I thought after what we jumped xc schooling a couple weeks ago that Steady and I moving up in height in jumps might be my issue not his. Don't get me wrong I purposely started him slowly into jumping when training him and getting him fit. But he proved to me that height isn't even kind of an issue for him. So I decided in our ride yesterday to go ahead and grow a pair and raise the jump to 3 ft and see if my guess that height isn't an issue for the guy was right. And guess what? It was no big deal. It was just another jump. I know I could have easily moved it up to 3'3" and he would sail over it just the same. Then I got scared because people repeatedly tell me that Novice is in our near future and I ignore that comment right after I say, "ha, have you see those jumps?"
I think Steady is way more of a horse than I ever anticipated. And I have wondered what he could become if someone who really knew what they were doing had him. I by no means feel he is being cheated by being with me. Actually quite the contrary. With me he has a fantastic balance of pasture puff/trail king/eventing pony and what more could a horse ask for so I know the guy has it good. I guess I just imagine huge things for him if he was in more capable hands. I KNOW he has the heart and he is quickly proving he has the capability and the durability.
I do think though that most people would have passed Steady Smiler by with not even a second thought when horse shopping. I have read MANY a blog of those horse hunting. Most people are smart and wise and know what they do and don't want when it comes to what they are looking for. But really in the end do you have any better chance of a great outcome than someone who rescued a less than appealing horse/breed/age/conformation?
I guess I would have to answer that with a hesitant, yes? Just because of what I have seen and mostly because of what Steady has proven to me. How many people would have passed him by? I dare say alot! First he is an OTTB so that is one strike against him right? or is it. Then he actually raced. Strike 2. Then not only did he race but he raced for a looooong time. In training before two I am sure and on the track at 2 until 10. So nearly 9 years on the track. Strike 3 and 4. So that makes him an old guy. Maybe not necessarily in age but you would have to think physically old. Strike 5. Well for most on a horse hunt he would have been out 2 strikes ago.
So to those out searching for that perfect athletic specimen I am not advocating throwing your list of pre-requisites out the window. I am merely suggesting that sometimes going with your heart/gut might trump the list. Because sometimes behind that scraggly, skinny horse with an almost disconnected personality might have inside of them the heart of a champion that he wants more than anything to give to someone that he knows he can trust with it.