Market Run AKA “Jones”
Disclaimer Real Quick!
If you have been reading these posts thus far I have mostly told you about horses I knew when I was a little kid. When I was a working student at an eventing barn for many years, I met many horses and had the opportunity to learn from them. Sometimes by riding, and sometimes just by watching and soaking it all in.
Anyway, I’m jumping forward a whole bunch of years today. I told you that I wanted you to know about the horses in my life. I never promised that they would be in chronological order. Whatever pops into my bruised brain is the one I write about. Today, it’s Jones!
All About Jones
Jones came to the barn I was working at for training and to be sold. He was a big bright red Chesnut gelding. He had a pretty white marking on his face and if I remember correctly, he may have even had some white on his legs. Don’t hold me to that.
Jones was a thoroughbred, and a young one when he came to the farm. He had never raced, though he was broke to ride already.
To look Jones in the eye he kind of had a hard expression to him. Not like mean or aggressive. I guess the only way I could describe it well was that he had a serious and intent look in his eye.
He was a big horse, probably 16.2 or so, not just tall. He was a big sturdily built thoroughbred. You could take one look at him and know how much power he had. He was a beast!
Being His Groom
Since I was the groom/working student. I got to know Jones because it was my responsibility to get him tacked up and out to the ring for the trainer to ride.
He was such a serious horse in the barn. Jones stood like a rock on the cross-ties and when you brushed him it was almost like he didn’t acknowledge that you were there. He wasn’t mean, he was just intent on whatever serious thing that he had going on in that head of his.
As I mentioned before Jones was a beast of a thoroughbred. He had the big high withers and strong hindquarters that said he would be an athlete. When my trainer first started riding him he was so big and powerful, it was like he didn’t know what to do with all of it. He would go around the arena in this huge trot full of suspension. It would look like he was a runaway train though and didn’t know what to do with it.
As time passed, he learned to carry himself in a frame. I thought he was beautiful before he carried himself properly. Once he knew to keep his haunches under and his front end light he was absolutely a sight to see.
He learned to jump fairly quickly. That was the process there train them correctly on the flat, get them reliable over fences, and then get them sold.
He was strong to the fences and jumped with a lot of scope. We all knew he would, just by taking one look at his conformation. Again, he was built to be an athlete.
I Sat On Him A Few Times
I did get to ride Jones a few times. On the flat, not over fences though! I wasn’t nearly qualified to try and jump a big strong horse like that at that point in my life. I enjoyed riding him on the flat. Riding Jones was one of the first times that I really felt what it meant when someone says riding from your leg to your hand.
When you put your leg on Jones, he engaged his hindquarters, pushed all that energy up through his back and stretched down into a frame. Riding him was the first time I felt what it really meant to have good weight in your hand.
I Could Never Get Close To Jones
It is probably for the best because I got way too attached to way too many horses that would just pass through my life briefly! I groomed all the horses in training before and after they were ridden. After they were clean, I tacked them up. I got to know their personalities as well as every little bump on their bodies. As weird as it sounds, I felt like I got close to these horses even though I just knew them briefly. It was like they came for training and progressed and learned and I was them along the way. If they had a bad ride with the trainer, they always had me to come back to. To me, they were all like Secretariat!
Jones was very aloof. It was like he thought he was too good for me. I felt like he stood on the cross ties and tuned me out while I tacked him up. He came back from his rides dripping in sweat and who do you think cooled him off? That’s right, it was me!
Jones was a big, beautiful athletic horse and it was almost like he knew it and thought he was above all of us humans. I know that is putting a lot of human emotions onto an animal. That is what it seemed like to me though, as weird as it may sound.
Jones Was Ready To Move On
I don’t remember how long it was before he went out and competed. He progressed quickly in his training and began his career as an event horse. Jones could always promise a good dressage score. Jumping he always got around. He didn’t look out of control. It just always like Jones was the one handling the situation.
He was successful in the shows he did. Then was advertised for sale, for a pretty penny too. Mr. Jones was not inexpensive. Rightly so with his talent!
When He Was Tried For Sale
Jones had the looks that everyone who had the money went for. A lot of people came and got on Jones. They would have already seen video or maybe watched someone ride him before they got on. He did not ride like he looked like he would. Don’t get me wrong he went beautifully for an experienced rider.
Some of the riders who came to try him were people that had the money but weren’t quite up to riding a horse like Jones. He was big and strong, had so much power. So many buttons to push (or to push wrong if you don’t know where they are).
Lesson #1 From Jones
The first thing I learned from my time with Jones was that it is possible for a horse to be too highly trained for it’s a rider. The more training a horse has you would think the easier it would be to ride. Well, this only goes for people who know what they are doing. For riders who aren’t as experienced just because Jones was talented and trained to a certain level didn’t mean they could ride him well. He was too much horse, and he had too many buttons. Buttons that amateur riders didn’t know how to handle.
Jones taught me that some horses are not amateur friendly. Not because they are bad, they just need an experienced rider to be able to channel all that power into something productive. Jones was a horse that needed a very experienced or professional rider.
I pride myself (always have) in being in tune with my horse’s personalities, getting to know them and view them all as individuals. To compare a variety of horses is like to compare apples to oranges. They are all so different in so many ways.
I tried so hard to connect with Jones. I gave him extra long showers. Snuck him extra treats and always hand grazed him at the events instead of making him stand up in the hot stuffy horse trailer.
No matter what I did, Jones was big, beautiful and gorgeous…but he had no interest in being friends with me. He was not mean, not even a little bit! He just had this confident way about him, he didn’t need a friend. I think this self-confidence is part of what made him such a brave athlete. He knew he could do it all on his own.
Unfortunately, many riders who come with lots of money are amateurs with big dreams. These are the kind of people who want their horse to wait at the fence for them, or to whinny at them when they see them coming. Jones could live up to the big dreams part, not the part where riders feel like they bond with their horses.
I Heard A Few Times That He Had A Crappy Personality
This was absolutely not the case. I spent more time with him than anyone else at that point. He didn’t have a crappy personality. He was just self-confident, a horse that knew his job and was ready to work.
Jones Did Get Sold (All Training Horses Do Eventually)
I don’t have any recollection of who bought Jones. Most of the people who came and tried him were way over horsed and under-skilled. They just thought his good looks could overcome those cold hard facts.
So many people still look for horses based on what they look like. Are they a certain color or do they have white legs and face? Will they get noticed on that horse. Instead of thinking about the skills that they need a horse to have to be able to ride him safely. Pretty, gorgeous even….and well trained, doesn’t always mean it is the perfect horse for you.
No matter how much money you have to spend you should make sure that the horses you are trying are within your skillset. Again, it is possible for a horse to be too well trained for the rider. They can be too big, too balanced, too powerful and have too many buttons for a less experienced horse person.
In the hands of the skilled rider that bought him, I’m sure that Jones went very far and didn’t disappoint. In the hands of an amateur, it would not have been a recipe for success.
Jones didn’t necessarily allow me to get close to him, he was too high and mighty for a lowly working student like myself at the time. Despite the fact that he wasn’t outgoing or overly friendly. Jones was always very respectful of me and despite the fact that he didn’t snuggle up with me and eat treats. He listened to me and I could tell he respected me. He was the first horse with this type of personality that I had ever been around. Sometimes it kind of hurt my feelings that he didn’t seem to care about me.
Other times, it blew me away how totally calm and self-confident he was. It is cool to meet horses that are self-confident like that and Jones was probably one of the first I had met at that point.
He Came To Mind Today, Who Knows Why?
I’m not sure exactly what made Jones come to mind when I sat down to type today. It was kind of random. I’m glad though, I hadn’t thought about him in a long time. He taught me so much about horses demeanor and mannerisms and how different they can be.
I loved Jones, all the horses I have known hold a special place for me. I have all the lessons they taught me filed away in this horsey brain of mine.
Many horses I met during my time as a working student I dreamed about owning. I was so enamored by them it would have just been the most amazing thing ever to actually own them.
Jones is not a horse I ever dreamed of owning. He always made it very clear from the first day of our relationship that he was way too good for a working student like me!