Sunday, August 26, 2007

What to do with Lena

We get this question a lot, along with suggestions, comments, and advice: "Why don't you train her to do [Fill-in-the-blank]?" Or, "She'd be a perfect [Fill-in-the-blank] horse!" Really, I don't think we want to do just one thing with her, but here's a bit more thought on where we are currently at with her and her training.

Lena was bred to be a cutting horse and is very cow-y. However, she's a little tall and leggy to be a cutting horse in real life. She also loves to run barrels and poles, and just plain run. (And run, and run, and run.)

She would probably be a great endurance horse, but I'm not sure any of us our are sturdy enough to be endurance horse riders. 25-50 miles seems like a really long time to be in a saddle and I worry about it being a hard discipline for her, too. I really want to keep her around, sound, and healthy for a long, long time. Katie was actually researching endurance racing, thinking she might be the one to ride Lena in them, but we'll see how far that goes when and if Katie starts putting in the time to train Lena the way she would need to be trained.

There is also the issue of going to the shows and hanging out all day. Maybe if we were all more social, it would be a different thing, but we aren't.

For now, I think the combination of arena work and trail riding will be a good balance. The arena work is good for discipline and just general strength and flexibility work. It's also good for the rider because there is a lot more balance and rider input needed than when we're all relaxing under the big open sky on a trail. But the trail helps her get more settled and calm, more able to accept and deal with new things and reminds the riders about why we are involved in this crazy hobby, anyway.

And of course finding new and interesting opportunities for her and for us to learn from and enjoy remains a top priority in our horse experience.

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