“My stable is only five minutes away could you trailer her there for me for fifty dollars? “
"Sure thing said the man" as Amy handed him a check of three hundred dollars. They loaded the mare easily into the trailer and brought her to the stable. The man quickly left after dropping her off saying "If you have any problems, please call me, I want her in a good home". Amy was happy this mare had had a nice owner; it meant the mare would not have trust issues. This was going to be a surprise to Amy's trainer; Amy was excited to see Sandra's reaction.
"WHAT IS THAT THING???" Yelled Sandra.
"It's my new horse" sad Amy angrily .
"No, it's not. If you want to get anywhere you need a dressage horse, not a cheap mix breed", Sandra replied.
"She has very nice movement and a lovely personality", said Amy. She and the mare had formed an instant bond.
"Okay then, let's see you half pass down the diagonal" replied her trainer.
"She's green" said Amy, "I'm going to start more training tomorrow.
"Well then you better find a new stable by tomorrow" said Sandra.
"WHAT?" said Amy. "Can't I pick my own horse?"
"Not when you are a student at this stable”, Sandra said arrogantly.
"But I can train her into a good dressage horse!" Amy cried out.
"No, you can't, now go return that ugly horse" said Sandra as she laughed at Amy.
"I'm leaving!" Yelled Amy. She called John; his number was on her phone. "Hi John, they won't let me keep this horse here, can I keep her and ride her at your ranch?
"I'm sorry to hear that Amy! Yes I'll let you keep her here, I'll be there in a few minutes", Replied John. So far he had been very nice to Amy.
Amy was so happy that John was so nice. When John arrived she loaded “Sprite” into the trailer and then grabbed all her tack and equipment and loaded it into the truck.
"SEE YOU AT THE NEXT SHOW" called Sandra after her. She was being very rude.
Amy drove behind the trailer on the way to the ranch and when she got there she said "Thank you so so so much John, I can't wait to meet the new people at your ranch. What are your facilities like?"
" We have a large indoor arena and an indoor round pen. We also have seventeen indoor stalls, a feed room, a bathroom, a wash rack and two cross ties"
"well, it isn't as small as I thought...do you have other boarders"
"Yes, we have a reining instructor too. Indoor board in $275 per month and outdoor board is $175 per month."
"I'll take indoor board, and can I hire my own dressage trainer?"
"Yes, for sure! As long as they treat people better than those other people" he said.
"Oh, I'll make sure of that", said Amy,“I was getting tired of them, this was a good excuse to leave".
Amy was going to prove Sandra wrong. She decided not to get a trainer, but go to clinics. She had already broken a few horses and worked green horses up to higher levels.
Amy loved the look in the mare’s eyes, she could tell the mare had a heart. She was well built and muscular and seemed at peace. She obviously had good ground manners already. The first time the mare looked at her, Amy knew she was going to buy her. She was the most beautiful grulla Amy had ever seen.
The next day Amy started a six day per week training schedule. She decided to lunge her two days per week and ride her four days per week. But she would always lunge her before she rode her. Today, she was going to do a one hour session as an assessment. She took the mare out of the stall she was put in for the night and brought her into the cross ties. Amy didn't like the name "Sprite" and decided to call her "Elara" and nicknamed her "Ellie". Ellie picked up her feet nicely and stood still while Amy groomed her, Amy was happy with her purchase. She walked into the tack room and grabbed her dressage saddle, flash bridle, slide reins, draw reins, lunge line, lunge whip and an old pair of protective boots. She tacked up the mare and led her to the large, sixty foot round pen. Then she tightened the slide reins and sent the little mare out on a circle around her. Ellie tried to fight; she wasn't used to having her head down so Amy loosened the reins. The mare relaxed a little and walked around her in a circle.
"Good girl" said Amy and within a few minutes the mare was completely relaxed with her head farther in. Amy tightened the reins and sent her out again. Elli was now more comfortable with them and accepted the bit, putting her head down. "That's a good girl" said Amy as she flicked the whip behind the mare. Elli moved into a smooth, easy trot to the right. Amy really liked how smart and willing Elli was, that makes a good dressage prospect. Amy brought the mare in again and tightened the reins even more. Elli curled her neck and accepted what was asked of her and moved around Amy at a walk. Amy flicked the whip and asked for a forward trot, and then an extended trot. The mare had beautiful movement. She asked for the canter and the mare moved into the canter, but then broke into a trot. She wasn't yet ready to canter with her head in. Amy took off the slide reins and put on the draw reins, then mounted her. She gently sponged the reins and asked for Ellie's head to go down. Ellie threw her head in the air and backed up and Amy flicked her butt with her dressage whip and kicked her forward, bending her to the inside. The mare gave in and put her head in. "That's a good girl" said Amy as she released. She walked on and the mare kept her head in. "Gooooooood girl Elli". Amy didn't want to ride past the walk yet so she did a few circles and then dismounted. That was a very good session. Amy un tacked her and returned her to her pasture. Then she went to the store and bought Elara some new equipment: a leather halter, a lead rope, a purple saddle pad, bell boots, jumping boots, and a full cheek snaffle.
The next part of the story will be a training journal
Day 2: I lunged Elara today. She accepted the bit very well and did walk, trot and canter. She was more relaxed at the start today. I worked on getting her more balanced and relaxed today.
Day 3: I lunged her and then rode her today. On the lunge I worked a lot on transitions and tried to get her working more forward now that she is much more relaxed. I only walked today again. I worked on bending- I did lots of circles
Day 4: It was another riding day. When I lunged her she was amazing and is listening to voice commands really well. I again worked on transitions. I only rode her at the walk today again for about ten minutes. I worked on transitions from backing up, stopping, and walking.
Day 5: I worked on the ground only today. Her transitions and voice cues are coming along nicely. I started to work on moving off of pressure. I just got her to move over off of pressure, it didn't seem new to her so I started side passing and she did great. I also did backing up. She will side pass very well and move off a flick of the whip going forward.
Day 6: Today was a riding day. On the ground before riding, I did moving off pressure and transitions again and she aced it, then I added the trot into riding. She barely needs the draw reins in the walk but they help in the trot. Her trot is very smooth. After a few minutes of trotting, I didn't really need the draw reins. I did moving off pressure while on her back so she will move forward and sideways off of pressure.
Skip to day 20: Today was a riding day. I did walk, trot and canter working a lot on bend and forwardness. I asked for different speeds at the trot and walk and for twenty meter circles at the canter. I did stop to trot and walk to canter transitions which she was awesome at. I did some leg yielding and ten meter circles at the trot.
Skip to day 35: Today I worked a lot on the canter. I worked on getting her back on her haunches to slow down and come back into my hands. I did smaller circles and asked for simple changes. At the trot I did some serpentines and ten meter circles and at the walk I worked on leg yielding and shoulder in.
Skip to day 45: Today I worked on leg yielding at the walk and trot
Skip to day 60: It is two months into training now! Elara is doing amazing! She now does walk, trot and canter. She can do leg yielding and shoulder in at the walk, ten meter circles, collection and extension in the trot and has a very balanced canter that I can extend and can do simple changes.
Skip to day 90: This was the last day of our "official training". Ellie is now a level one dressage horse starting level two! I am working on shoulder in and leg yielding but most of all: collection. Our first show is tomorrow and to be safe I am doing level 1