Hey guys .. Thought I’d bore you all again! So here goes..
Today i was asked about a horse I ride called Jimmy Shoo , it was also pointed out to me that I don’t talk about him much nor have I given him a nickname like my other horses . I got asked why – it honestly took me a back! But they were right , I don’t and I haven’t.. So it got me thinking – why?
Jimmy was bought as a yearling by his now owner , whom I’ve ridden for for 15 years.. I have done everything with him from rollering and gently long reining him away as a 2 year old to riding him riding him around a advanced today.. I start all my horses off gently as 2 year olds.. The way I see it is it’s better to get them on side and get them used to working with/for you at a young age.. For me young horses are like kids , why shouldn’t kids clean there own room and work for pocket money? If you left your son to do totally as he likes till he is 18 could you then expect him to get up early , work for his keep and do chores without argument?!?! I see young horses the same.. Also there has to be a respect and pecking order set from day 1.. I am boss end of… Now it doesn’t mean I can’t be a great , fun , kind and amazing boss.. But like any good boss – you work with people , listen to there needs and help get the best out of them for the sake of both of you…
So along came Jimmy Shoo – how would I describe him from day 1 if asked? Simply vanilla and nice…
Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you I don’t do ‘Vanilla’ or ‘nice’ – I am a total law in to myself , but will be told , I’m fiery , hot headed but fiercely loyal and I like to think I inspire my friends and horses to be and treat me as I treat them.. But then along came Jimmy!!!
From day 1 I knew I never totally ‘had’ him , he did what we asked with no real questions asked until he started finding what we were asking of him hard.. If Jimmy found something hard or didn’t like what he was being asked to do he simply said – No , why would I want to do that? This if I’m honest is a trait I have a little of myself!! But he is one of the most naturally talented horse I’ve ever sat on… That’s half the problem , he does 98% of everything so easily why would he want to do the 2% he finds hard? Also he will not be bullied and will not be ‘told’ even when he’s in the wrong!!! The way I train my horses is very black and white.. Try for and be kind to me and I’ll try for and be kind to you , don’t try and be unkind to me and I will make it clear that’s just not cricket.. I don’t mean in a rough horrid way but for 1 hour of there day I expect my horses to try for me.. After all for the other 23 they can do as they like and are very well looked after!!!
Simple as that!!!
I quickly learnt to ride Jimmy like he was to clever for his own good.. Gentle canters round his first few events giving him time to look and learn turned to disaster , all it did was give him time to think about how he wasn’t sure he wanted/found it easy – therefore why would he do it?
Every time he went up a level I found myself making the same mistake – giving him a steady run round only for him to very often decided it wasn’t for him on that particular day… So 2 weeks ago at his first Advanced I found myself making the same mistakes (who says I’m a slow learner!!) and yep you guessed it , he decided by fence 6 – a left handed corner it simply wasn’t for him..
His owner wanted to know afterwards did I want want to go schooling or make up some left handed corners etc.. Nope I said… Why remind him of what he found hard? He isn’t the type to try harder for us for it.. Let’s remind him of the 98% he finds easy..
So off we went today – his second advanced , after one ‘naughty’ in the dressage (still a nice mark) and a super round in the SJ for a one very unlucky pole down , we went down to the XC.. Loads of skinnys the whole way round and two lovely left handed corners at fences 19 & 20!! Great I thought when I walked the course!!!
So off we set , whilst I have never thought I ride well I do think I ride ‘inspired’ as well as anyone… So that’s what I did , I rode him like he was the most inspiring horse ever , no vanilla or nice anywhere to be seen!! Jimmy finds going quick across country easy , he has a amazing cruising gear and he loves to angle fences and his brain is so quick he eats fences up when you turn him tight to them , I can feel his ego build underneath me when you do…
So we galloped round , I rode the most unorthodox round on a horse doing his second ever advanced event round a track that caused real problems… But he loved it , he grew and grew under me.. A couple of fences early on I had to throw my heart first but to be fair he followed and that’s good enough for me!! We were the third fastest time of the day behind two very experienced horses ridden by the best and quickest XC rider to have ever have come out of ireland and we finished a good 5th in very hot competitive section.. Still marks to gain in the dressage and SJ so the futures looking bright… (hopefully!!!)
I always try to make sure I get a good jump at the last fence , it’s what the horse goes to bed on… I try to make sure there last jump makes for dreams not nightmares!!
Remember unorthodox isn’t always bad and if they won’t be told maybe try it there way… You might just be pleasantly surprised , after all there way with results is better than your way with none… Not everyone will conform but if your smart you can out think them so they don’t even know that they are conforming even if its conforming on there terms…
Having a ego rarely gets you anywhere in life…
Think smart , be smart and talk quite….