Tru Native is a SUPER TRUPER!

Hey Elizabeth!!

So much to report about Tru Native!!! This last month has had it’s up and downs with Truman. Now, we have made HUGE progress under saddle in just these last six days, in a row, mind you, which is a record!! It is really funny for me to learn about all of the “first’s” with a young, green horse.

One day, during my ride, my cell phone started going off. What was the problem, oh yeah, my young, green horse knows nothing about technology, HA-HA, my older “made” horse that I sold before Truman, would just stop politely and let me answer my phone. Well, Tru’s head went straight up sooooooo far and he started taking off. Of course, I couldn’t let go of even one of my reins to get my phone out of my pocket to shut the thing up, and it rang for about 30 – 40 seconds, which seemed like an eternity. I just went along for the ride, trying to circle, using the one-rein stop, and calm him down. After my phone ceased it’s ringing, he was huffing and puffing and couldn’t believe that noise came from me!!! After we finished (I had to calm myself as well), I put him away and I went into his stall and had a friend call my phone. I was holding it, and it rang. Well… he came right over to it and tried to eat it, couldn’t care less!! Wasn’t the least bit frightened of the noise. I am assuming his fear of it under saddle was because I was on his back and the noise was over his head. He freaked out wondering why I would be making that wierd noise! We have been working on this under saddle. He is getting better about my phone going off now but is not totally convinced that it is nothing to worry about yet. Anyone heard of VIBRATE mode, what a concept, duh!!!

Then, there are the sun spots in the arena, which he attempts to jump. So funny, but now he just plows through them. Oh yeah, he loves to do ground poles, the more the better. He even loves to jump cavelletti’s. I want to work on a bit of jumping along with the dressage. Three or four ground poles are excellent for getting a horses back up and good for their mind. Truman just loves all of that and I think he would love to jump. He doesn’t seem nervous to go over anything I lay down in the arena.

We have still had more stubborn, grouchy days than good in the first two months I have been riding him. His work attitude has been difficult to deal with under saddle. Lots of huffing and puffing, throwing his head in the air, running off, anything he could think of to get out of work. Even some bucks. I did start using a running martingale. I noticed that on your website, you use them on all of your horses you ride. So that has been a help with the head tossing. But, things are NOW sooooo much better and he is actually FUN to ride. Before, he was been putting in a bit of bucking and crow-hopping. So, I had a new chiropractor out hoping to get some answers to his grumpiness. He said his pole/neck were out, which led to his neck being a little crooked and the odd muscle bulgings, which was causing pain under saddle. Now, his neck issue might have been this way a very long time, we don’t know for sure. But to have developed odd muscling like that didn’t happen over-night. He also adjusted his right hip. The hip wasn’t bad, but if we don’t get the neck fixed, everything else will suffer. From the moment I started to ride Truman after he arrived from Ohio, he would huff and puff, and seem to be VERY stubborn and grouchy. He always seemed to get better by the end of the ride, so I assumed it was just his greeness, stiffness and lack of confidence at the start of the ride. So everyday, was to say the least, not fun under saddle. Now he is getting the proper adjustments he deserves! Hopefully over time this will relieve the pain and he will become the willing, agreeable guy under saddle I know he can be. The change in his attitude already is super.

This horse has the most powerful hind end I have ever seen. Everyone who meets Truman comments on his amazing, powerful hind quarters! Now, that he is getting the adjustments and building more confidence under saddle he is my Super “TRU”per. That is what I say, when we are cantering all around the arena, I say to him over and over, SUPER TRUPER!!!!!! He loves it. This horse is so powerful, that he can even canter right off from the WALK!!! All on his own, I just sit there and let him do it. He has the most lofty canter and seems to have great control over his hind-end to lengthen and shorten his stride or even slow it down and sit, all on his own accord. A dressage rider’s dream! HOLY COW, what I am seeing in the mirrors and feeling about that natural, uplifting, front legs off the ground canter gives me chills. Of course, when we gets to the corners, he is back on his forehand and downhill, which is to be expected. It is just so exciting to see the possibilities in that gait. After all of that cantering, we go down to trot, and that is when I see his true trot stride, relaxed, long and floaty. It does go away of course when he looses his rhythm and balance. But I am seeing glimpses of the things to come down the road as he learns his balance and develops strength and rhythm.

I was so discouraged these last few weeks, feeling he just hated to be ridden. I love him so much and I didn’t want to give up. I just wanted more than anything to just have ONE good ride without resistance. But now, he is a happy-camper and a super “Tru”per. He knows I am not going to push or hurt him. It just took many weeks for him to figure this out and now that his neck is getting adjusted, he is even better. He is a strong-willed horse though and I know the road ahead with him won’t always be smooth sailing. It is an AMAZING feeling inside of pride when you have been working sooooo hard and finally accomplish something. I know that Truman feels that excitement along with me. He is a different horse under saddle this last week and I know he feels proud of himself as I am of him! He is my best friend and we have developed such a deep respect and trust for one another!! That is part of why things are going better, it just took Tru awhile to feel comfortable. Now, I can start really teaching him about dressage since he is becoming a great student.

OH, one more thing, I found out he does have a horse-challenging side to him. He does not like Jack, a black Swedish horse my friend Lucinda owns. Jack is an alpha horse. So Truman gets all worked up when Jack is in the arena. At first, I thought he just wanted to be near him trying to get out of work again, using Jack as an excuse. But then the other day, when we passed left to left, Truman spun around, ears pinned and wanted to go at him!!!!! I realized then, that he is wanting to challenge Jack. Of course, Jack totally ignores this young fellow, and I think that made Truman even more frustrated. Oh Yes… I have had quite a few first’s myself these last few weeks. Never a dull moment, that is for sure. Attached are more pictures of my beautiful baby and me.

Hope all is well with you Elizabeth, and your wonderful Bits and Bytes Farm. I still get on the website often, it makes me feel connected to other’s who are on the same journey as me. Thank you for that!!!

Lauren Wittkop

We recommend all horses (not just ex-racers) get adjusted by a GOOD equine chiropractor. No horse will be able to perform well if his back or neck are out of alignment. Getting your horse adjusted and then doing the exercises to keep the muscle strong will help the horse hold the adjustment. If your horse is out of alignment he will buck and be reactive because he is trying to tell you that he HURTS. Listen to your horse and you will find that he will reward you by trying to please you. This is so typical of a Thoroughbred. – Elizabeth