Twinkle, Twinkle you’re a star…

After decades of studying Europe’s breeding philosophies, America is holding her own in breeding quality, competition horses.   This is an accomplishment in a country where breeding restrictions are unheard of.  In the years to come, America will be producing horses with the athleticism and talent comparable to Edward Gal’s Moorlands Totilas or Anky’s Salinero.

Every year there are impressive ceremonies celebrating breathtaking freestyles and record-breaking Grand Prix rides from horses that are bred to be more expressive and athletic with each generation.  However, the only ceremony that has actually brought tears to my eyes was on a video I watched of Britain’s Horse of the Year Show.  This is an incredible horse show, where riding of all types, and horses and ponies of all breeds are revered.  I’m not sure what year this particular ceremony took place, but after all the prize givings for the top competitors were complete, two well turned-out older horses were led into the arena.

As the two noble horses paraded around the arena, adorned with roses around their necks, the announcer explained that these horses were there to represent all school horses, worldwide, that have selflessly taught the most accomplished competitors to the most passionate pleasure riders.  The two “representatives”  were then offered as many apples and carrots from huge silver bowls that they cared to eat.  Everyone in the coliseum was standing to applaud these generous horses that offer so much, to so many. 

I have been lucky to have known so many great horses in my life.  I will always be grateful to every horse that has taught me on my journey towards a career and life with horses.  But a special thank you is in order to the patient ponies and horses that carried me about while I tried to figure out this thing called riding.  Much love to you all…Fred, Twinkle, Piccolo, Sam, Bayboy, Young George, Cadbury, Ushi……(and all the rest!)

9 thoughts on “Twinkle, Twinkle you’re a star…

  1. Oh – I learned on a pony named Silver, who knew how to open the arena gate with his nose and take me, clinging desperately to his neck, straight back into his stall. Awaiting – who knew what? Because he always got a smack and taken straight back to the arena.

    Bless school horses, they are the most kind of animals. Even when they torture us, we are learning at their pleasure.

    1. That’s funny! My first pony ran away with me every day when she decided riding time was over but I didn’t want to complain and get her taken away so I had to figure out how to ride her!

  2. I think that England has a pony to suit every child’s needs! One barn had a very small white pony that would automatically stop if the child fell off! One of Twinkle’s barn mates knew only one gait–walk!

  3. Schooling ponies exposed

    Let me tell you something about schooling ponies. Sure, they are adorable when they sleep. I also get misty-eyed about all the schooling ponies on the days when nothing hurts. Needless to say, today is not that day and I think your blog needs just a touch of reality

    So what happens when new schooling pony arrives to the barn? Everyone is so excited and eager to see and ride new pony. Then the pony meets the natives (hard-core schooling ponies) and here is a conversation they all have.
    Local schoolmaster “So, what are you in for?”

    New pony: “I am here to be a lesson horse.”
    Schoolmaster: “And do you know how to be one?”

    Pony: “Well, yes. You walk, trot, canter, jump and halt on demand. Take care of your rider.”

    Schoolmaster: “Wrong answer! If you are nice what are they going to learn? You are not really schooling them, do ya? If you are a nice pony, they will sell you and you have to leave this barn. The schooling horse is supposed to teach all riders how to stay in the saddle at all cost. To do that you have to try hard to get them off your back and you have to get creative about it. Here we keep a tally of who dumped most riders on the ground. If the rider lands on her feet – it doesn’t count. The touchdown has to be complete. Every time you dump them – run to the barn so we could see your bare back and update your count. And above all, when you have a free minute practice your mooch look to avoid the consequences. Some riders that just been schooled are quite grumpy. Are you in or out?”

    New schooling pony always caves in. After just one night at the barn a sweet and adorable pony is delivering mighty throw downs to the unsuspecting riders like a professional sumo wrestler. When the rider is on the ground it’s very rare that you can see pony’s “oops” face. It is usually “There buddy, you got schooled! Can I have my carrots now?” face. You all have seen it. Don’t tell me you don’t remember it!

    Trust me, get your own horse as soon as you can. It’s so much easier to negotiate with one schooling horse than with the whole board of educators!

    It also helps to know horse lingo:
    Get away with anything – being able to run away with any rider regardless of their riding skill or discipline

    Get them off your back – perform a series of maneuvers to get the rider from point A to point B, where point A is always horse’s back and point B is always at least a foot below. The maneuvers can be rated from G to R depending on the rider’s level and a brand of a sticky spray they use.

    Schoolmaster – the horse that mastered the art of getting any rider off his back and can get away with anything. Usually is a graduate and too advanced and feared to school at the barn and can now school his own human.

  4. I have to say my lesson horses are my partners. Most of the time they know what I’m gonna say before I do! If a rider is in his mouth he gives me the look “if you don’t do something quick I’m gonna take matters in my own hoofs!” He will even give me the look twice before my student is on the ground! If you stay in tune with your partners your students have a better chance of staying on! Most naughty lesson ponies are giving us a warning first, we just have to listen!

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