I bought Ojalá (Vitalis—Fienna, Sir Sinclair) from her breeder, Belinda Nairn, as a foal. She grew up in a field, learned to stand on crossties, lead, have a bath, be civilized. At 3, she was backed. She learned to walk, trot and canter on the bit like a lady, work with other horses in the ring, and hack out by the time I picked her, now 4, up in April of this year. I rode her and found her delightful, and then handed the keys to my wonderful assistant trainer, Ali Redston, who has a much greater affinity for the youngsters than I do. They went on an off-property outing, which was uninteresting. They went to a recognized show, where they performed admirably in two Materiale classes, and behaved to perfection.
And then I gave “Lala” a month off.
Why? She was sound. She was working well. She approached each day cheerfully, with good manners both on the ground and under saddle. She’s barefoot behind, clean legged and has a strong topline. Why stop?
Well … because I could. Because there really isn’t anything else I particularly care about for her right now. Lala happens to also be truly every inch of 18 hands, but I’m truthfully not sure I would have done anything differently if she were 16 hands. I came back to this: At 4 years old, there’s really not much to win, but plenty to lose by doing too much.
Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!