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...participants comments...Stephany Seay...


At Adele's Shagyas in Moiese, Montana, we had nine horses to get ready for Inspection and only a few weeks in which to do it. Our biggest challenge was going to be getting three of the four stallions trained in free-jumping; something neither Adele nor I had ever done. Adele is the most competent horsewoman I have ever met, she is my mentor, and her Shagyas are the most magnificent creatures: with her boundless wisdom, patience and compassion, combined with the stallions' intelligence, ability and willingness, we were going to succeed and it was going to be terrific fun. We were so excited to do this!


Well, the *Hadban,


Revel (Onyx was stifle injury as a different


came to learn.


originally going person free-lunge often use when horses. But, the suggested


the horse up to the letting him go. it didn't quite


stallions, Nikolas, and


excused due to a foal) had a


perspective as we We were


to try the two- © Frankie Frazzini Stephany and *Hadban USA


method, which we working with the instead we went way of leading jump chute, and All I can say is, work out as we


expected. The stallions seemed to find humor in our attempts, and they made a game of it, trying to avoid the jump chute all together. One of the dangers we were concerned about, especially with the two 3- year old colts (Nikolas and Revel) was asking them to walk and trot the triangle in-hand, but then also asking them to trot in-hand up to the jump chute and letting them go. Revel especially took issue with this method, and decided that any time we trotted in hand, that must mean it was time to get free of the handler. Some training days were better than others, and we were certainly learning a lot, but we weren't getting the clean rounds we were looking for and each stallion was beginning to develop his own way of letting us know that he objected. These horses are smart, smarter than people to be sure, and they were trying to tell us that there was a better way. But, they didn't let us in on their secret. For me, Adele, and the stallions, it was an amazing learning and bonding experience but still, the week of the inspection was getting closer, and we were not getting closer to our goal. Plus, we still had to do some final triangle training with the four fillies and one gelding.


The sands of time were going fast and we came close to giving up on free-jumping. And in less than two days, Adele was going to have to fly east to judge other inspections, and the final touches were going to be up to me and Charlie. Was I feeling some pressure? Absolutely. We were at that pivotal moment, and finally Adele decided to go back Plan A, to the trusted method: free jump the stallions through the chute. But this time, we enlisted the help of Charlie. The third person gave us exactly what we - and the stallions - needed to succeed. By the end of the afternoon, all three of these amazing boys were free- jumping right through the chute. These stallions got the idea so well that we really didn't have to do much else but encourage them. And all Charlie had to do was literally point in the direction we wanted them to go, and the boys would go that way. It was awesome! You could see the moment of decision in their eyes, when they were ready to jump. When they went through the chute, they were so proud of themselves! Nikolas who had become a little hard to catch earlier in training, was prancing right up for praise and grain and to do it again. Revel sometimes tried to jump it both ways, like his sire Shagya Royal AF did in the 2003 inspection. Revel effortlessly jumped the chute, and he would approach us like a massive dream in motion,, his natural trot a passage; exactly the way every woman wants to be approached by a stallion! And *Hadban had finally decided free-jumping was pretty okay after all, his bold, determined strides sailing him through. These boys were dynamite!


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