Canter & Candor

Canter and Candor; an honest account of an amateur equestrian and her life with an OTTB

What a Notion

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I’ve been waiting to write this post, mainly because I still haven’t quite grasped the notion that he’s actually mine now. I think something so long in coming just doesn’t feel real and I keep waiting for it to hit me– which I’m sure it will soon!

So, in the meantime, the basic facts and a little history:

Corinthian Notion “Cori” (referred to here as C because I’m lazy) is a coming 4-year-old OTTB gelding by Corinthian out of Vague Notion (Irish TB). He came off the track in March having raced, very poorly, three times. His race videos are hilarious. He was terrible at the job he was bred for, so my trainer picked him up to give him a new job. After a little downtime he started light work and had just started poles and the occasional crossrail when I moved back to town after my year abroad in Scotland.

A couple weeks later I told my trainer (T from here on out!) I might casually look into buying late in fall, looking around mainly and hopefully I’d find the right horse after I graduated. She mentioned Cori as well as a couple other young horses she had on site as possibilities– was I interested in taking the OTTB route?

napoleon yes

Ugh yes I didn’t have to physically tell her I wanted all her horses. All of them.

And a couple weeks after that, she threw me on Cori for the first time. He was a little noodly and required asking to turn well before the actual turn, but something I noticed immediately was that he loved this new job. He was responsive to changes in seat, and mostly to leg aids, and all the nervousness that comes along with riding your trainer’s young prospect sort of washed away when I realized everything was going fine. Actually, a little better than fine. We hopped over a couple crossrails, then a small vertical, all smoothly.

Bearing that in mind, T offered to let me take him to cross country schooling the following day in lieu of the more experienced horse I was intended to ride.

Having spent most of my more advanced riding years in the Hunter/Jumper discipline, I was pretty nervous about taking a green horse out schooling things I hadn’t seen in years. As the old adage goes, green + green = black and blue. And lo and behold, over the very first absolutely minuscule log (we’re talking… knee height probably) we crashed.

C: “Log?”

Me: “Yes, I think so.”

C: “You sure?”

Me: “Uhh.”

C: “Hello?”


The outcome was predictable. Baby horse didn’t coordinate legs, rider didn’t coordinate… anything, and down we went, me over his right shoulder and him down on his knees, practically draped over the log. To be fair, even on his knees he was taller at the belly than the jump, but I’ll still praise him for holding still while I got out of the way.

My primary thought was “Oh my god, I have broken my trainer’s horse” but with more choice words inserted. Somehow, I managed to keep my cool, and miraculously, Cori stayed calm (not bad for a baby off the track, eh?) and everyone was fine. The next jump we took was a log so low to the ground it could’ve been mistaken for a ground pole and that was much more our speed, since we were still figuring each other out.

The rest of the schooling was great. We did baby things with another girl in the group who has a young OTTB too, and discovered Cori’s adoration of water obstacles (and propensity to stop and drink mid-trot).We built back up to the Nemesis Log at the end. Still a little rocky (mostly on my end. Trauma, you know) but we actually jumped the thing! And then again, two weeks later, I took him schooling and we thoroughly conquered the Nemesis Log at the end of the schooling. Ahh, sweet victory.

nemesis log 2

Nemesis Log, tiny evildoer, has been vanquished

I’ll skip through the boring stuff and get to the point: C is a brave, smart horse who truly, honestly gives his all, and even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as I’d asked, he still tried. And that’s one of my favorite things about him: I feel like once he knows more, he’ll have my back every time, and does even now. He may passage over trot poles and pick up his right lead to the left and his left lead to the right, but he tries really, really hard.


First official ride on the babes.

So I plan on adorning him in hot pink as often as possible, surreptitiously cramming him full of carrots when T isn’t looking, and just plain ol’ enjoying him. He’s a great little guy and I can’t wait to see where things go from here!

I promise, my next post will have ride recaps. Likely tomorrow. I’m hoping to get myself on a regular posting schedule but between work and school and pony, time is a struggle (I’d better get used to it!)

— M



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