Teaching Diablo to Jump
I met Diablo when he was 6 months old. He had been started on leading, grooming, and had run around the round pen a time or two. Around the same time my horse Louie passed away.
I trained Diablo on the basic groundwork stuff, and always made sure he got that magic from all the horses I'd known before him. I would tell the horses that Louie taught me this so I could show you what it's like to be an amazing horse.
When he was about to turn 2 I broke him for his then owner to take him to the track. He was the first horse I broke. He went to the track training facility for around 6 months before he made it to the track. He was at the track and got timed as a 2 year old and was fast, but started having some issues with his hind end falling out. Around the same time his half brother had a surgery to cut the patella ligament to stop him from locking up. I was worried Diablo would have permanent damage from this and that he wouldn't have a chance to be the amazing horse I had set him up to be. I knew then that I wanted him to be my horse.
He took around a year off and I went back to school. Diablo seemed to have escaped peril and was just resting. Better him resting on someone elses budget than my own with school in full swing.
Then another horse I'd known needed help. Dodge had a terrible summer sore and was being neglected. His owners all though they could handle a mustang, but turned out that Dodge was suffering. I arranged to buy Dodge to take care of him, because for now Diablo was safe.
I found out a few months later that Diablo would be going back to the track to run as a 3 year old now that he had grown out of the hind end issues a bit. I was upset and told his owner I wanted to buy him. She said ok, but she wanted to try him at the track first. My worst fear was that he would become permanently damaged and that I would still love him enough to want to care for him, even if he were lame, for the rest of his life.
Diablo was running fast, 3f in 32 seconds. I would drive out to the track to watch his warm ups, and he really seemed happy. He always had his ears perked and was happy to go.
He ran a race on April 2018. He started fast but gave it away around the last turn. Part of me wanted him to win. Part of me wanted him to lose. When he lost I knew he could be mine!
I moved with Dodge in August, then a month later Diablos owner said I could have him. He got the OK from the vet and the same hauler who brought Dodge picked up Diablo and he was mine!
Diablo took some time off in pasture, until it got very very muddy. Something I wasn't used to. All the wet areas I've boarded have had tons of sand to keep the footing nice, but not this place! Just recently he came up a little lame, then worse and worse. I moved him from pasture to a proper barn. Abscesses came out of all 4 feet, then after 2 weeks of care he was sound once again. His feet still have damage from when I got him that is growing out, but hopefully it will be gone in a few more months.
Now we are back to riding. Diablo is turning 5 on the 21st of February. I want to start him in a more professional sense. He is a typical track built horse and looks like a real athlete. He is getting visits from the chiropractor as we start bringing him up to riding so that he can use his body well.
I'm planning to start Diablo jumping, and well, I've hopped him over some tiny verticals just for the fun of it and he was fine with it considering he had no preparation, I just wanted to see what his reaction would be.
The first steps for us will be walking, some trotting, shortening and lengthening, walking over poles, and working on turning the haunches and forehand. Might do a little trotting over poles as well. Planning this for a couple weeks.
Hopefully the next steps will be to work more on the trotting over poles, lengthening and shortening the trot, working on a quality canter, and trotting some small crossrails.
He has good transitions already, but after that might work on getting those really sharp. Will also need to work a lot A LOT on flexion. He is straight, only sorta bends, and has no round in him right now. I think the trotting over poles and the chiropractor will help that, which is why I'm waiting it out before I start refining circles and directional changes.
I think then I will start doing a combo of jumping little courses (3 jumps?) and working on the flying lead changes. His half brother gave it up pretty quick on the flying changes so I'm hopeful that Diablo has it down too.
After that it might be in the plans to have some students ride Diablo to help me afford this fantastic barn. He is a total babysitter, but also honest and if you are messing up he will tell you. Perfect combination to learn on, and for him to get some experience.
Well, that's the plan! Hopefully I'll be able to keep a little log going here of our progress each day. Today is going to be some walking before the chiro arrives, then probably just a rest day tomorrow too, then Thursday is his birthday! Maybe I'll get him out for a little ride then.