Gentle Giants: Chase
A great horse… for the RIGHT RIDER.
Chase is an eight year old Percheron Cross Gelding, who stands at 16 hands. Chase came to us from New Holland, where he was purchased as a lead through. He was pretty, sound, and a nice mover; but without a rider up he didn’t attract much attention from the crowd. A cheap bid and he was coming home.
Chase is advertised as requiring an Advanced Rider. Chase has, at some point in his life, developed a significant fear of being mounted. He arrived to us this way. Chase has been through nearly six months of professional training, and the problem is much better, but it’s still an everyday issue. And it’s a significant issue. The rider must mount with Chase’s eye turned in to see the rider, as well as to force him to circle when mounted rather than bolt away, which would be Chase’s preference. The rider must mount in one smooth motion with no bounce, and they can not touch or hit him in the flank or rump, which will also result in sudden bolting. You can mount from either side from the ground or a block, but you must always use this method. You don’t have to be a perfect rider, but you must be calm and consistent, and be able to sit and relax and wait for him to come down on his own when he gets nervous. (And yes, before anyone asks, of course he has been thoroughly vet checked top to bottom and this is not physical in origin.) His ground manners are otherwise exceptional.
Once the rider is up, Chase rides well. In fact, Chase really enjoys working and likes to ride. He even likes to come in and work lunging. This horse is not lazy. He is currently learning bending and some lateral work, and he shows a real natural talent for Dressage. He always tries to please and he is a very quick learner. He trails ride nervously but OK. All of this is openly disclosed in his description. He’s a cute deep black with a fancy blaze….
….and he attracts all the wrong riders. Gentle Giants actually has a solid definition of the skill sets we believe determine the classification a rider should place themselves in. We have this on our application so interested parties can do a fair “self assessment” knowing what defines our parameters, and hopefully get a good idea of what we mean when we use the terms beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Our definition of an advanced rider is :”Comfortable and confident in all gaits over uneven ground and jumping 2 ft+ over uneven ground. Understands and can train subtleties of riding such as leg yield, side pass, head set, changing stride lengths, and canter leads. Able to handle severe behavior problems calmly, experience training problem horses or starting unbroken horses independently.”
We do this to protect ourselves. As an additional safety measure, we also require anyone who wants to test ride a green horse or a horse we classify as anything but “beginner” to take a test ride on one of our trusty dusty’s. Sound like overkill? Not from our end. We have had people who come out to ride “advanced” horses who actually claim to be trainers, yet they can’t tack a horse unassisted, can’t adjust stirrups, and flop all over a horse. One lady showed up decked out in custom made Italian tall boots and britches that combined likely cost more than my monthly mortgage, and I thought she actually might be the real deal. And then she proceeded to put the crown of the bridle over the horses ears and attempted to try to stretch the bit over the horses muzzle and into it’s mouth. Really.
So, when we say “advanced rider”… it’s because sometimes with an advanced horse, things like this happen:
Yeah. We aren’t being “meanies” and we’re not being “snobs” that say everyone should be a perfect rider. We want you to stay in one piece and have a horse you can safely enjoy. So, here is a truly great horse who possesses an incredible amount of natural talent and an awesome work ethic, and he’d be a gem FOR THE RIGHT RIDER. He could easily go mid-level dressage with the right person.
Note: You might not be the “right rider” if you just watched a video that involved a $75 plastic stick and now you think you can fix this better than we can. Just sayin’.