Be careful what you wish for.

  Published by Eventing Connect

Setting out to buy or breed horses is the pursuit of the often elusive dream-to find a horse with raw ability,an exceptional mind and the capacity to go through the levels to the top of his game. These horses do exist,but they are like hens teeth and are often stumbled upon by sheer accident. What exactly is it that sets a horse apart from an average joe? Of course,big movement and a careful jump are prerequisite,but it’s the brain that makes the real difference. A horse willing to listen and learn,pay attention to you yet also always ready to think for himself,be brave yet also careful,be kind but tough-hes the horse we are all looking for. This near mythical beast does exist,but more often what happens is that you get some of what you want-enough to lull you into a false sense of hope-but not all of what you need. 
Horses with ‘The X Factor’ are immediately far nearer the limits of their locomotive capabilities than their more dobbin like counterparts. This obviously means that they are total utter disasters that never cease with shoe pulling,injuries,cuts,lameness and general near-suicidal destruction of themselves. You will spend enough on vets bills annually to buy you two houses in Barbados and three holidays a year for every year you persist in training this knob of an animal. You will carry on,certain that this horse is ‘the one’ and that Olympic superstardom is a mere formality if he ever manages five minutes with all four shoes on and no bits missing……
Along with the constant physical challenge of preserving a superstar horse comes the far worse mental one. These horses tend to be workaholics and vastly intelligent. They need constant mental stimulation and they turn into something from the seven circles of hell if left to their own devices. They spook,they sometimes nap (recalcitrant arsehole version,not snoozy sleepy version) and they are always a jump ahead of you. This is super-useful when approaching a treble of corners,but it’s a total nightmare trying to set up for a half pass. They are often mentally hyperactive in the stable too-untying themselves,opening every stable door no matter how well locked and barricaded and taking off/shredding rugs and bandages are more or less a given with a superstar horse. They pass their time developing noxious personal habits such as wind sucking and breaking apart their stables. Superstar horse is often a real challenge to patience and sanity.
So what’s the solution? There isn’t one,really. If you live by the sword you also die by it and this has never been more literally likely than when you are attempting to train your obnoxious prodigy equine. You could lower your standards and find a less talented horse,but where’s the fun in that? Who doesn’t love walking with a permanent limp and living on value baked beans? Totally worth it. Probably…….


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I am a Sports horse producer based in Ireland. That sounds very grand....the reality is that life here is crazy-trying to fit four horses,200 cattle,a baby and a husband into a day results in tales of the insane and a feeling of lurching through life with no clue what's going on. I have a keen interest in everything from planets to bones to quantum mechanics,and am a perpetual asker of the question 'why?'.

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