A few years ago Gina Heinricks came to my barn and asked me to train her horse "Montego Bay Star". Montego was a youngish Arabian gelding who was well-started but that was all, no finishing. Gina thought she might like to do a little Western Pleasure and maybe some Hunter-under-saddle but the Class A Arabian circuit being what it is, you need a horse with particular talents and that special look. Montego did just fine but not well enough to be a real Regional contender. So what's next? Well, I decided to teach him Trail and Gina wholeheartedly agreed.
What's interesting about this is that Montego wasn't the most athletic horse so in the beginning, everything was hard for him and he wasn't sure about his new job. But Gina let me take him slowly which allowed him to gain confidence as he learned the necessary skills. Then a cool thing happened: Montego started to like Trail! This horse who was "kinda owly" and jumpy learned to focus There were no more "bears in the woods". The poles were "his poles" and he latched onto them like a cow horse latches onto cattle - in other words, Montego "owned" them. This is what I really like in a Trail horse.
Now I know I'm bragging but you should see this horse with trot-overs, lope-overs and walk-overs because he just doesn't hit them. He's happy and confident, showing lots of expression while working - and best of all, Gina is smiling.
Gina has shown Montego limitedly the last couple of years and though she doesn't go to many shows, she has managed to win her share of classes, win her share of Championships and gone Top 5 in Region V. And, in the process, beat some very nice horses - she's always a contender.
I'm proud of Gina and Montego and in the process of teaching them trail, I got a really wonderful friend. What could be better than that!? See you next week, JD