After a flurry of procrastination, followed by total confusion, Waterford Blu has an entry enroute to Dressage at Devon. It is minus a handler, a USEF number (what takes them so long?????), a Coggins, and who knows what else I may, or may not, have screwed up. Fortunately I have Linda at Blue Waters Farm. She’s a veteran of these breed shows, so I know, at the end, all will come out well!
Tomorrow, Simon (my sheltie puppy, too young young to be left home!)and I are off to see Waterford’s third session with the phenomenal Richard Malmgren. I got to know Richard a bit when Callista went to Hilltop to live out her childhood, the summer of 2003, when she was a yearling. Richard handled her many times in the breed ring and helped her become the 2006 National Four year Old Champion and USDF Materiale Mare of the Year. I connected with him briefly at the Hassler’s when I chose Wamberto as the stallion for Rafi. This past winter, he was in Wellington and began long lining Callista and Delhia on a weekly basis. The plan is (someday) that I will learn HOW to long line myself. But auditing this student of Bo Jena and advocate of the Swedish system for long lining has been an extraordinary opportunity that I will repeat this winter. My mares really benefitted from his calm, kind, assured horsemanship.
This past July, seeing Waterford in such a good growth place, I asked Linda about putting him Devon for a class or two. I love breed shows. Perfect field trips for babies! By the time they are ready to go under saddle, they are veterans. It’s just one more step for them to go to horse show. No biggie! At any rate, Linda said she would think on it and if by closing he still looked good, we might give it a shot.
Two weeks ago she called and said Richard was at the farm introducing Waterford to the prep work. Nedless to say, I’m thrilled. I couldn’t ask for a better trainer to introduce a baby to this elementary in-hand work. Richard will not run him at Devon (he needs a faster runner, I think. I also suspect Richard doesn’t run the babies at breed shows anymore. We’re all getting older, alas! And Waterford is a big yearling and has big gaits), but he will do all the prep. Last Wednesday I took the puppy (yes, I will post some photos!) and hit the road for his second session.
I am really loving how Waterford is accepting the corrections and acquiring focus….absolutely NOT a hint of stubborn behaviour. Not a glimmer of temper. He loses focus a bit, but other than that understandable baby behaviour, he is a great student. It bodes well for the future! He is a little tense yet, not really allowing himself to open all the way up in his gaits. The walk is superb and is relatively relaxed. He’s got a real grass belly, but I think there will be enough work this month to trim and tone him a bit. Starting this week, he will work two times a week with Richard and spend another day per week accustoming him to trailering. Right now the work has been in the indoor, but after tomorrow, Richard will alternate working indoors and outside to get him more confident and really encourage him to focus on the handler.
I am enormously excited about this boy! I feel an enormous responsibility to get him started well! My gut feeling is that he has Rafi’s excellent attitude and ethic. I so want this guy to be owned, bred and RIDDEN by me. I do dream of being the first weight on his back, although I do not plan to do those first 30-90 days under saddle. That will be Jen or a young horse specialist that really understands that I want to go S-L-O-W and very correctly forward with this wonderful colt. The dream is that I take him out and ride him through all the levels to wherever we are going to end up.