Ruby went to stay with Diana Burgess for 2 weeks; Di was recommended to me, as apart from being very local to me, she has a great reputation for training youngsters, as well as taking top event horses up through the levels - probably most notably the great Tamarillo.
Now we weren’t expecting miracles in the short space of 2 weeks, but more to help try to establish the basics. Following extensive physio, Ruby was suffering from acceptance issues; she had been so used to discomfort and being unable to bend properly, that she was resisting even before she tried. Backing and bringing on a youngster for the first time is a task in itself, but with the right support, and a very quick to learn and willing horse in Ruby, we have been fine thus far. However, this was a far greater issue, and required professional input; we didn’t know if the physio had worked, and at this crucial stage, I felt it was imperative to give Ruby the best chance before we had to consider other options.
We didn’t interfere, just left Di to her own devices for the whole 2 weeks, and then went to see her this Saturday. Although we had explained explained Ruby’s issues, Di had no idea what we started with, so she wasn’t sure how much improvement had been made, but let me tell you I was completely over the moon! She was like a different horse; this must be what it’s like to be a proud parent! She seemed much more relaxed in herself, and worked pretty much consistently in an outline on both reins, even maintaining through the canter. There is still much work to do, particularly in helping her establish her balance in the canter, but she is so much improved. It feel s as though you can actually ride her now, whereas before she was so stuck in her resistance that it was very tricky. Not only that, but she’s much more accepting of the leg too – putting your leg on can mean more than go faster!
Ruby has since come home, and is now ready to continue with her work. She’s been schooled and hacked and still proving to be brilliant! It’s a learning curve for me too, and tonight I felt like I really got the knack of holding and giving. Strangely enough, with a youngster it’s almost easier, because it’s so black and white! There’s no undoing, just a blank canvas, and now, if I ask her in the right way, she gives, and if I don’t, she’ll come hollow; simple really.
I think for her development, I will consider taking Ruby back to Di’s in a few months for a top-up, as it were, to ensure that she continues to learn and become more established, and then who knows? Maybe one day soon our little girl will be able to start going to some parties! I’m so happy that we can now really crack on with her and I’m starting to see the fantastic little horse she could be, but more than anything, I’m just happy she’s managed to get through her physical issues. This was a horse that came to us rising 3, as she didn’t grow as big as they’d hoped, and nobody was small enough to ride her. The plan was that I would back her and get her riding away, before selling her...well, that plan was short lived as she just completely captured our hearts! She is a typical Opposition horse, stubborn as you like but so willing, so talented, and so beautiful. I have high hopes for this little mare! Bring it on!
For some reason I can't upload any photo's at the moment on here, but please do have a look at my Facebook and Twitter pages to see how she's looking; I think a picture says a thousand words!