So as you may have read, Darielle and Dante celebrated their 2 year anniversary last week but did you know that me and Coco did too? (Although, we didn’t really celebrate as I had to get some wisdom teeth removed, hence the late post, so Coco ended up having a few well deserved days off!) Yes, me and Darielle both bought our delightful youngsters within a day of each other so between the two of us, the last 2 years has seen a ridiculous amount of ups and downs!
So where did me & Coco start…
When I decided that I was going to buy a young, inexperienced horse, I really didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself in for. I had ridden a number of green horses before
that needed some schooling, and horses who’s owners let them away with murder and needed to be taught some manners. But taking on a just broken 4 year old, who had only 6 weeks of work put into them is a completely different story. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for your first youngster, no matter how experienced you are.
My journey with Coco so far has been a very turbulent one. We had our issues at the start when my resolve was seriously tested and I wasn’t entirely sure I was cut out for this milark. Then we had a period of improvement until injury struck. After recovering from injury we soared. We became a team and just got better and better. That was until progress was inexplicably halted and we were back to square one. Coco started refusing to jump and began a bucking habit. Once again I questioned whether I even knew what I was doing and my confidence hit an all time low. There is nothing more soul destroying than feeling like you’re only going backwards. But with time and support from good friends and trainers, we slowly started to get back on track. We moved yards which was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for Coco. I loved my old yard but it just didn’t suit my highly strung mare. After this we started working on our trust issues and building our confidence in each other. We revisited old problem areas that I had been avoiding and we started going from strength to strength.
When you turn a corner…
This summer I finally started competing Coco. This was one of those goals that I was always striving towards but had never felt we were completely ready for. We had done small training shows and clear round jumping in places that Coco was more than used to but the idea of going out and competing somewhere completely brand new was something that terrified me. Fortunately though I needn’t have been worried. It turns out Coco absolutely loves getting out and about. Ever since we started regularly competing every other weekend she has been happier than ever.
Last Sunday we had our ultimate test – we had a competition at Coilóg Equestrian, a place where all of our confidence issues with jumping started during our very first schooling session there. We had been back once since then and while it went much better than the first time, it still wasn’t smooth sailing. So to come to this particular venue and jump a course of fences without any practice rounds was pretty terrifying. Yet again however, I had no need to worry as we jumped our best round ever. All of our hard work and
training kicked in and we flew around the course. We had one knock that was rider error but aside from that I actually could have cried with how proud I was of my Cocopops.
Jumping is the one area of horse riding that I absolutely love but is also where I lack the most confidence. So to take my 4 year old from an aggro hothead who would do anything to avoid jumping and turn her into a confident and happy jumper, that’s something that has made all of the hard times and battles worth it. It may be a small achievement to some but for me, its monumental.
So what’s next for me and Coco? I plan to finish out the year jumping our courses of 80s out competing, while at home I want to start pushing myself to jump a bit bigger. Main focus for the winter though will be improving both of our fitness so that we’ll hopefully be ready to get going with SJI in the new year!
I hope reading about my journey with Coco gives some of you who may just be starting your youngster journey some reassurance that there is actual light at the end of the tunnel. If you put the time, patience and work into your horse, there’s no way they won’t come out the other end the better for it. And what’s more, you’ll find you have a partner for life out of it too.
As always, thanks for reading,