The Education of Franklin

I’ve said something in a couple posts now: “Frankie is a different horse than we brought home.”

I’d like to talk about that a little.

Because in all the important ways, he is exactly what we brought home: a safe, sane, athletic partner to learn the ropes with in the jumper ring. That part hasn’t changed an inch- he packs around any ring, has zero spook in him, and happily jumps anything you point him at.

frankie_chip
5 minutes after meeting him, he let me bury him to this oxer without complaint. Saint Francis.

But we also bought an inexperienced horse. And that is a compliment, not a condemnation- he was brought along carefully and slowly and thoughtfully and never overfaced with something he couldn’t do. He had very good training on him, and his previous trainer even took him to a few events where he did wonderfully!

But he never had to pack an ammy around the jumper ring. He never had to deal with his rider alternately kicking and pulling to a 1m fence, crashing him into the standards, then asking him to try again immediately. Until he met me.

He’s had to handle being a newcomer to the jumper world while being piloted by another newcomer. Neither of us really knew what to do first when we heard the buzzer. I didn’t know how to ask for the close spot, and he didn’t know how to give it to me even if I did manage to ask. I was in “hang on and pray” mode, and he was in “try hard and hope this is the right answer” mode.

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At least we both have winning personalities

This is the part where I’m supposed to say how sorry I am for giving my horse bad rides and how I wish I could be better for him blah blah blah. And OBVIOUSLY I wish I was a better rider. That’s literally all I think about, have you ever read this blog?! But it is what it is. I take as good care of him as I possibly can, and work every day to take care of him a little better. We live and learn.

Emphasis on the learn, because I’m circling around to my point now (finally).

Frankie doesn’t count as an inexperienced horse anymore. We’ve done five shows together so far- four of which were multi-day shows- and he has completely transformed over these five shows.

He hears the buzzer, feels me shorten my reins, and starts asking if he can go yet MAHM IT’S TIME TO GO NOW.

He sees a crapton of poles and charges fearlessly ahead, making that combo his bi–maintaining his forward momentum without hesitation.

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Last jump in the triple combo, and he flies over it with room to spare!

I sit down and ask for some collection and he knows that doesn’t mean slow down. It means HOLD THE HECK UP FOR YOUR MOTHER TO SEE THE DAMN SPOT YOU WALNUT.

He uses his body over the jumps. Like, wow. Big change here.

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I will be sharing this picture every single chance I get so learn to love it

Yet he somehow still knows that Zoomin’ Time is over when I drop the reins, and happily jogs over to the in-gate while soaking up his pats and scratches.

He feels supremely confident on course. Ears up, hunting down the jumps, galloping out of the turns. No sucking back or lurching over fences- he powers across the ground.

He doesn’t check in with me constantly for instruction on what to do next. He doesn’t need to, because I am much more present up top. He also doesn’t need to because he already has a good idea of what’s next.

A couple humans deserve credit for a lot of this: my trainers have put so much time and effort into developing him, building fitness, and educating him to his job. They have progressed him immensely! And I won’t pretend false humility here- I’ve put in a lot of work myself. I’m a very different rider than I was a year ago. So Frankie has a team of people working hard to help him out.

But.

None of that would make such a wonderful impact on him if he didn’t want to do the job. Which he so clearly does. He’s one of the happiest horses I’ve ever met, day after day after day. He knows his job and he LOVES his job.

I used to describe Frankie as “a really good boy, super game for anything, we’re learning about the jumper ring.” Nowadays, I just call him my jumper.  No caveats needed.

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20 thoughts on “The Education of Franklin

  1. Lauren 05/09/2017 / 8:14 am

    I love this post! It’s so cool to see how they transform and you have put a lot of hard work into Frankie.

    Like

    • hellomylivia 05/09/2017 / 2:51 pm

      I love looking back to see how much he’s learned! Good boy Francis 🙂

      Like

  2. SprinklerBandits 05/09/2017 / 8:19 am

    He looks like a whole different horse now. You have a fantastic team and they’ve done a great job.

    Good insights.

    Like

  3. Allison Stitzinger 05/09/2017 / 8:49 am

    It is AMAZING how much his jumping style has improved over the past year! You and your team have done such wonderful work with that horse; what a joy to see him excelling at a job he really enjoys!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 05/09/2017 / 2:53 pm

      Biggest joy in the world!!! Seeing that happy expression in every picture makes me so incredibly happy ❤

      Like

  4. Tracy - Fly On Over 05/09/2017 / 11:12 am

    Ah, these are the posts we LIVE FOR 😀

    Like

  5. Stephen Carr 05/09/2017 / 7:13 pm

    The picture of two of you at Culpepper (sp?) is just spectacular. Are you actually smiling that high up in the air?

    Like

  6. Stacie Seidman 05/09/2017 / 10:17 pm

    I’m actually ugly jealous of you and Frankie. I miss having a reliable horse who has confidence in what he’s doing. But despite my envy, I’m so happy you found each other. You make the best team!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 05/10/2017 / 7:28 am

      I thank my lucky stars for him every single day! And just sayin’, Frankie loves meeting blog friends if you’re ever down in VA 😉

      Like

  7. Laura 05/10/2017 / 8:15 am

    Sounds like he is worth his weight in gold! 😉

    Like

  8. Jess 05/11/2017 / 8:06 am

    Loved reading this! He sounds like a perfect fit for you, and you’re both learning together. How exciting! #goals

    Like

    • hellomylivia 05/11/2017 / 10:40 am

      I’m glad you liked it!! I’m convinced he’s the most perfectest pony in the world, he’s got SO much to teach me ❤

      Like

  9. carey 05/11/2017 / 10:22 am

    I’m not sure if I love that last pic of Frankie yet. I think I need to see it a few dozen more times, please.

    Like

    • hellomylivia 05/11/2017 / 10:41 am

      Yeah for sure I think I should probably post it daily for a few months so we can all process and decide how we feel 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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