Just call me Sherlock.
Because I am officially on the hunt for clues about Frankie’s past!
The problem: we bought Frankie through a sale barn, and they had only had him for about 4 weeks when we snatched him up. They had minimal info on his history- just enough to be able to tune him up and market him properly.
The solution: use every available resource to track down his past.
Progress: I found a sale ad for Frankie on VirginiaEquestrian.com from back in November and sent a note to the address in the ad. The gist of it:
“Hi I have your horse he’s doin’ great please tell me everything you know about him kthanksbye.”
And I actually got a fantastic response back! It turns out I had contacted his previous trainer (hereby referred to as PT), and she and his old owner had been wanting to track him down to check in on him. She was able to give me some great information, here’s what I learned:
- He was started late- he wasn’t saddle broke until 5 or 6
- When PT got him, she could tell he had a nice foundation over fences but did not know much dressage/flatwork, so they did a lot of schooling in that respect, but she noted he was “always so easy and brave to jump and could so easily jump the big fences.”
- They had bought him to use as a foxhunting horse, but after taking him out a couple times they realized he was NOT a fan of the hounds.
- When foxhunting didn’t work out, they took him to a horse trial and he had a blast. The owner wanted him to be happy but needed a foxhunter, so they put him up for sale. He had been in training with PT all of last year and only went to Phyllis in the winter because PT didn’t have a ring to keep him going in.
- Even though he wasn’t the foxhunter they were looking for, PT and his owner “both absolutely enjoyed him” and thought he was a really good guy
I’m so so so excited to start putting the pieces together! My ultimate goal is to hopefully track his history all the way back to his breeder so I can put together a fairly complete picture of his life up to this point. I’m hoping she’ll be able to send me further back up the chain and I can take it from there.
Thoughts on what I’ve found out so far:
He was broke so late! I think this is such a wonderful thing- he’s so tall with such long legs, he needed that time to mature and finish growing. Someone loved him enough to let him grow up and get strong before asking him to jump. And now we know the reason my vet was able to say he had never seen a 10yo with such good legs! This is also fantastic from a competition standpoint: so many show horses have to start slowing down in their early teens due to over-use, but Frankie has only been lightly used and has only jumped for a couple years. We should have many happy healthy years together doing the bigger jumps before we have to start stepping back.
I’m a little surprised that he was offended by the hounds when out hunting. He tends to LOVE other animals and isn’t overly concerned with chaos so I would’ve expected him to tolerate it fairly well. Though I do realize that foxhunting is a totally different animal.
It sounds like he really only has a solid year of intense flatwork schooling on him, which makes me love his brain even more. We’re not going to go win any dressage shows any time soon (especially with yours truly in the saddle), but he’s responsive, adjustable, and relaxed under saddle so I consider that a win. He’s had a series of trainers that have brought him along fantastically.
More updates as more information comes in! In the meantime, enjoy these two pics I tracked down of Francis going XC last year: