A Year Since "The Fence"

One year ago, Bast careened through a fence in a wild panic. That's the day his life completely changed. I thought it would be fun to look back and see how far he has come from the nervous, ulcer-ridden pile of tension he was then.

Early last April I was starting to get moments with Bast where I could tell he was loosening up and learning to move more like a dressage horse than a race horse. However, his tension and ulcers made me question whether the next step he took would be sane or an explosion.
Moments of brilliance were there.
Walking out in the field or riding during turnout times was impossible. Any other horse on the property moving was an excuse for Bast to tune me out completely and zone in on the other horse. He was so insecure other horses moving around would completely unhinge him. Yet, the absence of horses would also put him on edge. He did not look to me as a partner or for support at all, most times he just wanted to be away from me.
Unfortunately for him, he was stuck with my ridiculousness and relentless annoyances.
Once Bast ran through the fence last year, I realized an important thing. His problems weren't normal and weren't training related. All of his "training" things were going well. When he wasn't panicked, he was coming along lovely. Unfortunately the panic and tension were completely overwhelming him. I needed to figure out a way to get through his head, and solve his issues.
Getting beat up by old cranky quarter horses was really helpful when it came to teaching him to deal with life.
As you guys know, I moved Bast to another farm where he could be stalled part of the time. He had his butt kicked by a big herd of old quarter horses, and the rest of his time he spent learning humans are the source of companionship, good advice, and really tasty foodstuffs. A low key summer of rehab (both physical and mental!) left him in a very positive place.

By the fall we were ready to leave the property and try showing off at schooling shows. Things went super. Bast was starting to look to me for confidence and reassurance. He still called for other horses, but was getting much better.
Looking (and mostly acting!) like a grown up at the big atmosphere of Loch Moy.
In January I felt it was time to move him back to the training barn, where we could buckle down and get back to sport horse life. I'm still floored by how well Bast made the move. While I'm sure the month of ulcer medication support helped, his mind has come so far from just a year ago. He's calmer, he's quieter, and he's more trusting.
He's also able to work alone in the field for the first time ever.
Bast's journey has taken longer than some OTTBs transitions, but I'm not upset about that time. He needed to heal both his mind and body to be ready for life as a sport horse. Giving him that time and support is paying off for me in big ways. He's beginning to offer me moments of exceptional work, which are completely exciting. More than that, he's becoming just the type of horse I love-- the "up-for-anything" companion. Pig taught me how much I love having a horse that can go from galloping in the field to half passing in the ring within moments. Bast is quickly becoming just that type of horse for me, and I'm so excited to see how the next year with him pans out!
Thanks for coming around this year, my man.


  1. I will never forget you sending that short video clip to me last year. I watched it more times than I can count, completely and utterly amazed/scared/baffled/frustrated for you.

  2. Omg I can't believe you got that on video! I am glad he was OK. I really think finding the right turnout group for a particular horse is underrated and not talked about enough. Having the right herd can be really amazing therapy for anxious horses. Combine that with a patient, understanding coach (you) and you have a recipe for success! So wonderful to see how far he has come in a year.

  3. Your work with him has been truly inspiring. I'm glad you got the chance to move him somewhere else and help him gain some confidence (with some grandpa QH's to help) and also had the chance to move him back to continue on the next step.

    I think of you guys often when I'm struggling, and not least of which (now that I know it all turned out okay) Bast t'rexing into that fence is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.

  4. so glad he is settling down. He is just a lovely horse and glad you got him instead of someone else that would not have taken the time. And that video still gives me chills a year later. UGH

  5. crazy what a transformation he's undergone this past year. he turned around way better than i expected haha, so major kudos for that!! he's going to be really cool <3

  6. I'm so impressed you stuck with him, and I'm so impressed with the change you brought out in him. I'm rooting for you guys so hard because I think he's one of the coolest dressage TBs out there!

  7. I love this post. I think you have been a great human for Bast. Your work has been inspiring. I'm coming to terms with the idea that a preconceived schedule for horse training is an exercise in futility.

  8. Love this :) You guys are a great team.

  9. I am so happy you stuck with him! After I saw that video I would not have blamed you one bit for sending him to a new zip code. I mean good grief horse.

  10. I'm glad he was able to turn around after the fence incident, I really questioned his sanity at that point.

  11. I love that photo of you two near the xc jumps! I'm so glad he's healed up wonderfully from that scary fence crash and that he's becoming a perfect horse for you <3

  12. I've loved following along, and this post makes me smile. You two are such a good team!


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