One of the most exciting occasions for any equestrian is the arrival of a new horse, whether it be yours or a good friend’s. Last Thursday, I had plenty to celebrate as Dorado’s massage therapist and my good friend Meghan picked up her very first horse, a big black and white gelding named Buddy. As I watched the ‘new mom’ lead her baby around the indoor at his new home for the first time, I though back to when Dorado arrived at his new home.
I have yet to meet a rider who hasn’t had to take some time off from training for some frivolous injury. Now I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have taken time off…I’m just saying the injury in itself was on the, “say what?!?!” end of the spectrum. Well, my ridiculous injury is here, and poor Dorado’s training has been put on hold…for the most part.
The United States Eventing Association does all they can to promote continuing education throughout their membership. One inexpensive, quick, and easy way to continue learning as much as possible is by reading every book that you can get your hands on. Managing and Conditioning the Event Horse, written by experienced eventer Elizabeth Grisell-Short, provides a fresh look and easy to read look at all things involved in keeping your eventer fit, healthy, and ready to compete at any level.
Despite having a few roller coaster works in the last week before the big event, Dorado’s first show went off without a hitch! I was beaming when we took our victory lap at the end – even though we were at the end of the line! – because he made it through the day in a great mental and physical state, and put his heart into it 100%.
Since returning from Rolex, El Dorado’s training has swung into full gear. With just over a week before his very first event, I’ve made my tentative plan for my last few works and so far, we’ve been sticking pretty close to the plan. I am getting more and more excited as every day goes by…I can’t wait for Dorado to make his competition debut!
Ever since I first met Dorado nearly two years ago, I’ve wanted to know about his past. He came with very little history from his owner when he was donated. All I knew about him was that he had been a racehorse for part of his life, and then spent about four years of his life munching happily on grass in a pasture.
The days are getting longer, the weather is getting better, and the eventing season is already in full swing in the southern states. Up here in Michigan, however, El Dorado and I still have a few months to get ready for our first event together.
I could try to convince you that I have the next Poggio in my barn. I could try to make you believe that I have the second coming of Courageous Comet in my midst. If I did that, however, I would be setting you up for a major let down. I will, however, tell you that I have just adopted an amazingly cool retired race horse and that I want to share his story with you.
Marty Whitehouse is one of the great rising stars in our sport, and not just because of her talent in the saddle. This 21-year-old from Nicholasville, Kentucky has an impressive resume with her horses, which includes many wins such as a blue ribbon at the Midsouth CCI* in 2007 and top placings at last year's Wellpride USEA American Eventing Championships with four different horses.
Tamra Smith, of Temecula, California, is prepping to make the big trek East for her first trip around the prestigious Rolex Kentucky CCI4* course with her seasoned partner Chaos Theory. Smith and the talented gelding are looking forward to the challenging course in Kentucky, and after a third place finish in the Advanced division at Twin Rivers (CA) last month, the pair seems more than ready for a successful event. Read more Smith, her horses, and some of her best competition experiences.