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Against All Odds - The Story of Bronze - Part 7
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   21st Oct 2011   •   6,201 views   •   5 comments
Horse Story

It was toward the end of 2006 that Bronze started graded jumping. I managed to convince him that he could in fact keep more than one hoof off the ground at any one time, and he began to jump his fences properly, rather than stepping over them.

Unfortunately, with this improvement, a new problem arose.

Bronze, you see – the giant, stallion-crested beast that he was – was absolutely petrified of show jumps. The second a few poles were grouped together, or the spooky wings and fillers came into play, Bronze would slam on anchors. This behaviour, in later years, earned him the fond nickname "Chicken Horse" – because he was, in terms of modern slang, a complete and utter ‘chicken’. He was frightened of everything – though strangely enough, only when it suited him. Bronze was the sort of horse who - with his innocent expression, and adorably stupid-looking face – would secretly be scheming to figure out the easiest way to avoid hard work and go back to his paddocks.

Thus, when departing for an outride, he would leap ten feet in the air at the horror of seeing his own shadow, dive dramatically sideways away from a peaceful shadow, or – and this is my personal favourite – jump and snort in alarm at the absolute horror of catching a glimpse of his own front feet when he bent his head over too far.

That being said – when coming back from an outride, and heading back toward his home – Bronze was completely unflappable. A deer could burst out in front of him, and he would not bat an eyelid. He could trot over a snake in his path, and not even flinch. Even a noisy, hooting train rattling past him was nothing to fear, despite the fact that he had never seen one before. The strange behavior of Bronze’s lead us to one of many strange conclusions we made about this big horse:

"If the object is scary, Bronze will be fine. If the object is completely normal… Hold on tight."

Horse Story

This same attitude was taken into the jumping ring. The showjumping poles – although completely harmless and not the slightest bit intimidating to most horses – seemed to grow fangs and chant a savage war-cry the second Bronze entered the arena.

He would canter up to them, eyes a-boggle, then balk and stop – snorting in sheer relief that he had not been attacked by these dreadful, colourful objects. Oftentimes, after he’d had a good long look at the jump, and finally accepted that it would not bite – Bronze would consent to fling himself over it, forelegs often ending up tucked to the side of his head in his desperation to keep them far from the invisible fangs of the poles. This behaviour meant that, in most courses, Bronze would get only to the third, or perhaps the fourth jump – since he liked to stop and look at each one first.

As he progressed, I found that a harsh shout, and a flappy kick from my tiny legs could coax the big horse over a jump from a standstill even after stopping – so we began completing the courses, if not in very good style. Bronze struggled through 80cm graded jumping in this way, and by the end of 2006, he had progressed to 90cm.

I will always remember the day that Bronze got his first graded prize. On 9 December 2006, he and Polo were at a showjumping competition. Polo – who was jumping 1m - had misbehaved in her first class, and disappointingly lost what could otherwise have been a first place. I hadn’t the slightest hope of getting a prize on Bronze, and in my disappointment, I was even rather despondent about the prospect of jumping him. Still, I persevered – kicking and shouting him around the course as I always did.

And what do you know? Good ol’ Bronze actually came through – jumping clear to put himself in a jump-off. Now I was absolutely delighted, and though I still believed I had no hope of a prize, this was enough of an achievement for me.

But not for Bronze.

Once again, he exceeded my expectations – jumping clear in his jump-off, and achieving a well-deserved fifth place. When he came out of the arena after his lap of honour, Polo met him with the air of a teacher congratulating her student on a good report card. The pair touched noses – and then, in mareish jealousy, Polo decided that she wanted a rosette – so she nipped Bronze and sent him on his way.

Naturally, Polo won the next class. She was never the sort of horse who would allow herself to be showed up – especially by the likes of Bronze. In a way, I suppose I have him to thank for both prizes I won that day.
Madeirey  
I WANT TEH HORSEIE!!! Hahaha! Polo, you inspire me everyday to challange my abilities and to try new things! You have inspired me to try seirous show jumping so that's what I am doing! I'm dooing a little hunter show to see if Madeira will behave herself in show jumping then I will move on to the REAL stuff if she is good. Hahaha!
  Oct 22, 2011  •  5,164 views
 
Simplicity  
Your so lucky to have Bronze
  Oct 22, 2011  •  5,161 views
 
All That Jazz  
Bronze. Is. Gorgeous. :o
Love your articles!
  Oct 24, 2011  •  5,165 views
 
ImaCoolCowgirl  
Fabulous as always Polo dearest!!
  Oct 27, 2011  •  5,163 views
 
hylandrockxxx  
Bronze is lovely!!
  Nov 4, 2011  •  5,181 views
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