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Performance Feature *Hadban USA (cont’d)

He is truly a “Montana cowboy” whose favorite horse sport is rop- ing. When I first visited him last fall I was impressed with his skills and his approach, which is based on “respect and trust”. We took Hadban up to Dick’s facility in January 2010. Hadban was just turning 7 years old and was basi- cally totally unbroke. We had trained Hadban to free jump for his stallion inspection, but other- wise he was uneducated.

Our original plan was that Monique Vincent, who is one of the most accomplished riders of Shagyas in endurance in this country, was go- ing to ride Hadban in the rides, while Dick, who had never ridden in an endurance ride, would do the basic training. We were counting on Mo- nique to provide the endurance competition expertease, as my only experience in endurance rid- ing was that I had completed two 25 mile AERC rides way back in the early 1980’s “BS” (“Before Sha- gyas”)...However, Monique found herself unavoidably tied up this season with other obligations, so Dick (rather reluctantly!) agreed do the rides himself. Monique gave us lots of good information

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about endurance riding basics, like shoeing, feeding, electrolytes, etc., and we took it from there.

Dick Vrooman is a big, albeit fit, guy standing over 6 feet tall. And he rides in a 50 pound rop- ing saddle. So Hadban would be carrying about 250 lb. Hadban is a medium-sized Shagya stal-

head Indian Reservation. This may not be the way it’s done by endur- ance riders/trainers who know the nuances of conditioning, but that’s what we did! Dick also rode Hadban out with other horses and riders since his 27-year-old daugh- ter Fallon also starts horses under saddle, and many of Dick’s and Fallon’s clients come and ride with him when their horses are in training. After the first few days of train- ing, Dick commented to me, “His behavior is the best of any stallions over the age of three that I have worked with.”

Hadban having his pulse checked after trotting out

lion, standing 15.2, and prob- ably weighing in racing condition around 1100 pounds, but when Dick gets on him, Hadban looks small! (see accompanying photos).

Dick’s method of conditioning Hadban was to do what he does with all the horses he starts under saddle, to take long rides through the rough forested country where he lives, on the edge of the Flat-

Our first attempt at an endurance race with Hadban was in mid-July outside of Kalispell, Mon- tana, where “Hooves and Co.” horse club was con- ducting 35-and 50-mile competitions on both

Saturday and Sunday. The setting was a beautiful forested area on a large ranch which encompassed a number of old wilderness home- steads. We weren’t really sure how Hadban would react to camping out in the woods surrounded by around 60 other horses and their rigs, and we weren’t sure how best to set him up for the overnight there. We decided that perhaps Hadban would be the quietest if

NASS NEWS Summer 2010

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