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May : Mission Accomplished Part Two

My other goals for the year included taking the baby giant, Hagrid, off-property to work. That opportunity arrived when my trainer made it back into town to High Point Farm in Watkinsville, GA. I love spending time at High Point and I knew it would be a great first time for him, especially in a training situation.

I loaded the boys up early on a Friday morning. We were off “to see the Wizard”! Hagrid hauled incredibly well (downing two bags of hay along the way!) and stepped off the trailer like a pro. He stayed quiet and polite in his new surroundings and just seemed to soak it all in. The big questions were already racing through my mind. How will he react to going into an indoor arena? How will he take to the commotion going on around him in that particular indoor arena? How will he react to the audience around the ring? Will he keep his braids in?! He was first on my riding list and soon after arrival it was do or die time! I held the baby giant as Mikki expertly braided his long neck and forelock. He looked so grown up! He had his own custom set of polo wraps and matching saddle pad made for us by E.C. Equestrian Boutique, his tack was cleaned and he was looking rather dapper. We walked into the big loud indoor fairly calmly, albeit head in the air. I walked him around the ring, let him gaze upon himself in the mirrors while we waited for my trainer to come out to work with us.

The first day we spent a lot of time on the ground. She showed me her techniques for young horses both in hand and on the lunge and she walked around the ring with us. I got on and rode right at the end, did just a little bit of trot work. Just from the groundwork she gave me, he was already trotting like a different horse. It felt amazing and better yet removed those little cobwebs of doubt I’d been having over his suitability for Dressage. There was a lot to take in that first day but she praised him for being such a good boy for his first ever time out and in such a crazy situation at that. We discussed our plan for the next day and then I walked the baby giant back to his stall with his head down, relaxed.

Day Two started on the ground again, working some poll pressure techniques to show him how to give to the bit and to keep him relaxed as we walked around the ring. I started to lunge him to get to the point where he was drivable and then I got on. She had me focus on the straightness of his body, being stable with the rein for him to be stable and using small serpentines to move him from one rein to the other. Once again Hagrid proved himself more than just a baby giant. His trot started to float and he began to reach his neck and nose out.

Our final morning was a true test to Hagrid’s attention span and cool factor. We started at a chilly 7am…right when everyone was getting fed and being turned out. Talk about big time distraction! He managed to keep his composure (for the most part) and once again we set to work. We added in some calm and quiet canter transitions and Felicitas gave me a ton of homework to think on. I was so proud of the big guy that I couldn’t contain it. He was a champ and tried his heart out!

It was such an inspiring weekend and I couldn’t wait to get home and continue the new work. It was a night and day the difference in his demeanor. Not that he was naughty at home, but our work hadn’t been the relaxed flow it is now. The video to the left was from our work Monday May 30th. He looks much more confident in his work and transitions and it excites me! I look forward to taking Hagrid on more outings and am really hoping to be brave enough to brave the long haul to Julie Cochran’s beautiful new barn to meet Felicitas there in July. I want to also take him with me to some clients' personal farms and ride around in their arenas to keep it quiet and positive every time. Who knows what the end of the year will bring but if I feel he is ready maybe even a schooling show is in his near future( but I’m not rushing it). We’ve hit some big goals this year already, he and I.

I’ve purchased several other horses in the years before Hagrid, all in the search for my next William. Right now, I’m telling myself to not over think it. I tell others I’m not letting myself fall in love just yet - I can still screw this one up. I will admit that when I see him he makes me smile no matter if he is picking on Avery, screaming at the top of his lungs for breakfast or breaking the fence. People who know me well tell me that they think he is it my next show horse. If that’s true, only time will tell. At least this one keeps his braids in!

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