Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kai wins pony of the year

So something awesome has happened! My wild ponies are great, but someone has definitely one upped me, and I'm not the least bit upset by it.A Kaimanawa pony, has just won the prestigious Pony of the Year showjumping title.

story here
and here

This is the biggest title, a pony in this country can have!

I'm not sure exactly what the details of the pony are, if its part bred, or when it came out of the wild. But regardless, awesome achievement.

The girl is actually local to me,although i don't know her personally, living in the scheme of things just up the road. Her trainers, are sisters i grew up competing against, and are good old fashioned tough, kiwi girls, who have produced many ponies to the top level of showjumping. In fact one sister won the same title two years previously. Awesome girls, that i have a lot of respect for, the trainers, and full credit to the girl and her pony to.

It also goes to show something else, Kaimanawa's are incredibly versatile and more than just bush ponies, but also training is far more important than breeding and talent.

Most horses are far more talented than we realise, its usually only training, heart and dedication that separate the top echelon from the everyday achievers.

My first boss, always inspired me, these quirky looking horses would turn up at the stables, not only not looking anything special, but usually with some story of previous failures behind them, a few months later they would be bordering on advanced dressage training  and look like super stars. At the time his Grand Prix horse, was one he'd seen running a muck with another rider when he was judging a test... it won multiple national champions and Horse of the Year titles. Then he had another one that no one else could ride, pressure cooked with another rider and it went grand prix also, another one that had at one stage been a rescue horse and in the paddock looked like a white giraffe. The same man now has a Clydesdale competing at grand was never about the horse it was about the training you put in, i still have huge respect for this man, still train with him, and am eternally happy for the opportunity i got to learn from him.

These sisters that also live nearby me, they are well known for picking up horses people write off, and taking them to the top in the showjumping ring. Some of these wouldn't be any better or anymore tame than something that came off the ranges.

I have always had oddball horses, as a kid i never thought about it, i didn't know enough about horse breeds to know if they were supposed to be good or not. in fact one of the first ponies i trained was a 'wild one' a herd of welsh ponies had bred and run wild over a farm for over thirty years, i got the last filly before they were round up and sold off. this filly taught me alot. she was tiny 11-12hh so all her jumping i taught on a lunge line 'cos i was to big to ride her, thinking back she had every conformational flaw under the sun, i didn't know that, neither did she. over a couple months i just used to jump her/ and the Shetland pony, over everything i could find, and through every type of jumping exercise i could think of. Both these ponies ended up being able to soar over jumps that were a good few inches higher than themselves. They were n't miracle ponies, they just learnt to jump and i slowly over a long period of time made the jumps bigger and bigger, no one said they couldn't. i have never had the time since to put in the hours i did with these ponies, where literally every day after school i rush home and think of new creations and exercises for these ponies. My brother ended up riding the little 'wild one' who we named Missy Mischief and took her to a show where she won the high jump, and was the smallest horse there by a long shot.

Something that does bother me these days, is that there is hundreds of horses are bred, to create sport horses, amateurs are breeding more & more horses. Mean while, there are thousands of races horses, wild horses etc etc going to slaughter/waste because there is now nowhere for them. these are still good horses and good for about what 95% of riders want and can do, and they cost a fraction of the price. back in the day our entire Olympic teams used to come from the race track.  Its not the breeding that makes horses amazing its the person putting in the hours of training behind the scenes.

Go Tegan and her pony Watch Me Move,  proving that the wild horses are every bit as good as anything else and more! Awesome achievement!