Part 2 – Dandy and Me
Things with Dandy started off amazing, almost like a dream. He was brave, bold, so sweet, and he could jump the moon. I thought for sure I had found the perfect horse. But that’s the thing with OTTBs, you just never know how they’re going to respond once the pressure is on. This blog has been following the journey Dandy and I have been but to recap the four years I owned him quickly:
The first time I rode Dandy, it was a bitterly cold Minnesota morning. We had so many problems with the company that was supposed to ship him out to Nevada that we finally decided we were just going to go visit him (it helps that my family lives in Minnesota so we made a trip of it). He was so fuzzy but despite the cold, and the lack of work, he was such a good boy. Both Eric and I were able to put him through his paces and we were also able to free jump him and ride him outside.
But eventually things worked out and Dandy arrived in Nevada. The adventures we had living in the Sierra Nevadas were just amazing. I got to do things with Dandy that I never thought I would experience on a horse. And Dandy was a superstar wherever I brought him. We trailed up and down mountains and he never hesitated to not only get into water, but to full out swim. I loved riding this horse.
That is, until I took him to his first show.
Dandy’s first hunter show (even though he got a 3rd place in his only class) was the first indication that I had that Dandy was not going to be a good amateur horse but I pressed on. It was his first show, I was not coming to it from a good place, he just needed more work and we needed a better trainer.
And we did find two wonderful trainers in Nevada, one for dressage and one for jumping. They both worked really hard with Dandy and I to help us create good moments. The dressage instructor took us to a show and proved to me that Dandy isn’t always crazy at shows while the jumping trainer helped us really start jumping again. There were moments thought that things were tough and Dandy was hard to ride, really hard. But mostly it looked like things were going right again. So it was with a heavy heart that the boy and I upended our lives and moved to the Pacific Northwest.
It turns out that moving to the Pacific Northwest and finding JLE was the best thing to happen to Dandy and the best thing to happen to me, but it wasn’t the best thing that happened for us as a pair. As talented as Dandy is, he is not going to be an amateur horse, ever. For two years, working with JLE I tried to turn him into something that he was never going to be.
In those two years, lots of things happened. My confidence was almost destroyed, but JLE was able to bring it back. I got to go XC schooling and watch Dandy go from a panic stricken green thoroughbred to a successful training level horse.
But some things are just not meant to be and I realized that I had to let go of the dream that was Dandy and I. He’s so talented, he deserves to have someone that’s going to take him all the way while I deserve a partner who wants to work with me.
I will always treasure my years as Dandy’s rider. And I am looking forward to the future, for both of us.