Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Meet Marqui

 Things don't always turn out the way you expected.  I went to my foal meet and greet with my heart set on one filly and walked away with another filly clearly imprinted on my mind as the next partner for me.

Everyone, meet Marqui.

Quillane Marqui (Stonecroft Gold Medallion x Taraco Mourinho)

She had my attention from the very first pictures of her standing outside with her dam.

She's about 12 hours old in that picture but it definitely made me stop scrolling.  And she just kept showing up in pictures looking like a million bucks.  I was already waiting for a different foal from the same breeder but the breeder had a hunch and held on to her for me.  I went to see her yesterday and . . .

She is now four months old and loves to sit on her butt.  Three nice gaits, super pretty head, playful and very smart personality.  As the breeder said, 'competition mare mind'.  She definitely wasn't happy when people weren't watching her though she's going through a 'can't catch me' phase.  She oozes sport pony potential.  She leads and picks up her feet like a lady and her baby clip was done with her loose in her stall while she watched with a curious expression.  She's quite certain she's a princess already and her dam has the long suffering face of someone ready for weaning as her filly rears up and whacks her with her front feet.

Believe it or not, her dam is 20 years old.  She's Stonecroft Gold Medallion and her sire is Stonecroft Bold as Brass. She has performance points in western pleasure from her youth but these days she just makes beautiful babies.  She likes to test people to see if you mean it (she is definitely a cob) but also loves to snuggle and get skritches.

Stonecroft Gold Medallion (Thornbeck Golden Deilen x Stonecroft Bold as Brass)

The sire is Taraco Mourinho, an imported stallion with good results in the dressage ring and approved Westfalen pony book.  This means Marqui is eligible for German Riding Pony as well as the NEDA Breeders Futurity.  Word has it that he's doing PSG work now.  He had the top Westfalen KDR foal in 2021 for NA out of a WB mare.  I believe this is his first purebred Welsh Cob foal.  I didn't get to meet him since he lives in FL but his owner is also his rider and she loves him.  His nickname is NP for Naughty Pony so we are getting plenty of sass.

Taraco Mourinho (Danaway Flash Jack x Paith Magical Meredith x Thorneyside Flyer)

His inspection notes include always going uphill and cooperative in all gaits.  Plenty of videos with him taking his mom for trail rides and some pictures of him playing in the ocean from when he lived in Maine.  Like the many cobs we met while touring the breeder's facility, he seems a good guy that has a sense of humor with many strong opinions.  And fantastic feet.  OMG the feet on these cobs, every single one had great feet.  So good.

Marqui's Westfalen inspection is August 23rd so that will be interesting.  I'll probably take that day off from work to go spectate.  Fingers crossed the judges like her as much as me and Trainer Z.  From there it's just a matter of waiting and letting her grow up.  I'm very excited and more than a bit intimidated by taking on this project.  I'll have Trainer Z and the breeder along for the ride but it's still quite an adventure.  

Welcome to the family, Marqui.  You'll have big horse shoes to fill but I think you've got it covered.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

New normal

 Three rides in eight days?  Who am I?

He's super excited for more riding, you can tell

Last weekend I had my lesson and then, because it was a holiday weekend and I was on break from school, I snuck in an extra ride.  And then today I had my now regularly scheduled lesson.  It feels so good to have an official time slot on the calendar so I can pick up some momentum.

Theo is being a very good boy while his mom gets her groove back.  The first lessons were mostly about me figuring out how to ride again after a couple years and figuring out all the new buttons on Theo.  Learning the new buttons has really been the challenge.  The Theo I left off had very limited forward, you had to basically chase him up in front of your leg.  This new Theo has his own forward and you have to get back over his hind legs and let him do his thing.  I keep getting forward and chasing him off his rhythm which results in a slightly too fast, too downhill, too long Theo.  Fine at First, not going to work as we're working his canter half pass and his shoulder in.  

It's taking a lot of repetition with supervision to get used to the new ride.  Don't throw the kitchen sink at him, just send him forward.  If he breaks he gets in trouble but assume he's going to do the thing.  This gets me back so I can get his shoulders up instead of driving him down.  It also frees me up to do other things like setting his bend and freeing up the inside shoulder so he can move sideways.  

I have to take a lot of breaks.  Theo is going to Theo and he insists his rider do half the lifting.  Minor detail it's a thousand pound horse we're lifting.  He still expects you to do your half.  My abs start screaming once I get him up in front.  I'm sure his abs are feeling the same, to be fair, but it's not easy picking up 500 pounds of horse.  Trainer Z says she always rides him first so she's got the strength necessary.  It's no longer the Thigh Master, now it's Abs of Steel.

He's suddenly started going grey all across his face and it makes me sad

We also did sitting trot over trot poles while trying to not soften and let him get too long.  I'm going to need to go soak in the tub for a bit.  Since I only ride once a week I'm going to have to start doing some strength training at home.  Apparently Third Level Theo requires serious core strength.  But he's also a very, very fancy boy.

Third Level Theo at your service

One day, one day I will be strong enough to create that canter.  But for right now, I've got to do my core strength and keep building my confidence back up.  Today my response to a threatened spook was to correct it without changing gait and snark "I am still your mother".  No flash of anxiety or need to do anything about it, just correct and move on.  Theo believed me so I guess that's coming back as well.  It's a good thing, we're going to wake up the monster a bit before I get to play with his flying changes.