I bought Thunder when he was 5, and he was an easy horse to deal with and was very lazy to ride. He remained easy until a change in circumstances meant moving yards. Out of my two horses I thought that this would affect Thunder less, how wrong I was.
Although I had only had Thunder 8 months, moving him unsettled him and his thuggish behaviour started. I found him difficult to get in from the field, difficult to leave the yard, difficult to load, and even more difficult to get ready for a show. Once it took my friend and I three hours to plait him up, missed two classes and had to go HC in a cob class to get him some ring time.
After battling months on the ground I made the decision to move back to my previous yard, where he was more settled. I could plait him up, turning out could still be exciting and sometime resulted in him running off as soon as he got through the gate, but it was the riding that proved the issue. We had daily battles of planting and rearing, spooking and not wanting to go forward at all. He seemed even lazier than before and he threatened to turn himself inside out at being made to go. I had already been buried in the school when getting on straight away one evening. I was told that they always whizzed him round on the lunge, 'just in case' he did anything, so that’s what I did for the first few months whilst getting to know him. I wondered if maybe he was slightly cold backed.
After spending months of struggling I took him to local professional show jumper Sam Ward for training. After a couple of sessions with him it was my turn to have a go, resulting in me jumping off, snapping my ankle! Thunder stayed with Sam while I was in plaster and came home a few months later. My confidence at this point was zero and being a very clever chap Thunder knew this. After about a month Thunder spooked whilst I was doing his rug up resulting in more broken bones and in plaster for another few weeks, confidence now minus zero.
On being able to return to the saddle, this horse knew who was the boss (not me). Riding him was a chore. I rode him because I had too not because I wanted too and he was lunged more than ridden just because I didn’t enjoy the rearing and running off. Sam would often come out and sit on him for me. Thunder would be an angel for a few weeks, then slowly revert back to his old ways.
I was recommended Hack Up Bespoke by a friend, and after being kicked in the leg again I thought it was time to try something else as all other calmers I’d used I had never noticed a difference.
After just days on his bespoke I was walking around our school after schooling and it suddenly dawned on me that we hadn't had our usual spooking at the jumps. Our first working hunter show came up, and we stood in the line-up, just stood, no fidgeting. After a month of being on his bespoke I was confident to turn him out myself and I was even finding myself getting straight on him from the stable, no lunging. Now, several months on after his bespoke Thunder can have 3-4 days off and I am more than happy to get straight on him. He is easier to handle turning out and getting in. He's even happy to leave the yard by himself and the rearing has almost stopped. If it wasn't for Hack Up Bespoke my horse would have been sold, instead we have had numerous top 3 placing as a ridden Hunter and a working hunter, even stood reserve champion. He has had to jump some big tracks and he has taken everything in his stride. I cannot recommend Hack Up enough!!!
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