It’s hard not to be awestruck by the athleticism of horses competing on the Grand Prix circuit. This is a fun video that shows a group of guys hamming it up to clear the height without the benefit of a horse beneath them.

To get a little personal for a moment, I did track and field in high school and know the challenges hurdles and high jumps can present. To watch these guys not only handle the strides between artfully, but also clear the height (almost flawlessly) with a forward leap vs. the popular flop we see today that involves a twist at the end of the run that shows your back to the bar for the jump is jaw-dropping. This kind of human training, conditioning and performance makes one wonder how great our horses could be with the right start in early years.

We’ll see if we did it right as our four-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse filly heads down to Kentucky next year to begin her jumping training and career. She showed the talent and attitude well before she was weaned.  We strived to direct her intensity and winning spirit rather than conquer it and this seems to be working. She was ready when we briefly started her under saddle (late in her three-year-old year), to enjoy the idea of a collaborative approach to training. In fact, she was begging for a job. This year, we’re planning on spending a good deal of time on the trails and the hills and maybe even take her to a few dressage shows to keep her interested and engaged (even as a yearling, she knew how to turn it on when the judge was watching). She’s a character and has certainly presented challenges with her smarts, athleticism and strong alpha tendencies, but she’s morphed into an eager learner that’s curious and kind about riding requests that are fair and consider her input. Remember the name Seamus’ Halcyon Clover. You never know.

Special thanks go out to Marya H. Zubaty at Stable Woman Gazette for spotlighting this video yesterday. It’s so much fun and irresistible, it seemed only right to share.

And if some kind soul can help me figure out how to embed this video into the blog so it shows up as a video image and click through by the end of the day tomorrow, I’d be happy to send you a free hot-off-the presses copy of “Turning Challenging Horses Into Willing Partners.”

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