Going back to last year when I was horse shopping, i decided that I wanted a horse for Trails/Endurance, but also a horse that would be versatile enough to also do dressage and potentially eventing (Horse Trials). This is what led me to choosing Bentley out of a long list of wonderful horses.
Bentley is half Arabian, which is the dominant breed in endurance which checked the first box. His other half is Trakehner, for those who aren’t familiar, its a light breed of warmblood that excels in dressage and eventing. It is known to have a floating trot, which makes them very beautiful to watch, especially with the Arabian mix (in my opinion). The chiseled head helps too! I am not sure why, but Trakehners have always appealed to me, even as a kid when I remember going to the Royal with my Grandparents, seeing a chestnut Trakehner warming up before auction and thinking it was the perfect horse.
So naturally, Bentley was the perfect horse on paper, and when I met him, he became the perfect horse for me. Even though he had barely any human contact and was very nervous in our showing (flinching when pat), he just looked like he wanted to trust us and develop a partnership. His gaits were beautiful and natural from the hindquarters and his legs were solid and straight, back nice and short. Lee thought DJ and I were crazy for loving him because he was so nervous, but hey look at us now… not a problem at all!
Anyway, bottom line was I found my potentially versatile horse, now as I sit here looking at my calendar, I must make my plans for him this year.
I have submitted his registration to AHA and am waiting on that, hopefully I can get this in before ride season starts, I would like to add that to our entries!
For starters, we plan on going to all the OCTRA rides we can find a ride to. His birthday is July 19th, where he will be turning 4 and we can start riding in mileage, CTRs, and I think maybe set speeds? I will have to check this! Prior to this, I’m hoping to tag along with Linda to get him used to being at the ride sites. I will volunteer at these events so I can get all the experience I can before we hit the trails.
Now the other thing I am hoping to do is to try out the Canadian Young Event Horse series put on by the Ontario Horse Trials Association. This has us complete an introductory dressage test where overall impressions are more valuable than individual movements to be more forgiving on green horses. Maybe more forgiving on green eventers too? Then the horse is ridden in a short course style jumping test with green friendly jumps maxing out at 2’9″. Short course means it combines stadium jumps (rails can be knocked down) with cross country jumps such as logs, ditches, and other solid jumps. The jumping is scored based on their potential to be an eventing horse, not on time or faults, refusals for the most part are forgiven if the horse learns from its mistakes. After they have had a chance to rest from jumping, the horse is required to show their gallop under saddle. Then the horse is stripped of tack and show in hand for conformation. Lastly, tack is put back on and there is a class similar to hunter under saddle for suitability. Even if he isn’t good overall, I can see if he gets better scores in one area over another and see what might be the best path.
So combining this, OCTRA events, and maybe some GEC schooling shows, I should get a sampling of everything and be able to get the professional opinions on where he is best suited. Boy are we ever going to be busy! Since he has never jumped or galloped, I think we will likely make our debut later in the season, but it gives me some good goals to work towards.
I am doing one more month of lessons at Myrddin, and then I am planning on bringing Margie to GEC to coach me on Bentley. I am fortunate that she is both a top eventing coach, AND the only off site coach allowed at GEC. She has been coaching Linda for some time now and her lessons can be carried over to trails as well! I will ask her what she thinks of bringing him to these events too.
So a busy year ahead of us! Now for my sake, a calendar of what I am hoping to do this summer:
Goal by End: Walk and trot in outdoor ring
Goal by end: Jumping individual X’s and 18″ verticals from the trot inside. Balanced canter, correct half halts. Hacking at the walk. Canter in outdoor ring (weather permitting!) Do a 6 mile ride.
28-29 – Volunteer at Aprilfest
Goal by end: Canter single fences, 2′ -2’6″ from trot or canter. Walk trot on hacks. Complete CYEH Dressage test without too much difficulty and be relatively pleasing to watch. Load on trailer within 15 mins. Clean up some of the x-country jumps. Do an 8 mile ride.
12- Maybe go and watch CYEH tests at Glen Oro, Orillia
13- Maybe volunteer at Queens Bush Training Ride Chatsworth (but its Mothers day! Will have to see what plans are)
19-20 – Hopefully volunteer and trailer B to OCTRA spring ride in Millbrook
Goal by end: Complete a full course of 2′-2’9″ at trot or canter. WTC on hacks. Cross the river. Learn to braid mane nicely! Do a 10 mile ride. Hand gallop in outdoor ring. Safely tied on trailer.
10-Hopefully volunteer and trailer B to Stormont CTR in Finch, ON
16-17 – Hopefully volunteer and trailer B to Summer Solstice in Mansfield
23-24 – Maybe CYEH at horse trials at Woodwind Farm Orillia, maybe just watch!
30-Jul 1 – Hopefully volunteer and trailer B to Cayuse canter, Millbrook
Goal by End: Do 1 offsite rode (OCTRA or CYEH). Do a 15 mile ride. Jump a <2’9″ course with one line. Jump a ditch jump and a few small x-country jumps. Ride in snaffle.
4 – Maybe CYEH at Equus 3D
15 – Hopefully volunteer and trailer B to Flesherton CTR
21 – Schooling event for CYEH at Glen Oro
22 – Maybe CYEH at Equus 3D
Goal by End: Jump a full course entirely at canter. Jumps with “scary” filler or standards. Trot up hills. Able to syringe electrolytes.
8 – CYEH GlenArden farms in fergus
12 – Summers End Training Ride – 15 Mi SS Millbrook
19 – Seouls Corners Endurance – 12 mi SS
22 – CYEH at Equus 3D
25-26 – CYEH at Woodwind
Goal by end: Sane and happy hacks, Drinking at river, snacking en route.
1-14 – Horsey Holiday!
2 – Me volunteer at FEI endurance at Stormont
16 – Massie Autumn Colours – 12 mi SS
23 – CYEH at Glen Oro
29-30 – Oktoberfest in Mansfield – 12 mi SS
Goal by End: 20 Mi hack at walk trot. Tie for picnic! Find appropriate saddle.