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post #1 of 201 Old 08-12-2018, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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An American thoroughbred in Europe

I am starting a new chapter in my life, so I think it is time to start a new journal.

I have officially moved to Denmark, it feels like home to me and I am very anxious to see Wonder again. I think the estimate is he'll come to Denmark in about 4 weeks. I have already found a stable to keep him at which is lovely. They have a good indoor and outdoor school, large boxes with windows, all day turnout, good food and a whole lot of trails. I think Wonder will be very happy. We will also have access to a dressage trainer who was on the Danish national team, so I am very excited about that and to continue our education. We will have access to a lot of excellent trainers in Denmark which I'm very excited about. I'm also happy that at the stable, the people are pretty laid back and nice, so I think Wonder will be very happy with that. He doesn't like uptight people who try to control or micromanage him but is well behaved and quite pleasant when treated with respect and fairness. He is not a warmblood, he won't tolerate what a warmblood will.

I am working on my Danish, it is quite a tricky language to learn. Sentence structure and pronunciation are different. It will be a process to learn but absolutely necessary. It also gets frustrating because a lot of my German is coming back to me, so I'll think of something in German rather than in Danish. It is also interesting because I had a DNA test and I am 70% scandinavian. The remainder is German, Dutch, some french, welsh and british and I think 1% jewish. It is interesting because I was always told Im German but it makes sense because the part of Germany my family is from was apart of Denmark for a long time before it became a part of Germany. I've also been told I don't look German, I look Scandinavian so that could be Swedish, Danish, Finnish or Norwegian *Shrugs* it doesn't really matter. But the Danes say my nature is very Danish and they can't see the German *shrugs* I don't know.

For those who don't know me, a little background. I am a former active duty Marine. I was a computer science major and have a large variety of interests. I have studied economics, philosophy, ethics, theology, anthropology, history, physics, mathematics, psychology, neuroscience, biology, genetics, paleontology, communications, law, etc if it interests me I study it. I study things from good variety of angles to get the clearest picture I can. I have aspergers, so life has been interesting. I don't process like other people, I simply don't. I see the world in terms of senses, feeling, sensation and pictures so when I speak, write, etc I have to translate the experience to words. I feel no shame about being autistic, some people may not like me for characteristics it gives me but I've stopped caring about that. People will judge, be unfair and make judgments without bothering to try to understand or seeing what is true. People want to see what they see. They dont really care about truth or fairness or at least that has been my experience. The more educated you are, the more I think you're meant to hide it because people find it very threatening for some reason. I don't get it but that is my experience, even if you are polite, open and not rude people are threatened.

I've also struggled with depression, anxiety and ADHD. They've complicated my life but have overall made me stronger. I don't like talking or writing about it much. I feel no shame in talking about it but people hear a label and make so many preconceived, unfair notions based on a label. I've learned when you talk about those matters, people see you as the label rather than you as an individual. I think most people are lazy in their mind and so they'd rather categorize and group people quickly or try to see picture in black and white, rather than to see people as individuals or see pictures as they are. I don't process the written word in term of instruction, I'm a visual learner.

I have ridden for 17 years. I have been a working student on multiple occasions, worked with olympic riders, BHSI trainers, CDI FEI judges, GP riders, etc, etc. My background is as an eventer. I did that until I was 17 years old and stopped 10 years ago. I have also worked with natural horsemanship, saddleseat, carriage driving, reining, etc trainers because I believe being well rounded is very important as a horseman. I pride myself in my ground work and horsemanship. That is a skill I've worked very hard to develop and I feel being autistic gives me an advantage in that department because I work best with very anxious, nervous, sensitive horses. I like a VERY VERY hot horse, so my favorite breeds are thoroughbreds and saddlebreds. I get along with pure arabs but have not had good experiences with arab crosses. I work with them fine but not my favorite. I've worked with PREs, morgans, friesians and friesian crosses, a wide variety of warmbloods, drafts and draft crosses, lots of ottbs, halflingers, ponies, quarter horses, cobs, gypsey vanners, etc. I feel like I've ridden every type, maybe not true but it feels like that. Every type is a very different ride and requires a different approach and technique requiring a rider to be very adjustable and tactful. Training horses with less than ideal conformation, depending on what conformational difficulty they have requires different methods and takes time. So it annoys me when people want a perfect picture the instant you sit on a horse and dont understand that getting that correct, perfect picture takes time, especially with incorrect conformation or a different background. It is so easy with correct conformation, much harder with a non purpose bred. I spent a good amount of time breaking horses as well, have also raised babies from birth to breaking and beyond. Most the horses I worked with for many years were problem children. The horses that reared, bolted, bucked, were naughty, too hot etc and it was interesting because most horses I could fix all those problems on and never have a problem or someone would say oh this horse is SO SO hot and naughty, etc and it would try something once or twice and I'd never have a problem but someone else would get on and I'd have to start all over again with it. I'm also pretty used to riding temperamental horses and just riding through their temper tantrums. I had a mare who would get very fussy about being corrected because she thought she knew everything lol. I don't know I feel you become more humble and patient, the more horses you work with. I've ridden hundreds of horses and worked with I don't even know. I rode 6 a day for a while. I've schooled to PSG and I1, some GP but I am NOT a GP rider at all. I could never produce one by myself. I also have not shown very much due to not having much money. I pay for my horses health, happinesss and for our education. I would love to show but it is so expensive. Fortunately it is cheaper here in Denmark than in the US.

My GP prospect and ottb. He came off of the racetrack on 24 June 2017. A little background on him. He is 17h, was a classic distance horse. He didn't do well in sprints. For a long time I would say he was the hottest, most powerful I've ever ridden in my life and I've ridden some VERY nice, very powerful 18+h warmbloods. Wonder is something else. During winter and spring he needed to be ridden 2hrs a day 6 days a week. I'd have to ride him for 45min before a lesson or it was a waste of time. I had to run him into the wall at least 10x a ride for a long time because he'd just run through my core. I've strained core muscles on him. I remember in the trot he tried running off so I sat and kept my core very still and he literally took hold of the bit and pulled me up onto his neck. I also could not hold a whip when handling him at all, so did a TON of desensitization and natural horsemanship, Warrick Schiller type stuff. It helped a lot. He has come down quite a bit and is happiest around hot, like minded horses. I've put people on him where he would stand in the center of the arena and refuse to be ridden, he didn't care if they had their bronze or silver medal. He was like your thoughts and emotions aren't clear, so I simply cant. He's very sensitive. I could never tell who he would go for and who he would't. If someone doesn't have instinctual, natural feel he won't go forward. There is a mental block or he'll bolt. Can't be pressured or micromanaged but quite possibly the smartest horse I have ever ridden, trained or worked with. I've never met a horse like him and anyone whose worked with him has said the same thing. But during winter it was like trying to ride a 5 gaited saddlebred with the fireworks being shot at his butt. He was so tense, even standing next to him in the cross ties. You could feel the intensity radiate off of him. He's come down and I hope doesn't get that intense because he was quite tight and difficult to work with and I don't think I'll have that kind of time to work with him.


Fancy warmblood mare, I own her atm. I knew her since she was born, did some of the raising and broke her. This is her 3mo broke

Layla, not the easiest. She is pretty temperamental, opinionated but once she breaks through the hard stuff. She's downhill and weaker behind, so basically I'm convincing her to follow my seat, come back to me and sit a lot. She tries to take control of the ride, so a lot of it is convincing her to trust me and let me ride her. I don't hold them in this kind of collected work for a long time. Literally the length of the video then long rein and 5min walk to let the muscles relax. It is tense when training this. You would be too, it's like holding yoga poses to a deeper degree and upping the level of pose and length of time you can hold that pose. Or like being a ballerina.

She likes to grab hold of the left rein, so it's a lot of getting her to release that. I think her saddle is pinching her in the wither when she comes over her back because when her saddle was freshly fitted she didn't do that. Darn dressage horses change shape all the time. In Europe they'd just say ride though it. We have no prima donnas, she has to get over it. Half pass work starts around 2:30. Had to put a half pass on to help her supple and figure out how to use her rib cage and follow the rider, rather than take control. It also took a while to develop suspension in her trot and more will come in time.

Jimmy 15.1h half arab

15h 3yr old morgan filly
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-12-2018 at 12:11 PM.
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post #2 of 201 Old 08-12-2018, 02:06 PM
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Looking forward to reading your journal as your journey progresses!
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post #3 of 201 Old 08-12-2018, 05:02 PM
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Good luck with your new life in Denmark.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #4 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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QrtBel- Thank you. I can't wait for him to come home to me. It is quite a nice stable where he will be staying!
_________

Jaydee- Thank you. I love it here in Denmark. It's my home and I fit here. I'm really anxious to take more lessons. I lived here for about 3 months working for a former olympic trainer (I don't write the name because he's very private), he taught me a lot of in hand, ground work and undersaddle stuff. Brilliant horseman. He taught his son's pony to sit and wave
_________

Unfortunately Wonder will not be coming to Denmark until September 29th. I'm quite sad it's a few past what I thought. I already miss him so much. However with my broken wrist there isn't much I could do with him anyways if he were here now.

A bit of Wonder's personality. He cracks me up. I don't have it on video but similar to this where I tell him to put his foot down and he has his foot cocked and I tell him to put it all the way down and he glares at me and set his foot all the way down he also used to kick the wall when I'd go to the tack room and look at the tack room to see if I was looking. I had to treat him like a 3yr old and not pay attention when he'd kick the wall and he stopped. But he's funny.

Wonder playing in the field, one week off of the race track

Wonder on lunge line, Im patient with bringing him back. If you force it he has a little meltdown.


This was after a 2hr ride

This is more typical what Wonder is like. He is VERY VERY hot and strong. He takes a LOT of core. I also found out last month that he likes rear bell boots. He is a lot more confident with his hind end if he has rear bell boots on. Without them he doesn't step so powerfully behind. He is also SUPER hard to sit. His gaits are HUGE and HUGELY powerful. I've literally ridden 18+h warmbloods that are high quality that don't have half of his power. And you can't just move his body over or just get it, it has to be gradual. Ask for a little more and a little more bend or you'll just get fight. My trainer and most everyone describes him as a professional only type of ride. He's not naughty but he's very hard to organize and ride. He has a talent for collection. I had a friend who is quite a good rider, ridden lots of tricky horses, developed an arab for her bronze, silver and she was like jesus he doesn't ride anything like he looks. He's tough. I tried different techniques with my trainer to make him easier but as my trainer told me when I moved to Denmark. You NEED to find a way to take him with you because there is no way in hell you're going to find someone who can ride this horse. He's torn my core muscles because you have to be able to sit against him in your body or he is just go engine that will pull you in every direction.


He takes everything I have to ride. It takes a TON of core to hold yourself from getting ran off with.
He was very intense and tense this day, letting him just be results in bolting when he's like this. He's a very very hot horse.

The thing is I LOVE horses like this. He's SO SO smart and he is hard and he takes everything I have but with a good trainer I learn SO SO much with him. I'd rather struggle on this horse than have something straight forward and easy. I like something with an opinion and a mind. I will ask for less but eventually get so much more. This horse tries harder than any horse I know. The trainer I bought him from also said he was the 2nd hottest thoroughbred he's had in 30 years. He's his own horse.
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Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-13-2018 at 07:42 AM.
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post #5 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 10:06 AM
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Excited to hear about the adventures. I was wondering when youd be back on HF after the move. Best of wishes getting bot of you settled
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"Stay ON the horse IN the arena" -my trainer.
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post #6 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 10:40 AM
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Glad you're getting settled. The apartment is adorable. I'm jealous. What a great experience this will be for you. I also hope it will be a better barn situation for Wonder. Happy to see you started a new journal for this as well. Are you going to be looking for a working student position over there or will you be too busy with school?
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post #7 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 11:01 AM
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Happy to hear you're settling in well!! Definitely subbing!
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Hold on to what makes you happy! If it tries to buck you off, just hold on even tighter!
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post #8 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Lostastirrup- Thank you I am anxious to see Wonder again! I miss him SO SO SO much. I feel terrible that the separation is longer than I promised him. When I was in Denmark working for the former olympian, I left Wonder for 94 days and I felt terrible about that. He heard my voice and came galloping up to me and stuck his head in my arms. My trainer said he wasn't the same while I was gone. He missed me. I remember last time I was in Denmark wonder would watch me drive away in my car for one week because he was worried I wouldn't come back. He's at a good place with people who are hot horse people (they have racing arabians), so he's with like minded horses and that comforts him a lot. Plus they handle spirited well. I just miss him.
___________

Tina- Thank you. I really like it here, it feels like home. It's so quiet and peaceful. Far enough away from the city to be nice. I hate cities. They stress me out
___________

JoBlueQuarter- Thank you. I am glad too. My wrist is still broken but other than that things are going pretty well!
___________

Chances are I won't be taking a working student position for a while. I'd be interested in one over summer but definitely not possible during the school year. I'm worried about having enough time for Wonder and my studies. The curriculum at a Danish university is different than an American university but more comprehensive, so I hope I do well. Need to meet study partners to help me train my brain squirrels. My major is economics and business administration which can be pretty difficult. I love and hate statistics and I'm SO SO out of practice with mathematics I'm embarrassed.

While here I have adopted a cat I have named Alma. It is a Danish name meaning kind and nurturing as Alma was a mother cat. She is very very sweet and kind, she loves cuddling and attention. She doesn't come home until Friday as she is being spayed on Thursday, so she will not get to go outside for at least two weeks. She is a dilute calico and very sweet however there is sadness here too. Freja, the older cat that belongs to my landlords passed away last night I was really sad to hear it but she was quite old. Doesn't make it any less sad though. She was a really sweet, good cat. I eat with them sometimes. I'm the only tenant. I'm out in the country which is nice. I can't live in the city, it is too stressful and there are SO SO many rules regarding cars in Denmark. They are VERY VERY expensive. Same car in US is double the price in DK. And there are so many ways to get fines and tickets. I didn't set this strange clock thing on the dashboard in the city and I was charged a 590dk or $92 ticket for that!! Also was a few km over the speed limit and got a ticket. It's crazy! You get tickets for being 1km over! It's crazy! I have been SO SO careful, reading up on traffic, bike and pedestrian laws, etc because I'm scared to go into the city with a car They are real sticklers for traffic laws.

For the most part I think the Danes are MUCH more laid back than the Germans. From what I've experienced Danes are pretty common sense and very laid back. I get along with the Danes quite well, my family culture is very similar. They are much more friendly and helpful than Americans. Not to say every Dane is so polite but most are very polite. I haven't met many Danes I don't like or don't want to be friends with might be a problem as I'm terrible at keeping up with people and can't juggle too many friends at once. I'm easily overwhelmed.

I am hoping to have time and money for one or two lessons per week. Board is actually better here than in the US which is how I could justify shipping Wonder. The cost isn't so bad. It's not cheap but long term it'd be much more costly to keep him in the states. Plus I'd rather he were here with me and for us to go on adventures together. He's my heart horse, I've never been as attached to a horse as I am to Wonder.
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post #9 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 12:44 PM
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I always feel bad about similar things when I leave my pets at home in AK for a visit , they're so happy to see me and want everything to go back to normal. Ans they don't know when I get in the car that I'm disappearing for months.
Though they are well looked after and very loved by my family. My horse less so... He rather enjoys his easy life without me, he's a good doer but rather standoffish, would rather get fat and flirt with the broodmares.

A friend of mine has a dilute calico as well, her name is missy and has incredibly soft fur, we call her the floor whale, as she flops around and swims across the floor.

Alma also means "Soul" in spanish, I think it's a super beautiful name for a cat. Especially a sweet one. I'm a little jealous of you having a furry companion while in college, they are such a joy on rough study nights.


If you've got a chance (don't worry if you don't, I get it). I've put a schooling video of Nick on under "dressage" I'd love it if you glanced at it.


"Stay ON the horse IN the arena" -my trainer.
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post #10 of 201 Old 08-13-2018, 01:01 PM
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Glad to see you are starting a new journal. :) I hope the end of September comes fast so you can see Wonder & have him home.
The apartment looks so cute! :) Glad to see you are settling in nicely.

Excited to follow this new journey!!!

Ride more, worry less.
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