Thunderbird

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Gender: Gelding

Year of Birth: 2010

Height: 15.1hh

Colour and Markings: Bright bay with a star and two socks

Breed: Friesian crossbreed

Thunder has been so much to me – first a dream, then a buddy, then a hack, then a schoolie, and finally, the best dressage horse in the yard.

Thun was a little dream come true. I was thirteen and knew nothing except that mommy horses could make baby horses, so poor old Skye was subjected to the affections of a partbred Friesian stallion and 365 unbearably long days later, Thunderbird was born.

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He was apparently born loving people. Although a little shy for a day or two, it didn’t take long before he was sleeping in my lap and giving his tiny, high whinnies when he saw me coming, even though his toothless little mouth couldn’t take any treats.

Weaning, halter training, lunging and gelding went past without incident; Thunder accepted everything I did to him as part of a game, from injections to walking over tarps to the saddle and bridle. I used to take him on walks like a giant hairy dog, sometimes not bothering with a lead rein.

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By the time he was two, we were thoroughly bored of groundwork, so I backed him. (See above re: knew nothing). The first time I sat on him, he turned his head to look at me in curiosity and then just stood there.

He was my hack/experiment for years, doing everything from chasing cows to Western to dressage to jumping. He even did a stint as a riding school pony and competed in equitation with yard rat K in 2017, but I finally saw the light and stole him back in the winter of 2017, whereupon he made his graded debut with 72.5% in a Preliminary test. His first competing season was successful at our local dressage series, and in November, God sent us the opportunity to train with a wonderful high-level coach. His training is now fairly serious, although always a dance of worship to the One Who created him this way.

Thunder is a sweet, willing, lovable, mildly spoiled horse who never, ever quits or refuses. He can be lazy, but never rebellious, and always tries his guts out even when he’s under fire. He has a heart as big as a mountain and I am beyond honoured to have him as my dance partner.

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2018 goals:

First and second quarter:

  • Improve all of our downward transitions.
  • Improve our stretchy trot.
  • Improve both lengthenings.
  • Improve the halts, specifically staying connected in halt and immobility.
  • Improve rein back.

Third and fourth quarter:

Introduce all of the Elementary movements:

  • serpentine four loops
  • halt immobility 5 seconds
  • canter circle with break of contact
  • half stretchy trot circle
  • canter-walk transition
  • transition from walk to counter canter on the long side
  • shoulder-in
  • medium trot
  • extended walk
  • serpentine 3 loops with counter canter
  • medium canter
  • leg-yield zigzag
  • turn on the haunches
  • 10m canter circle
  • half circle in counter canter
  • simple change on a short diagonal
  • simple change on the long side
  • E-X half circle, X simple change, X-B half circle
  • collected trot

General:

  • Keep working on quiet little hacks.