Here comes a new blog post from me.
We are now in August and the competitions have had time to replace each other. My last starts were at Strömsholm with Sankt Erik II and Van Vivaldi. There they both went to St George and intermediate 1 where Valdi made his debut.
Both horses were so good and Valdi won the debut in int 1. But the most amazing thing about that start was the feeling he gave. Completely relaxed and so incredibly rideable. He who had previously been a little anxious on the track walked with such confidence.
foto: Sara Hellner
It made me reflect a little on this racing thing. Valdi has not made many starts either as a 6-year-old or a 7-year-old, even now as an 8-year-old, it has become quite sparing. However, he has had to cover a lot and was trained all the time so he was always in phase. When you have such a fantastically nice horse, it’s easy to get carried away and want to start all the different qualifiers and then ride finals in fun places, but it’s not always the case that it suits all horses. Above all, I think it is important to think long-term both physically and mentally. After all, we want the horses to last a long time and above all to want for a long time. And then it is important to take care of both the mental and the physical so that they have time to build themselves up properly. So when you do the competition planning, I think you should reflect a little on how much it actually will be and whether all your horses are really mature for it.
To return to Valdi, I feel that what he needs now is perhaps a little more starts in the body and in different environments. Now he has really landed, it feels like, and as a competition horse, I am convinced that he has exactly the right attitude. It was really a wow feeling on Sunday mostly because he was so incredibly focused and responsive.
Erik is always very “on” which is so wonderful. Sometimes, however, it is a bit too much power to keep order, but still in a very ambitious way. Just like Valdi, he needs to compete a little more this year, as he gets better and better the more he starts. He loves an audience, and when he gets on the court and feels that there is an audience, he grows and sometimes he forgets me a little so I have to remind him that it’s teamwork 😉
foto: Sara Hellner
I think it’s so much fun to follow the horses over time, to see if what you thought when they were young comes true, or if their weaknesses can be developed, if they simply become what you thought when they were small. An example of rideability that can go a long way is Magic. He has always been incredibly rideable. He has never had the flashiest gaits, but he has always been in all vintage championships, a lot for his rideability and of course he has nice gaits. But despite his not quite perfect exterior, he has had the ability to really angle his hind legs under him and that, combined with his rideability, proved to be good enough to become a GP horse. He is, on the other hand, a horse that had to compete a lot as his weakness was instead his nerves. But when he gets to start a lot, he becomes a completely different horse on the track.
Well actually, with this blog post I just wanted to remind you that all horses are individuals and all have different sides. I think it’s important to think about that when you do your competition planning, especially with the young horse but also the older one. What is right for one is not necessarily right for another.