Please judge rider, horse is not mine.
Starlight is a 16hh, 2005, strawberry roan Quarter Horse. When I first got her, she had never jumped and had not had any training (she had a western saddle slapped on her a few times and was “cowboyed around”, but that’s it). She was taken to a stockyard, then to a sale barn, where she did not sell and ultimately came to the barn I was at as a camp horse. Nobody could ride her, and I needed a horse, so I bought her.
When I started riding her, she cantered like this:
And even though she had nice knees like this:
And sometimes did this:
She was finally able to canter a small course like this:
She went lame. After six months off, we started over.
We started off kind of like this:
But were soon able to do this:
Our show debuts weren’t great though:
But after lots of work on calming down:
We are able to do this: She can still be strong and spooky, but her flatwork has improved immensely – She can do shoulder-ins, haunches-ins, leg yields across the entire diagonal, counter-canter, flying changes, etc., when just six months ago she couldn’t even canter straight. She could only travel with a lateral gait and with her hind end swung to the inside. This has transferred to jumping and has led us to find both of our love of showing.
Just six months ago when she started back in work after over six months off, she had an extremely lateral canter, wasn’t able to stretch through her neck/back because she would fall on her forehand, and couldn’t hold herself up for more than a few strides. Now, with lots of hard work on my trainer and my part, along with the cooperation (usually!) of Starlight, she is able to stretch down, go in a higher frame, have normal steps, and round through her entire body at the walk, trot, and canter, in addition to being able to perform leg yields across the entire ring, shoulder-ins, haunches-ins, and more, in addition to flying changes (correctly from behind, might I add). Her back is long, and without muscle she is built downhill, but now she has built enough muscle to be level and have uphill movement. She has enough endurance to be able to stay in an uphill, balanced position for 3+ hours on rough terrain while foxhunting, too! She is still strong and can be resistant when she wants to, but overall, she is much improved. Her flatwork has improved her jumping immensely, helping her not only with her jump quality but with her way of going around a course – She is now able to go smoothly around a course, negotiate tight turns, and take nearly any distance and angle.
The video to go along with the picture: