We have owned OTTB Bruno for over 18 months now. He came lame. He had surgery on his hoof to correct an infection in his coffin bone. He was stall bound for over five months. He has been lame off and on for over three years.
This last Christmas Lauren tried to start Bruno over fences. They had two weeks of intense instruction and came a long way to getting Bruno to learn and listen. He still had a long way to go. He is over 1500 pounds and 17.2 hands. He is strong and can be opinionated. Lauren was told by the trainer that Bruno would never be an easy ride.
Lauren also has a major project working; bringing along a Flagmount mare who is doing very well in the jumper ring. Getting time to consistently work Bruno was not easy to find. His on and off shoeing and lameness issues caused in part by the constant mud at our old place did not help.
My daughter Ally rode and went to school with friend Amelia back in Florida. We had lost track of Amelia in the 14 years we have been in Texas. Then Facebook to the rescue and Amelia is back in our life. I had a strong feeling about Bruno and Amelia. Amelia has an eventing background and knows all the tools to help Bruno. When we finally got to our new place, Amelia came and started her education of off the track Bruno as a show horse.
Right around the corner from us in our new place was an instructor, Nancy Lindsey, who had earned her place in the dressage world. I heard about her reputation from many of my friends. We had driven by and seen her place not even a quarter of mile away. I called to introduce myself and see if she might be available to help Bruno and Amelia. She said she wasn’t really taking new students but would consider it if the timing could be worked out.
Nancy Lindsey agreed to come to my arena to give Bruno his first dressage lesson. It was hot and humid, the kind of hot that just hangs in the air and you feel you can’t breathe through the heavy mist. Nancy pulled up in her truck and bounded from the seat. If you imagined what a seasoned Dressage instructor would look like, this was it! She was slim and strong in breeches and boots. She wore an old faded Rolex ball cap. Her face was tan and her smile engaging.
She headed over to the arena where Bruno and Amelia were warming up (a stupid term on a day like this). I bet seven year-old Bruno lost gallons in sweat. I told her Bruno’s story and they got to work. Nancy alternately rewarded and commanded Amelia and the big horse. I could not believe the giant horse could move like this! I have seen him constantly improve under Amelia’s guidance and was excited to see him do so much.
Here is a short video of their canter. Not perfect but coming along!
For all the months and years that we waited to see what this horse could do, it was a pretty exciting morning. Through the dense air emerged horse with a future, an off the track thoroughbred that had managed to make his way through injury and set-backs. I believe one day soon we are going to see the horse take on a competition and triumph.
Have a safe and happy fourth of July weekend. Thanks for riding along!
You can read all of Bruno’s stories and see pictures of hoof before and after surgery by searching the “A Bruno Story” category.