Horseracing Shadows Linger While Essential Quality Wins Belmont Stakes
News General Equestrian
Training has been progressing with my horse Rowdy, so here’s an introduction to my second guy. Bruce is a six-year-old appendix quarter horse. Not your average quarter horse though, Bruce has grown to be 18h and 1600lbs.
A Dream Horse I Didn’t Need
Bruce was an accidental purchase. I found him while looking for a trail horse for my mom. Every horse I showed her was “too small.” After posting an ISO Facebook ad, we went to look at him on a cold winter day. The woman was right, Bruce was not small. I used a wheelchair ramp just get my foot in the stirrup. After riding him, I heard words my mom has never said about a horse: “he’s too big.”
Despite obviously being way too big to trail ride, I couldn’t stop thinking about the gigantic grullo who had captured my heart. My former hunter-jumper heart would pitter patter thinking about his big flat kneed trot and how he’d look in an English saddle. After a few months, I could no longer deny I had to have him and brought him home.
Are We Feeding Him Too Much?
What I didn’t take into account is that he wasn’t done growing, not by a long shot. A year later Bruce has grown three inches and put on 300lbs. I’m not convinced he’s done though, as his hips are still a little higher than his withers.
Did I need an 18h baby horse? Nope. But now he was in my barn and looking for a job. Trail horse he is not. Despite being really quiet, he literally is too big. Riding last summer, I legit hit my forehead on a tree. Even ducking, there were several places we just didn’t fit.
I took some lessons last summer trying to find his niche. However, when winter hit, I let him have some time off to finish growing. Now with his new thicker body, Bruce has become quite fresh under saddle.
I spent a few weeks lunging him in a Pessoa trying to build some muscle. We also had to find a new saddle as his new shape was causing bridging and wither pressure. With a borrowed vintage English saddle, I took my first riding lesson of the year. Between trying to get my English legs back under me and Bruce finding out how to carry himself, we only walked and trotted.
As we trotted along, I can’t help but dream…