Just like that, a part of Posey’s life has already ended. In the blink of an eye, she’s turned six months old, attended her inspection, and been weaned. I’m unable to spare you guys from the cliches (sorry not sorry), but where has my baby gone?! While Joy’s still in the process of drying up, both girls have taken to their separation from each other well. Apple’s just excited to be living his best life doing his best imitation of a bear going into hibernation.
So, what happens next? Where do we go from here?
Well. Apple has been fully reappointed to his favorite position of “manny.” Extra hay, extra snuggles, and extra treats, but in return, he must be Posey’s primary teacher and best friend for the foreseeable future. I’ve really have not seen him this sound and healthy in two-three years. It’s wild to see him play with Posey like he’s still a wild green-broke bucking machine. Rearing, nipping, and generally being an obnoxious big brother, farts included! What a guy. For the foreseeable, being a manny is his full-time job. Let’s be honest, he’s paid his dues in spades. He’s 25 years old. The rest of his life should be about being happy, comfortably chubby, and well cared for.
Joy’s next year or so has been tentatively planned out. That includes a return to lessons with my trainer and returning to the show ring. That deserves its own post. More on that later!
What comes next for Princess P?
Simply put, a whole lot of nothing. The next 2 1/2 years of her life are blissfully unencumbered. They’ll be full of playing, hanging out with Apple, growing and developing naturally. She’s going to go through some awful gangly, unbalanced conformation. She’ll injure herself here and there. She’ll graze under endless Texas sunshine on lush pasture. She’ll roughhouse and play. She’ll be a horse and be happy.
There are a few things that she’ll learn. We’ll work on foundational basics. Continuing to work on hoof handling, moving to and from pressure, ponying, loading and unloading, tying, and all the necessary things that a young horse learns to become a “functional member of society.” Towards the end of her two-year-old year, we’ll begin to solidify real lunging practices instead of just moving off the lead rope. The beginning of her three-year-old year is when I’ll evaluate just how slowly to develop her. Traditionally, spring of the three-year-old year is when a young horse begins theirs under saddle education. This includes but is not limited to: lunging, introduction to tack like a bridle and saddle, and development of muscles that would be used under saddle. A lot of the time, backing a young horse becomes systematic and un-customizable. There’s no leniency. It’s like being in law school. You either make the cut, or you don’t. There’s no in between.
The great thing for her is that I’m a little hippy and believe in evaluation on a case by case basis because I have the time to do so. Joy began her primary education in spring of her three-year-old year, got backed the month she turned three with maybe six rides, then went out to pasture for summer to grow before returning to work in September. Posey might need a little longer. And the biggest thing to me is that I’m in no rush. Her longevity is essential to me.
Hopefully, we’ll work on Posey’s loading confidence, and we’ll attend some in hand shows! The USDF Breeder’s Southern Championship series takes place a few hour drive from us. It all depends on her own development, but one of the things I kicked myself over with Joy was not taking her off the property more as a youngster. We did one USDF Breeder’s show as a two-year-old, where she held her own as high point Trakehner both days, received scores of 70-72.5%, was reserve champion, and earned invitations to attend Breeder Finals. However, that one-time thing didn’t prepare her for her life as a competitive dressage horse. Smaller stalls, busy atmospheres, so many other horses, plus a little stress. Despite Posey’s old soul understanding of traveling that she demonstrated at her inspection, I want to prepare her for her future adequately.
Maybe we’ll go as a yearling, possibly as a two-year-old, and hopefully, as a three-year-old. One of those years, I would like to qualify for Finals and attend with her. All of this type of work will also help for her three-year-old Trakehner inspection, where, I won’t lie, I have high hopes. The most important thing about that is just basic handling, and having little goals to look forward to are great motivators to make sure everything is above board preparation-wise.
I’m sure there will be plenty of highs and lows between now and then. I’m not that naive. Until then, I’m just going to enjoy this little family of mine.