Sought: "Scrappy," ambitious younger rider w/o a "program" commitment in Ocala?
If you know Lauren Nethery, I'm looking for someone like her (she's in Aiken this season, alas) to ride an interesting project for me (and possibly see if they can get along with my young stallion--hence the need for "scrappy" as he can be difficult!).
But more important is this scopey mare I have who can't be slotted into a pro's program because she's got some unique traits (including being a large pony). One of those traits is physical and it might (not saying it WILL, but might) prevent her from being the top hunter pony she was bred to be: she may never be able to do a lead change. The reason is due to a conformation flaw (straight hocks), not unsoundness--but my goodness is she GAME (in a polite, gentle, bred-to-be-a-hunter kind of way).
I think she needs someone who is as brave and enthusiastic as she is--and I need someone like that, too, in order to "test" her to find out if I should make a commitment to her future in spite of her flaws. She has never seen a ditch, but she loves the run and jump, as far as I can tell (she has never been galloped under saddle either, though). She has a very soft mouth and a very soft topline; so soft that she can't be packaged with the hand--it's got to come off the leg or she'll curl behind the bit (her neck is super-duper long, which I think encourages her to react that way). She is an easy, easy school on the flat, provided you keep her going forward (if you don't, her whole topline kind of "sags" because when she's pokey, her hocks absorb way too much of what should be her hind end's pushing power--so you have to make sure she IS pushing, not sagging). I guess that means that I need someone sophisticated enough to know when a horse is really lifting its back and coming "through" from behind.
See my dilemma? I'm trying to find a rider in the Ocala area who can help me decide what to do with this mare while giving her the ride she needs to show what she CAN do. And I don't mind a pro, but I need a "customized" approach as she will not fit into a program (nor can I afford to spend the time seeing if she EVER will, alas, because I suspect she won't due to her defficiencies. Someone like Hilda Donohue would be excellent, for example, but she's too far away from me to use regularly.
This mare will be five and has been sitting around doing next to nothing, including very, very little jumping--not even on the longe line (but she goes right down to it, u/s or longed and really scopes up over 'em, too, when asked). So I'd also like to take her to various places and pop her over baby stuff to see what she is made of--I think she MIGHT be made of some useful stuff, but I just can't be sure, y'know what I mean?
Any recommendations (doesn't have to be an event rider either--hunter or jumper rider who also does the xc would suit, too)?
What about her hocks makes it impossible for her to do lead changes and how does this not affect her soundness if she's jumped or galloped?
It's the queerest thing, enjoytheride. It both horrifies and fascinates me. When she runs freely, she runs with her head way, way up that long, long neck of hers, totally hollowing out her topline...BUT those weird hocks of hers look like they themselves can't manage to "trail" behind her like you'd think they would, so instead it looks like her stifles do the trialing instead! It is truly bizzarre looking.
She is very active in the pasture, running and bucking around every day. But no matter how tight or gradual the turn, she never, ever, ever changes her lead--no matter what direction she goes in either. The only time she'll do so is if she does almost a sliding stop and turn, so her hind end has, like, SLID under her body and then, coming out of it, she'll push off the opposite hock (or whatever the maneuver entails).
I'm tempting to videotape it to see if anyone recognizes the issue. And yet, I'm not really all that concerned about it, except that she's such a typey hunter pony who would measure in soooo nicely and be soooo eyecatching in the ring (boo-hoo, y'know: that "why me" kind of regret for what might have been). I've planned to have her hacked up and down hills to build up her topline and those hocks and stifles, but the thing is, when I ground drive her, she can sit like a dog! It's NOT that she can't get her hind end under her. She is very, very easy to ride nicely round. She is easy to get her back up (transitions get her right where you want her to be--then you just have to keep your leg on her to keep her there).
Over time, with lots of canter work in correct carriage--and maybe by doing xc hacking AND jumping--things might change "back there" so she's strong and coordinated enough (and maybe habitual/muscle memory ready?) to get her changes (she would be no embarassment in the dressage arena--if I didn't point out her issue, you'd probably not notice it under saddle at all). Alas, however, I can't keep her forever. She needs to find a job and get good at whatever that job is going to be. But until I test her at this or that, I don't know what she'll do best--just that, in today's hunter market, sadly, it definitely AIN'T gonna be hunters. Even if she could get her changes, her rider would have to ride at least a little sophisticatedly to get them--and that's just not the sort of thing anyone wants to bother with these days...alas.