Saturday, February 1, 2014

Winston Goes to Boarding School

Last Thursday, I had an all day meeting in LA.  It required that I be up at 4am to get ready and drive to the airport.  I was in meetings, including an intense negotiation session, until 6pm.  My flight home was delayed so I didn't pull back into our driveway until midnight.  I had just started to see faint glimmers of energy after my bout with the flu, but Thursday took care of that.  Yesterday, I was wiped out.  I sent Sandy a text asking if she would ride Winston in my lesson today.  I knew I wasn't up to riding.  She said she would be happy to ride Winston; that it would give her an opportunity to get to know him better.

Winston pranced off the trailer at her barn I took him straight to the round pen where I lunged him until his brain came back to earth.  When he was stretching down and relaxed, I tacked him up.  Sandy worked him in the covered arena and it was way too dark for pictures.  You'll have to go with verbal paint.

They started out with trot work.  Winston tried to pop out of the contact but Sandy didn't go anywhere.  She didn't argue, she just stayed with him.  Pretty quickly, he realized it was easier to go with the program.  They looked lovely with Winston reaching under nicely and starting to float.  She used some haunches-in to try and get a more honest connection to the bit.  His legs got tangled up at first but then he figured it out and relaxed.
Sandy asked for canter and got a big response -- Winston kicked out with his hind leg and hopped.  She laughed and said "its just a canter aid, you dumb-dumb."  He hasn't pulled that stunt in almost two years.  Sandy is a very quiet rider, a very harmonious rider; there was no excuse for his reaction.  ...and it got worse.  He decided he didn't want to canter with contact.  He pitched a fit, flinging his head high, half rearing, anything he could think of to intimidate her into doing something else.  Sorry, Winston.  It may work with me; it doesn't work with a professional.  Again, Sandy didn't engage in the hysteria.  She quietly insisted that he behave (this is not new and different work) and eventually he did.

I left him there at Sandy's barn.  He is officially enrolled in reform school.  I had been rolling the idea around in my head for a week.  I don't have the time, the energy, the confidence or the skill set to work through this with Winston.  He's an awesome horse and I want the inner Winston who is good and brave and proud to develop.  We need to put the naughty, belligerent and almost dangerous Winston out of business.  I will take lessons on Winston and I'll play with him on Sandy's days off but his training now rests in her capable hands.

After the lesson, I took Winston into the jumping arena and let him roll.  

He wasn't happy about me leaving him there.  But he's with family.  Sandy's amazing mare, Releve', is Winston's niece (she is full Hanovarian, tall and leggy, an elegant mover and a looker).  Here's a video of them together.  Sandy wrote "Uncle Winston" on the name plate outside his stall.  


  1. Sounds like a great plan - I did the same with Pie and Red back in 2012 and it turned out to be a great idea.

  2. i hope the boy straightens up. sounds like he's in good hands.

    if not, military school is next!

  3. Winston certainly has a beautiful Appy pattern on his back .
    We will have a OTTB from first week of Feb (coming this week) till Sept this year , I look froward to working with him.

  4. Wonderful for Winston - he'll figure it out and you'll get a compliant partner...

    Rest up and get better soon!

    How is Jackson doing?

  5. Looks like the belligerent kicking out behavior runs in the family. His neice did the same thing at 5:19 in the video.

    Hopefully, he'll learn to love dressage and will cooperate in Sandy's tutelage, so you can have the horse you desire.


  6. Sounds like a plan! Sorry he needed to go to reform school, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

  7. Sandy sounds wonderful, and boot camp sounds like just the thing for both you AND Winston. I'd feel sorry for him having to "get with the program," but... nah. He'll be awesome!

  8. sounds like he needs to be at the school. I think you are doing the right thing!

  9. Sometimes we just need help! Its great you have someone you trust to work with him.

  10. Wow, big news! Sounds like a really sensible idea. I'm sure it'll work out well for you both.
    I'm delighted to read that Jackson is doing well too!


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