Growing up I have had a total of one horse who was push button. He told me what he needed to do and that is what we did. But I find that riding the tougher horses and creating your own horses helps further your ability as a trainer.
Surprise was my push button pony. And since then I don't even know if I have sat on a horse that I can just think do this and it happens. But I am not complaining about that in the slightest. The next horse after Surprise. A 12.3 welsh/tb cross bought to be a hunter pony. Anyone who knows her is probably laughing right now at the fact that we bought her to be a hunter pony. Two years of falling off of her and I finally figured it out. But we switched to the jumpers. Even at 11 years old I knew what was best for my horse. I am eternally grateful as I have grown up in a family that helps me learn from an early age what to do in situations like that.
I evented Joules until I was to tall for her and she was never push button. She is 16 and still lives with me. She did her fair share in my life. After Joules I rode my grandmothers thoroughbred Fly By. While Fly isn't push button and you do have to work to ride him he was still a great ride to have as I learned a lot in the 6 months that I ended up riding him.
After riding him I got the ride on my current mount, EZ. EZ was a special case. While I am riding a made horse, he is by far the least push button horse I have ever ridden. He has buttons but I have to ask precisely or I am totally wrong and he lets everyone know I screwed up. This ex 3* horse whom I aquired for free (It is possible!) has taught me so much! I have gone from being nervous about anything over 3'3 to confidently competing 3'11 eventing. We had a set back this past weekend but we are working over that now.When we had a stop on cross country, which is abnormal of him, my hand went up and we retired. I don't need to push him around a course. He has nothing left to prove to me or to anyone else. When he decides he wants to retire, he will retire happily on my place because without him and Joules, I would never be the rider I am today. He has taught me to be a better rider. Because I have grown up creating horses and riding tough horses, I have fantastic young horses to ride while I create them.
I got three OTTB's for my 16th birthday. All free. One older, one gorgeous chestnut filly, and a 4 yr old with a knee chip. I entered the Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover and was ready to sell two and take the filly. Sadly my filly passed away from colic at the end of January in 2016. At that point I hadn't realized that the older horse, Sven, was eligible. So I got to work with the 4 yr old who just was not mentally mature enough. So we sold him and he is happy with a lady doing lower level dressage.
Sven taught me so much and I like to think I taught him a good bit as well. He did like to remind me what the ground felt like. I guess I wasn't reminded enough... But through that all I stuck it out with him. I got to learn how to give a horse a solid flat foundation, learned to keep my body back going to a fence, and learn how to really begin restarting OTTB's. We made it to Kentucky and conquered the Makeover. We came back home and he never felt comfortable on a cross country course. So I made a tough decision to sell him to a jumper home where he would be more comfortable. Tough decisions, but what the horse wants is most important. He is happy, safe, with a good person, and enjoying life!
Now I have two young horses. I have a 3 yr old filly "Lady is Privat" who is by Concord Point out of Lady Madonna. Her pedigree is fabulous for sport and she has a phenomenal mind. While I am away in Pennsylvania she is getting ridden a few times a week by my mother, and she will gradually start working into eventing next year. Initially she was supposed to be the horse I took to the Makeover this year, until I bought First Around. First Around (Bruce) by Court Vision out of First Circle is a phenomenal 4 year old whom I bought a few months ago. I decided letting Wendy mature and waiting until next year is what was best for her to have her move far in life. In these few months I have realized the phenomenal brain this horse has. As I say I am to create my own horse for the top, just like Jennie Brannigan and Lainey Ashker, I feel like these two horses could be the key. They are not made horses right now that I can hop on and win. But in time I will work with them to the point where we can go and win. Bruce and I head to the RRP TB Makeover in just over 30 days. While we are not specifically focusing on having him ready for this specific show, it is more of a stepping stone into the future of this horse. Wendy will just be a horse for right now.
So while I may not be winning I will definitely be advocating my thoroughbreds! I will be creating my two young horses and bringing them to the best they can possibly be. It might be a few years, but one day these horses could be the next Anthony Patch, Donner, Captain Jack, or Blackfoot Mystery. All these fantastic thoroughbreds that I strive to be half as much as. Right now I am on a journey. I don't know where it will lead. But I know I am enjoying it and learning just as much as my horses.
I would love to have your help in this. At 17 years old I am really striving to show what great horses these make. I would love to have your vote for the 2017 TB Ambassador award! I will continue to work with these young horses and this is how I look to start my professional career. Restarting and retraining OTTB's. This is the start of a long, fun journey!