|Eli's Coming BHF|
2013 Black Hanoverian Gelding
|Pedigree for the folks who are interested.|
I got to add him to the All Breed Pedigree website, and then went down the wormhole to add his mom to find the right lineage for him!
It took me about a week after Liam's death to start shopping again. I couldn't decide what I wanted, but I knew I wanted it to be fun right away... No 2 year olds, no promise of future fun. The next horse needed to be ready for fun now. They also needed to be safe and sound over talented.
|One heck of a horse shopping weekend. Leave Sat morning at 7:30am, come back home Sunday at 9:00pm.|
I found Eli on my 1200 mile sojourn to Canada and back to outside Philadelphia. The horse I saw in Canada was my favorite for the weekend based on the videos. I thought Eli might be too hot or have a buck in him and I wasn't fond of his advertised height (17h). After the Canada horse turned out to be not as I expected, I was pretty sad and didn't have high hopes for Eli. When we arrived and I walked in the barn and met Eli, I was like, "Oh hell no. This horse is massive and not for me. It's going to be like riding in the clouds. He's just too big."
|Uphill build, not an accurate representation of just how big this horse is. Seriously. He's wonderfully proportionate and is MASSIVE.|
And then I rode him. And I was in love. He doesn't ride like a big horse. He doesn't feel big and wide (because he isn't wide), he doesn't feel tall unless you look directly down at his shoulder, he turns like a normal sized horse instead of a tractor trailer. He's responsive. I felt like I was sitting around him instead of on him, and he's just plain comfortable to ride! He's also the perfect size for me. We look well matched.
|A bit down in the trot|
|Up in the walk-canter transitions!|
He does want to curl behind the vertical in the walk and trot, and he doesn't have much cycled power from back to front... which shows in that he wants to be down in the front. It doesn't seem like anyone has really asked him to pick his front end up and use his hind end. He's just been allowed to pull his weight down his front legs. Somewhere along the line, someone held/pulled him "in frame" so he got heavy in the bridle. They've been working him in a pelham since then to lighten him, but I think that has made the curling at the walk worse.
For the record, I rode the canter very poorly. It all kind of squirts out the front, he wants to be down in the head/neck/shoulder, he's unbalanced and big strided, and I'm rusty and out of shape. A perfect combination!
He has some good training and some stuff to fix, but the general base his breeder gave him is really good. He already knows how to go off the outside rein. He jumps, trail rides, goes XC, travels, loads, stands for the vet and farrier, is mostly polite (he's got a very itchy head that leads to rudeness), and LOVES face rubs and snuggles and hugs. If I was braver, I could have taken him straight to a show and he would have been very green, but well behaved.
|From Aug 13, the day he came home!|
Such a sweet, kind face.
His breeder is a lovely lady who tries her best to breed quality and good tempered Oldenburgs (GOV only) and Hanoverians, and then handles them from birth and gives them the biggest education she can. Eli has spent time with her under saddle, as well as with a hunter trainer and dressage trainer. She puts a bunch of different riders up on her horses so they get used to a variety of people riding them. He's been to Devon for the Young Hunter class (no place, but that's big show with lots to look at!), and he's been to hunter/jumper and dressage schooling shows, as well as schooling with Boyd Martin at Windurra. He jumps beautifully!
|I learned about hanoverian brands after he came home. The hanoverian H and 13 for the year he was born. I didn't expect his brand to be so visible.|
I had a rather extensive PPE done (26 x-rays) and he had acceptable confirmation faults and acceptable findings, so we moved forward with buying him! The vet that did his PPE called me after the physical and flexions, after each set of xrays (fronts from the fetlock down, neck, hocks), and after everything was done to chat. He said Eli won him over with his personality and unflappable demeanor, and he made a point to note that in the PPE notes. A massive thunderstorm rolled in while they were shooting his front hooves and the wind whipped through the little barn, the tin roof made a ton of noise, and he didn't even flinch. The vet didn't need to sedate him to take any of the xrays.
|I have my own Black Beauty!|
Or my own moose. Take your pick.
We're going to make some changes to his shoeing, based on the PPE vet notes, xrays (they showed the insides were still good!), and the look over he got from the farrier when he came home. There must have been some time period where his nutrition changed for the worse, because the bottom 4" of his hooves are rather fibrous and have some waves in the walls, where the top inch is pristine hoof. The fibers have made it almost impossible to keep nails in his front shoes, so we're most likely going to switch to glue ons until his good quality hoof wall grows down. The fronts also bulge near the bottom, indicating at some point his toes were allowed to become quite long. He has rather thin soles, so he's probably going to need pads, but we're not going to do that just yet. His frogs are massive, especially behind. It's to the point where the frog hits well before the hoof wall on his barefoot hind feet, to the point of bruising. Last Saturday he came in with a large piece of hoof wall partially broken off, so BO Farrier decided to trim his hind feet and start removing the flares. He took off some of the frog since it was taller than the hoof wall, and there were bruises underneath. The medial/lateral balance of each hoof is a little off (especially behind, where the lateral aspects are lower than the medial). He doesn't land heel first up front, so we're going to address his needs with some careful, frequent shoeing and a low sugar diet with as much biotin as I can stuff in him (40mg am and pm) to get that nasty bit of hoof to grow out as quickly as possible. I think making those changes will really help him with his front leg action below the knee so he's comfortable reaching forward through the whole leg, and it should give him a better hoof to sit on behind.
|He is the biggest horse on the farm now. And significantly bigger than this stall's past occupants.|
I know he's not the most gorgeous moving thing on the planet. His trot is weak but is the easiest gait to improve, and his canter and walk have a good footfall pattern to build on. What I really love is his brain and how he's constantly thinking about what I want, and checking in with me. He's on task and has been taught to learn. I don't think he's going to lose his shit and put me in the dirt (knock on all the wood, haha). He is not intimidating to sit on. To be honest, his gaits reminds me a little bit of an OTTB- short trot and unbalanced canter. It'll get better with training and time. He's put together decently, so we should be able to improve his gaits and add expression.
|Making new friends. He doesn't look big until you put him next to a 15.2h paint and 14h (ish) pony.|
I know he really needs to transition out of the pelham into some kind of snaffle to really teach him to go to the bit, but I'm just not there yet mentally or physically. I can only do about 10 min of walk and trot before my head waves the white flag. I'm not having the same vertigo issues as I was a week ago, but as I get warm exercising, my head starts to misinterpret what my eyes see and I'm not 100% on my balance game. I'm lunging him before riding even though he doesn't need it, because I can't risk falling off at the moment. If he were a big moving warmblood, I wouldn't be able to ride him at all. I'm keeping the pelham as a last resort e-brake if needed. He has great from the seat brakes, so I've been riding with generous loop in the curb rein.
|He knows how to use a run in! I shouldn't be excited about that, but I see so many geldings who just stand out in the weather when there's a run in available.|
Eli had a training ride with the local dressage trainer last Wednesday (the day after he came home). She had him going and reaching in no time, much better than any of the videos of me riding him. She'll be helping me out at home with him, especially as he settles into a new routine and as we get to know each other. She loved him and thought he was an excellent find. She rode him on a similar long rein with little curb contact, and stressed that whoever schools his canter for me needs to keep it just as big as it is now, with leg on, as they work on balancing him. She wants to encourage his inside hind to keep stepping forward, and shortening his stride won't do it. She did another training ride Monday this week when she hauled horses over to participate in a clinic at our barn.
|He's a character!|
I finally got to ride him myself last Saturday and Sunday! My head got worse last week so I went back to the doctor. She prescribed new meds for some newly popped up health issues, and my head cleared almost immediately. My rule is, if I can't drive myself the 45 min to the barn, I can't ride. I was able to do that after new meds, so I did! I tried him on July 28, hit myself upside the head July 30, and didn't ride again until August 17 when I rode him for the first time at home, so judge the videos below lightly. I'm mostly concerned about staying balanced and with him, and keeping him upright with the inside leg. Nothing else. I'm actually pretty happy to see him come above the bit and in front of the vertical since he wants to curl and be down.
In the videos below, I rode him after the clinic was done for the day Sunday, and everyone was sorting out dinner. The clinician was so kind! She hung out in the ring to see him go and did some hand holding with me for the 10 min I rode, even though she had taught all day and I wasn't on the lesson list. Hopefully I'll feel better by October and I'll be able to have a real lesson. He definitely plods like a lesson horse in the videos... but I rather like that right now. I need a bit of plodding at the moment, and I know he can be jazzed up too.
So there you have it!
I'm now hunting down new tack and equipment for my moose horse. I'd peg him at 1300# minimum, and probably 1400 to 1500 by the time he's done growing... because his breeder warned me that her babies usually grow until they're 8. I don't expect he'll get much taller (I think he'll be 17.1 or 17.2 when he's done), but he should widen a good bit. Luckily, my saddle fits him well enough with a wider tree, and should be perfect after the fitter comes out to adjust the flocking. I had to order a new bridle (flexible fit oversize in all pieces except the nose), a new girth (32", but I suspect a 30" would be ok), a new fly mask (oversize), new fly sheet (the one I want runs big and he should fit in an 81"), and I need to order all new blankets (87"). Ha. Hahahaha. He does fit in an 84" right now in the Smartpak Ultimate line, but if he grows much wider, he's going to need that 87... so I'm just going to cut to the chase and get the 87" so I'm not replacing blankets next year. Thank goodness I got the trailer I did! Saddle and trailer don't need to be replaced, just everything else!