Thursday, June 08, 2006

Starring PJ's Folly

PJ's Folly In the Show Ring

PJ's Folly competing in FEI dressage. I believe this is a Prix St. Georges test.

Always a bit nervous in the show ring, PJ never did quite show his full talent to the judges. He had an amazing trot with a huge extension. Surprisingly, for a Thoroughbred, his canter was a bit flat and lacking rhythm. Still he did super changes and had a ground covering stride.

I purchased PJ when he was five as a replacement for another lovely young horse, Sudden Impulse (Idaboy) I had lost to colic surgery. PJ's temperament was touchy at first and he would even attack people in the stall. I soon realized it was likely he had had some bad handling on the track, so I simply ignored him and used considerable patience to convince him people were really OK.

At first, training PJ was a challenge. He'd be good one day and bad the next. Equine acupuncture was a brand new discovery at that time and I was lucky enough to have one of the first practitioners in our area. After his first treatment, PJ was a changed horse. Apparently, his body and muscles were so sore he just could not do the work I was asking. Regular acupuncture and later chiropractic treatments kept him content as we continued to train and compete.

PJ retired as a moderately successfull Intermediare I horse. We never quite mastered passage and piaffe under saddle, but in hand PJ would offer a really engaged piaffe. Had I been a better trainer, he may have gone to Grand Prix as he had lovely changes and a wonderful trot. Tension often blocked his extensions in the ring, but his extended trot on the trail was so big, every other horse we ever rode with had to gallop to keep up. His schooled canter was a bit flat, but when he galloped he had huge strides. It is a complete mystery to me that whoever trained him for the track had not discovered the power of his gaits.

Now, some unsoundness issues related to old track issues keep PJ mostly rettired in my back yard. We still take short trail rides now and again, enjoying the State Park behind my house and looking for mud puddles to play in. (Any ride in water with PJ can guarantee a soggy rider. My first horse, Russell R, taught PJ how to paw in the water and he hasn't forgotten a single stroke.)

Now a closet cuddler who still will act tough in the presence of witnesses, PJ loves "chinnies" when I just stand with him scratching his chin and lips. One of my friends who'd know PJ from when I first got him saw him after many years a month or so ago. She said she'd never seen him looking so happy.

What a great legacy for a special horse who deserves a happy home after so many years of trying to please.

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