It's very difficult to trust others with your precious horsebeasts, and after being his sole rider for almost 10years, it was tough to adjust to not making every decision regarding his health and training. It was a little nerve wracking but after I adjusted, it was easier to watch from afar. That doesn't mean I still don't worry about him, but I had realized I could do all I could with him, as his talents outgrew my confidence.
Almost one year ago I sent him off to Kansas to be with a family I had known for years. They were serious competitors with the means to get Yankee to places he was capable of going. They had successfully competed and qualified for the AECs many years in a row and I had no qualms sending him to live with them. Their goals with him were to try and bring him to prelim and beyond & have him as a solid mid level, if not upper level competitor. I was confident Yankee was the horse to take them there.
Due to circumstances I'm choosing to keep off my blog (you may message me privately if you wish, and ask), the lease termed with them and my dearest friend Jackie, is taking over. There's no bad blood between anyone, things just didn't work out as planned.
Do they ever with horses though, really?
Jackie has appeared on my blog often, and actually half leased Yankee years ago. That's how we met, and the rest is history. Since then, she's probably ridden Yankee hundreds of times and competed him in a few shows herself. There's no I trust more in this world, with my own life, so Yankee in her care is of no worry to me. Originally, over a year ago,I had wanted her to lease him but a new job and a new location & gradnschool had prevented that from happening, so I am pretty happy my plans have come full circle. She plans to pick up literally where he was left off in August, competitively striving for Prelim and beyond. Left suddenly with the prospect of paying for board for two horses and no way to cover that expense, Jackie is not only a beautiful and talented saint, but a fucking lifesaver.
Although Jackie is relatively new to eventing, she is one of the most capable jumper riders I've ever met. She has more lady balls than I ever will have, and remains the only person to have jumped Yankee over 5ft.
My issues with eventing stem from jumping, and Yankee is the type of horse that absolutely cannot be dropped or not ridden towards a fence. He must know you're just as devoted to getting over as he is. I swear that boy knew the second I had doubts about a fence. Our struggles with XC was no ones fault but mine. I've literally closed my eyes coming up to a fence before and news flash, you need your eyes open to ride. I'm pretty sure this horse would jump anything under 3'3 with anyone at any skill level, but 3'6 and above, he needs to know you're with him and not just a passenger.
I am confident that with practice in dressage, Jackie will be that rider to pilot him through his first prelim and do it with more success than I ever would be able to.
I had bought Yankee with the mindset that he would be my first FEI level horse, but teenager me didn't realize the training it took to retrain an OTTB and the money it takes to compete. Monetarily it was never possible for me as a teen or even in college, and now he's creeping up there in age. At 14, now I would just be happy to see him do one 1* and then be able to truck my kids around novice competitions until he tells me it's time.
Until then though, and for an undetermined amount of time, BFF extraordinaire will be considered his sole caretaker, rider and leasee & I'm looking forward to their story unfolding. Stay tuned for a lot more coverage on this new-ish partnership as it unfolds!