This story is not about what you think it's about.
It's the story of what happened to my second horse trainer, who was my first dressage trainer. The story of what happened to my first horse trainer starts here. This story doesn't end the same way, but it was still full of strife. And drama. There's always drama at the barn.
Before I start, let me say that I'm going to use names in this story, but some of them have been changed to protect the innocent. Or those easily pissed off. So lets get on with it, shall we?
I bought Kaswyn as a completely unbroken 3 year old. I bought him sight unseen from my good friend Paul in California while I was living in Ohio. He sent me a video of this chestnut youngster running around in a paddock. When I still couldn't decide if I wanted him or not, Paul said "How about this. You buy him, and in a few months if you decide you don't like him then I'll buy him back and give him to Marcie (his wife). She's always liked him, and this way it's low risk for you." It sounded like a gamble that I'd be willing to take, so I bought him.
When he arrived off the trailer, I thought "Well buddy, lets see if we can get along, shall we?" It was clear after a few days that this was a very special horse, and I fell hard for him. About two weeks later I called Paul and told him that he wasn't getting him back.
I broke Kaswyn when he was three and a half. My plan was to show him on the Class A Arabian Show circuit. I didn't really care what discipline, since I had pretty much shown them all, so I just started him in a western saddle and got a feeling about where he might fit best. It soon became clear that he would be an awesome hunter pleasure horse, so we headed in that direction.
We had a pretty good show year when he was five, picking up many ribbons and a Hunter Pleasure Championship (but not a Regional Championship) at a few shows. In the fall of that year I started noticing that he was being naughty for no good reason. For example, we'd be cantering along just fine, and suddenly he'd turn sharply left. It wasn't a spook, he just dropped his shoulder and turned. So I'd holler at him, he'd dance around for a few steps, then obediently go back to work. Until the next time. Something else he would do is just slam on the brakes at random times. Again, no spooking, he'd just stop, I'd yell "KASWYN!" and he'd act upset, and go back to working.
It became obvious that my pony was bored by just going on circles, and was trying to liven it up a bit by being naughty. I tried patterns, trail riding, days off, but none of it helped. I decided that I'd try him western, but that didn't go so well because he's clearly and English horse. However, not English enough to go English, or even Country Pleasure. I didn't have the know-how or equipment for trail, cutting, reining, or driving, and he just wasn't cut out for Native Costume. I was kind of at a loss.
Then a gal from the barn suggested that I try dressage. She said Kaswyn was a great mover, and that she thought he'd do really well. I didn't know the first thing about dressage, so I'd have to get a new trainer. Blair was really the only trainer I'd had, and since she was gone I'd been just working by myself, so I was kind of nervous to launch into a new relationship with a trainer. There were two dressage trainers giving lessons at the barn, so I took some time and watched them give lessons. Then I chose one of the trainers, Paula, and asked if she's take me on as a student. She agreed, and we set up our first lesson.
To be continued...
3 days ago