February 17, 2014

E is for Elphaba

As a teacher and trainer I have the opportunity to sit on many different horses. Some are quick and some are slow, some are strong in the hand and some lazy to the leg, but they're all unique and special in their own way. The more horses I work with, the better I am becoming at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each individual horse. And then coming up with a plan for making that horse a better athlete.

One of the special horses that I've had the privilege of working with is named Elphaba, "Ella" for short. She is a 2009 KWPN mare (by Harmony's Wamberto out of a Rubinstein I mare) owned and bred by Christina Varrasso. I started working with Ella last August and have really enjoyed being a part of her development as a young horse. She was started by my friend Molly Xanthopoulos so it's fun to build on the training Molly did with her. I try not to get attached to horses that are not mine, but it's safe to say that I'm very attached to Ella. Over the past 6 months, I have felt her gain confidence in her work and physical maturity as well. It has been especially cool to feel her canter transform from being a bit awkward into something that gives me chills! In addition to riding Ella, I have been able to help coach Christina on her; giving her pointers about how I approach certain things and guidance about how to problem solve when things don't go as planned. It's exciting to be able to support Christina and Ella and play a role in their successful partnership together.

Here are some pictures from a recent training session with Ella. Thanks to my fiancé, Mark T. Donaldson, for the wonderful photographs.

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