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Baby Horse Diaries Introduction
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   12th May 2019   •   456 views   •   0 comments
Baby Horse Diaries

Some of you might remember that about 8 years ago I created a series on Ponybox documenting my progress in retraining a young Thoroughbred racehorse, Moonfire (Moo), for his eventing career. Those of you who continued to follow my (admittedly sporadic) work would know that, despite the flak I received initially for these articles, Moonfire turned out a thousand times better than I ever hoped he would. He was an incredibly successful all-rounder, and was well on his way to proving himself one of the very best eventers in the country when I lost him suddenly in February last year. It was a devastating loss, but that is a sad story already told, and this, I hope, is going to be a happy one.

Related: Moonfire - Retraining A Racehorse
Related: Moonfire - Among The Stars

Shortly before losing Moo, my incredible mother pulled out some money we had in savings from selling my old pony, and allowed me to put it to use selecting a young eventing prospect to bring on in the hopes that when Moo eventually retired, I would have another up-and-coming horse to pursue my career. Of course, that’s not at all how things worked out, but either way, I came to acquire my next young prospect:

De Niro – a South African Warmblood and my very first purpose-bred sport horse.

Baby Horse Diaries

Unfortunately, he came with a fairly severe breathing issue that required surgery to correct. The reality of this came to my attention shortly after our loss, and I knew with absolute clarity that if De Niro’s surgery was not a success, if something went wrong, and I had to let go of another horse and commit to starting over all over again right after losing my Moo, I just wouldn’t be able to bear it. It would have been the end of my career, and I wasn’t willing to risk that. I had to find a way to force myself to carry on no matter what. So I did what any professional would do, and found myself a second youngster to commit my time and attention to while De Niro was out of work, in the hopes that if all did not go to plan, I would already be stuck training a new youngster anyway. And if all did go to plan, I would have my little string of two young eventers to produce alongside each other.

Baby Horse Diaries

I made the decision like a professional, but let me just say with full disclosure that I dealt with it like the broken, grieving bundle of patheticness that I certainly was at the time. I told myself that I would never compare my new youngster – a 3 year old TB filly who I named ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ – to Moo, but boy did I lie.

I resented her for every way she wasn’t like Moo, and I resented her for every way she was.

I had days where I would get off her in tears, where I would try to send her back to the seller, where I’d wake up in the morning and stare at my boots for a full 20 minutes, asking myself ‘is it really worth it?’ and ‘can’t I just give up’? But I’ve always been terrible at quitting when it comes to horses, so I persevered, figured her out, and now with De Niro back from a successful surgery, I have two pretty nice (though not always easy) young horses, and a very long road to a hopefully bright future ahead of me.

This was not by any means the path that I chose, and believe me when I say that I would give anything in the world to have Moo and my career back, but training young horses has always been my passion, and although this isn’t what I planned, in a way I am happy to be back here, despite my immense disappointment at not being on the way to the top in a very successful career like I was with Moo. So, in the spirit of making the best damn lemonade in the world, I hope you’ll all join me one more time in my journey of training a young eventer (or in this case, two).

If there’s one thing Moo taught me, it’s a sense of humour, so if you enjoy a good laugh (especially at my expense) then you better watch this space for the start of a very exciting new series, my ‘Baby Horse Diaries’, documenting all the woes and sorrows of trying to train animals that are essentially stupid giant squirrels with ADHD and a caffeine problem.
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