Ammy owner takes him home and the wheels start to fall off the training and especially on the ground. She struggled to find a barn that could handle him on the ground and struggled to find a trainer that she felt good about. He became extremely aggressive on the ground to the point she felt he needed to just have a reset. She sent him to a very capable friend who has skills in starting young horses and dealing with difficult horses.
I admit I wasn't really thinking oh I should be concerned. I did think sometimes horses just aren't a good match for a person. Then I spoke to the barn owner and she told me he was so dangerous on arrival she wouldn't go in the stall with him and she had also assumed it wasn't that bad. She said she had to catch him off her pony horse and that is how she got him for the field to the stall. Now over time he had his mental reset and became ok to handle again but she was adamant that I do NOT let my guard down and we take that seriously. She hadn't ridden him so didn't have much to offer.
So I get him in and start with a plan. Now obviously this horse came from good track connections. I really doubt this behavior started there. I was told he was always good to ride so there was that. He was an extremely brave and talented jumper. We started working him on the ground. He did show some moments of defiance or just mental checkout which we sort of have to figure out. Do we go soft and gentle or do we put our foot down about it? Knowing the aggression issues at first we let him do his thing but then we sort of began to think he knows what buttons to push and he is pushing them. We started to push him slowly out of his comfort zone. He was doing really well with his lunging in the ring. However, when we took him to the field to lunge he actually ran teeth bared feet flying at Amanda who thankfully scared him off. Okay, interesting. So being away from friends/barn/safe place made him worried which resulted in aggression. Noted!
I actually find some of these horses like him are just easier on their back. He was reported to be good to ride so we did a first ride. First rides are pretty darn scary because you have no clue what to expect. I didn't video much because he spent a lot of the time having meltdowns about going to the gate. Major meltdowns but also good moments. Mostly when going left and it was pretty much one of those things you aren't going to fix in that ride so we went back to the right and ended. We talked about softer bit, using a stick and getting a bit more firm to see how that worked. I sent his former owner the video and she said well I rode him with a loop in the rein and let him do whatever he wanted. Funny but also clearly why he is here right now. No judging as it takes a lot to say hey I was just not sure what to do and get help.
Ride two we started to the right and that went really well actually. We really focused on a little counter bend and getting him to let us put our leg on him. You need to be able to ride forward and put the leg on. He was more relaxed and allowing us to touch him with the leg and hand. Go to the left and boom he started up with the antics. It's tricky and quick to stick with this but also necessary to nip this as quickly as possible. I got some on video but probably put the video down to assist. Ground help is important. Just having someone on the ground to send the horse forward is critical to keep the spin and backwards movement from happening. She kept her leg on and just kept saying forward is the right answer. When he made a move to jump forward or canter she was like yes sir exactly right good boy... I was positive he had gotten away with this and watching his eye you can see he is really trying to find an out. This is just behavioral stuff. The typical stuff we see and honestly it can be fixed really easily and quickly with the right ride/rider. Most of this is fixed with just getting a horse forward and straight. We aren't really worried about his head just shoulders going straight. Can you ride them straight. If you can't go forward and straight then fix that first. I was really thrilled with the difference in ride 1 to ride 2.
I have zero doubts this horse is absolutely amazing and going to be a star but only in the right hands. I know I have said no to a lot of you already who have asked to buy him but I think horses like him are tricky. They don't just need professionals but more or less people who have experience with exactly a horse like him and a lot of pro's really don't. He is here because someone believed in our program enough to sell him to me knowing they could have gotten a lot more $$ elsewhere. I hope to chronicle his journey.