At the end of June 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took it upon myself to purchase a 9 yr old unbroke 14.1h pony. His previous owners had him since he was 6 months old – acquired from another lady who rescued a pregnant mare and didn’t know what to do with the foal. He sat fat and happy in a field for those 9 years, though he certainly was handled and loved on quite a lot. I have worked with trainers in the past as they’ve broken horses. I’ve never been the first one to sit on a horse though so I knew this might be an interesting experience. But….coronavirus was everywhere and we were quarantining, so what else was there to do besides learn how to break a pony.
For anyone who thinks like me and want to buy an unbroke pony themselves just know that typically the breaking process takes a lot longer with much more heartache and work then I went through. Somehow I lucked into finding the sweetest, easiest, most perfect pony in the world. The first week I focused on teaching him to lunge and longline in the round pen with tack. On day 7 though, I hopped on bareback and had a friend lead me around. It was zero drama. No issues. He happily walked quietly around.
Over the course of the next month I focused on him learning to walk and steer under saddle. You have to remember he had zero fitness and was absurdly obese. I was really concerned about his weight and pushing him too hard, which could cause injury. Under veterinarian advice I started him on a 30-day thyroid medicine, strict diet, and walking fitness plan with the goal for him to loose ~100 lbs before pushing him to trot or canter. In ended up being the best thing for him, because he learned to hack out bravely alone and in groups, trailer quietly (babysitting my hot OTTB), and cart around a junior (he was obviously meant to be a kid’s pony since the beginning).
With the 100 pounds gone it was smooth sailing with his training. I took him everywhere I could and he blossomed into a brave pony that could be ridden by anyone. The young girls at the barn absolutely adored him and wanted to ride him all the time. By the end of August (a short 2 months after he was initially broke), I took him to his first dressage show to do Intro test B and C. In September he went to his first full event at maiden level with a junior riding (her first event as well!). Finally in November, he went fox hunting.
As I think is pretty evident, selling him was never going to be an issue. I really wanted to ensure that he had the most perfect home with a family that was going to dote on him forever. I found just that and he is now a personal pony for a 9 year old girl. My time with Hamilton was short (4 months) but I will cherish the adventures forever. He gave me a lot of much needed confidence in myself as a trainer and reminded me just how fun horses can be.
I have also decided that with the selling of Hamilton, I am going to continue pursuing buying and training horses. This will always be a small scale operation (it’s just me by myself working an unrelated full-time job) but I know my specialty is in creating well-rounded horses with a dressage foundation. Please share and follow if you know someone looking for a horse!