With my decision that Ryker may not be the right horse also comes the territory of trying to market him. Unfortunately, not many people are in the market for a 9 y.o. prospect... And even less are looking for one at 15.2 hands. Which, despite my efforts, and hard thinking on the subject may in fact mean that I'm "stuck" with him. I won't complain too much, I do very much enjoy working with him, and he is certainly talented... This situation just may just be a blessing in disguise; it certainly may be the best opportunity for me to learn how to handle and train (hopefully!) a very strong horse. I mean, aside from this issue, he is just about perfect! (ok, maybe there is a little bit of personal pride shining through...) That said, until the right situation for him pops up, if it pops up, I will just keep plugging along with him. There is still so much I can learn, and who knows, maybe I'll learn just the keys I'll need to be successful down the road!
Hello all! I know, my blogging practices have gone from less than stellar to abysmal in my last semester at Alfred (I blame my senior thesis).
Here is the news on Ryker. I have made the heart breaking decision to again put him up for sale (for real this time). Not because he has done anything wrong, he is still and will probably always be a rock star, but because I'm coming to realize that his needs and my goals as a rider are not meshing 100%. Ryker is the horse that I need 3 years from now. I want to move up to prelim, and while prelim will be a walk in the park for him when he gets there, I'm realizing that I may not be the right rider to get him there. The better he feels physically the stronger he gets, which is a curse and a blessing. His dressage has come an unbelievably far way, and the more I ride him on the flat the more I enjoy his work ethic and touch of sass. Where we are stuck is in the jumping, like I said, he is STRONG. I knew this from the beginning, when I went back to speak to his trainer up at the track and show her some photos she raised her eyebrows at me when I told her I was going to event him. I understand why now. He was strong on the track, in his many years he had mastered the lock the neck and just keep going routine. As the jumps get bigger and the questions harder (and even when they don't) I find myself less and less in control in the approach, as a trainer in the Millbrook, NY area put it, "he jumps best when he's running reckless, he needs to gain more confidence at a slower but more powerful canter to the fences". Sounds easy right? not so much. Which is what makes it that much more painful, I have to admit to myself that I am not the rider to teach him this. I do not have the strength, regardless of the bit to say enough of a WHOA when he gets going to a fence in the ring. Imagine what will happen out cross country at a real clip...
Now don't think he is crazy all the time, he is still his wonderful self, just with more spunk than I can physically handle at times (if only I could be the hulk, or grow a foot). His moments of autopilot concern me, as I have never ridden prelim and to get to that level I need to trust that I have some accurate level of control when the jumps get that big. I cannot teach him to that level, having never competed there myself with this kind of problem. In a perfect world I would have the funds to keep him and find another horse than can give me the mileage to train Ryker up to the level I want to be at. But because I don't, I will be passing on the reins to a more qualified rider, while I find that perfect balance of desire to do the job and softness to the jumps.
Here are some videos of his "winter break" in Vermont. I don't have any video's of the STRONG Ryker, but just imagine him as a grand prix jumper headed to a fence (with out the education of a horse that has made it to that level).