Past Horses: Kai

Since I used a picture of Kai on yesterday’s blog post I figured I should probably write a little bit about him. He was yet another horse that happened quite by chance. A friend of mine in California that I “met” via an online forum many years ago had a lovely young Oldenburg gelding by Ideal that was coming back from an injury. However, she was headed to law school and didn’t really have the time to rehab him and get him going again. Enter: me. At the time Sadie was 4 and I was really wanting something kinda “made” (or at least not bright green) to ride while she started learning the ropes. Plus I really was starting to have an itch to do the jumpers again, and Kai could potentially be a great way to scratch that itch. His owner was kind enough to trust me with Kai’s rehab (for which I will forever be flattered), so off he went from CA to TX for me to free lease.

I was super meticulous about his rehab schedule. I had a calendar and I had everything written out day by day with exact increments of walking, trotting, when it was ok to start adding circles, etc etc. I figured if someone was going to trust me with their horse, I damn well better do a good job and do it right. After a few months he was back to a mostly regular flatwork routine, although still a bit weak from his extended vacation.



We spent a few more months working on more intense flatwork, building his strength back up, etc. By mid summer he was ready to start jumping again. We started low and slow, and he came back very well with nary a hitch. Before his injury Kai had done a lot of dressage and a little eventing, but hadn’t really competed much. So while he had good basics and a sound foundation to build on, he didn’t have many show miles and still was young enough to where he needed all the finesse work that comes with moving a horse up the levels.



In October he went to his first show with me, an A show in Katy. It was a lot to ask of him. The jumps were bigger than he’d ever done before in competition, and it had been a couple years since he’d been to a show. But he stepped up and went around the .95m and 1m without any real hiccups. He leaped a mile over the top of everything (pretty sure I got jumped way loose about 15 times that week – there was much sticky spray happening by the end), but he was willing.





We went to a few more shows, moving up to the low Adult jumpers. Most times he was pretty solid, although we were riding more to get us both miles, not to win, so there weren’t a lot of ribbons. One particularly hilarious (and frustrating) show was Waco in January 2012. I don’t know what it was about that ring, but he was terrified of the jump crew (in the middle of the long side on one side of the ring) and the giant judge’s tower of doom (in the middle of the long side on the other side of the ring). So, basically all of our rounds looked like this:


He spent the whole week wheeling, spooking, and running sideways from the jump crew and the judges. Thanks Kai.

The thing about Kai is that he could be a real jerk. Every single time you got on him it was a fight to get him moving forward off your leg. A super work ethic, he did NOT possess, and he could be really stupid about the absolutely most inane things. But when it came down to the important things, like the jumps, he was always willing and able. I learned a lot on this horse.

1) How to correctly rehab a ligament injury. I was probably overly cautious to a completely obsessive level, but it worked.

2) Patience. That horse could really push my buttons sometimes with his attitude, but when it came down to a battle of wills I could always win if I just quietly but firmly waited him out. As someone who does not come by a plethora of patience naturally, this was important for me to learn.

3) Tenacity. If you had any “quit” in you, Kai could detect it. Therefore you better be darn sure about what you wanted and be prepared to work for it.

4) How to ride every stride. Kai was unforgiving in that if you made one mistake, he would pull a rail. It’s almost like he decided he was my own personal Mr Miyagi and eventually he could teach his puny human how to ride properly if he just kept “correcting” my mistakes by not giving me a clean round. On one hand – that’s annoying. No one rides THAT well. On the other hand – if I made a mistake I knew about it immediately. Dropped my hands a bit? Rail. Was a little too quick with my shoulders off the ground? Rail. Leaned a little to the side over the jump to make a turn? Rail. He was a crash course in small details and really made me much more aware of my body and how it affects the horse.

5) He re-ignited my love for the jumpers. Before him I hadn’t been in the jumper ring since 2002/2003. I had truly forgotten how much I really loved it. Getting to show and ride him reminded me of where my heart lies, and for that I am eternally grateful.

kaikaty1 KaiWaco3 kaikaty4 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

KaiWaco4 KaiWaco2 kaishannon




12 thoughts on “Past Horses: Kai

  1. He is so cute though, love that trot! And you look very cool and relaxed on him, even when he was being a goober with the crew. Also, 2nd to last picture, I love that bridle!


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