Equine Affaire provides me the horses I need to ride in my clinics and in this case, I had a really interesting mount for myself.
His name was Chance, an 8 y/o QH and champion reining horse (sounds good so far, right?) up until last summer when he was diagnosed (through a MRI) with crippling Navicular Disease. After the owners spent more than $6,000 on diagnostic procedures, the recommendation was to euthanize the horse immediately—nothing could be done for him. But instead of following the vet’s advise, the owners gave the horse to Steve Karshner, http://www.navicular-founder-rehab.com/, a farrier specializing in founder and navicular rehab through natural hoof care. Chance’s death sentence was handed down in July and by September, after intensive treatments from Steve, the horse was serviceably sound and this is the horse I rode.
Apparently Steve did his job a little too well because Chance was not only sound, but totally full of himself, threatening to buck me off several times during the presentation. Without question, a horse sore in his front feet will not buck because then all his weight is on his front feet, so I know Chance was not hurting. Actually, he made the presentation a little more entertaining than I had planned with his antics. Believe me, it was quite a challenge to keep going with my talk while struggling to keep control of this horse. Steve and I figured out later that the horse was probably having flash backs to being shown, since the environment was much like a show with the announcer, grandstands and clapping crowds. No doubt his previous show experience was traumatic since he was probably hurting badly in his front feet for much of that time. So it’s no wonder he was acting out a little. Fortunately Chance settled down and in fact did not buck me off.
After a while I figured out that he only pitched his fits when headed toward the gate and as long as I kept him away from that end of the arena we did okay. But even though the crowd really got a kick out of it (they apparently thought it was a LOT funnier than I did), it did impact what I could do in my presentation, so I relieved Chance of his duties and got assigned a great little cutting mare to ride for the rest of the weekend.
Also on Thursday, I was asked to do a TV interview, which of course I was pleased to do. The camera guy and director set up in front of my booth, I was miked up and the news person was in position and we were rolling. “Hello, I’m Chatty Cathy with Channel XYZ, and here at Equine Affaire with me is the famous horse trainer, Julie McKnight.” Cut. Fortunately it was being taped and not a live feed. She said, “what’s wrong?” Now, we were standing right in front of my booth, which has 18” high letters saying my name; so I just turned around and pointed. It was pretty funny and the crowd that had gathered to watch got another good laugh at me that day. So for the rest of the weekend, everyone was calling me Julie McKnight, a famous McTrainer and teacher of McHorsemanship. Who knows, maybe this will start a whole new trend….