up and jumped on and had a surprisingly successful warm up. She jumped all the jumps and wasn’t a nervous mess! After our warmup we had a disgustingly long wait and no stalls for the horses. 6 hours later we had our flat class and 2 over fences rounds. The flat class went well, we were in a class of mostly ponies. The first over fences round was good but the second was much more exciting! Since this was a schooling show, the lines were not set at regulation hunter striding. Cola has a HUGE stride. We did the outside line that was a “3” stride in 2 strides. I lost my reins and looked like a fool but stayed on!
We finished the day with 5th in out division. I was just happy we got around the course and I stayed on!
Our next outing was much more exciting! It was Cola’s first outdoor show, I had been jumping her in just a slow twist full cheek at home so thought I’d stick with that the day of the show. That was a mistake. I had no control or brakes around the course. We did an 8 stride line in 6 strides and I was sure we were going to take out the fence at the end of the arena. Again, somehow I stayed on and we completed each round!
While riding and training Cola has sure been intereisting at times. She really has taught me alot about sucking it up and getting the job done. She has given me the since of pride that comes from hard work and dedication and taught me alot about how to ride a horse that isn’t always easy. I always joke with people that she is a lovely mare, she just makes bad choices somtime! I still have Cola in training and she is activly for sale. While she is not suitable for a beginner she would make a great hunter or Eq mount for the right person!