I’m not going to lie, almost everything in my life revolves around horses. Take one look at my Instagram and you will think that I’m the stereotypical horse crazy lunatic with too much time on my hands. But the reality is, it’s hard work! Really hard! And as the old saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun”, this month will mark 1 year since I brought my OTTB home to start his re-education. 1 whole year with Nigel.. Wow!
Reading back on some notes from last year, I wrote ALOT about Nigey’s challenges with his training. All this ‘riding horse’ stuff was all pretty new to him! Challenges like not being able to pick up left canter, canters sideways (literally sideways), heavily lugs right, pig roots into canter, head tosses, trips over poles.. You name it, he had a funny way of doing it! (Or not doing it).
Nigel today, 12 months on. A beautiful, uphill canter.
So, my first honest confession.. There were times I asked myself if I did the right thing buying an out of work, ex-racehorse to train. This is definitely not one of those fairy tale stories of an OTTB competing in dressage or jumping 3 months after retiring from racing or coming back into work. In fact, there’s been quite a few times I’ve been THAT person on the arena trying to control an out of control horse. And without sounding too cliche, I truely believe this journey has taken me so much further as an Equestrian than I would of ever achieved buying an experienced been there, done that horse. Despite the challenges, I would do it 20 times over as long as I got to do it with Nigel! (I’m not crazy, I swear!).
Nigel then and now. 18 months out of work ex-racehorse to a cheeky, beautiful performance horse.
If you asked me what my biggest confession as an Equestrian is, this one would have to be it. I’m a self confessed wuss. This last year has so wonderfully put me out of my comfort zone time and time again, yet I never seem to shake that little feeling of nervousness (which is ok by the way!). My coach has spent countless lessons helping to build my confidence. But in saying that, I know no shame. I will freely tell you about my achievement of jumping 60cm’s which honestly in my head feels like 1.60m sometimes. 12 months ago I couldn’t even imagine doing this with Nigel!
Super effort by a super horse!
Lastly, my final confession. I often wonder if I am good enough for this beautiful soul I call Nigel. I am so proud of this boy for giving me the comfort of a willing horse, with a little bit of spunk and attitude! He’s gone from a horse who wouldn’t canter left, to a horse doing a mini jump sequence, including a change of canter leads through trot. He is the truest friend that can never be replaced! Happy 1 year anniversary Nigey!
This blog is the personal opinion and experience of the author. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor or trainer for your own specific situation or circumstance.