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Sorry in advance, there is a lot of horse lingo that I'm not sure everyone here will understand, but I want to tell you all about the other love of my life besides Oliver, Ben! Skip to the next post for pictures if you don't want to read a novel.

Ben Jammin', AKA Ben, Benjamin, Benjamuffin, Pudge, Mr. Ben, is my 22 year old Canadian Warmblood horse. I got him when I was 12 and he was 14, so it's been about 8 years now. Before I got Ben, I had a small Appendix mare named Paprika that I got for a dollar when I was 10 years old, who really showed me the ropes in the show world, but unfortunately I outgrew her - physically, and capability wise she couldn't teach me anymore.

Someone had approached my trainer about Ben, wondering if she had anyone interested in buying an upper level jumper. My trainer spoke with my aunt (who is the one who financially supports my riding, because I am a poor college student and riding is EXPENSIVE!) and I went out to try him. I had grown up riding thoroughbreds and morgan horses and Ben was the first Warmblood I ever rode. He was literally the opposite of Paprika so needless to say our test ride didn't go too well. I liked him, he just wasn't what I was used to. At some point in our ride we were approaching a jump and I let off my leg for half a second and he stopped dead and I almost broke my nose on his neck, lol. With Paprika, if I touched her with my leg she'd zip forward - keeping leg on her would have been a death wish.

Anyways, a few weeks passed and I kind of forgot about Ben. I had a lesson on Paprika one night. Her stall was in the back barn, and we had to pass through the main barn to get to the arena. My sister, who was 8 at the time, kept saying she thought Ben was in one of the stalls, but I blew her off. I had my lesson and was cleaning up, getting ready to leave, when finally my aunt and my trainer asked me to walk down the aisle and check that all the horses had water.

3 stalls in, there was Ben. He was a nervous (and he is still an anxious horse) and prancing around in his stall. 12 year old me flung the door open and latched myself onto his neck, which of course panicked my trainers because he was a strange, agitated horse that none of us knew well. Luckily, the attention made him take a deep breath. It was then that we discovered what a sweet, gentle, dog like horse he is. We had known he is a fancy mover, a scopey jumper, but we got really lucky that he turned out to be the goofiest, friendliest, kindest horse you could ever ask for. Perfect for a 12 year old kid to own and ride.

Ben took me from the 2' 6" jumpers to the 4' 6" jumps. The first time I jumped him around a real course out in the field, he jumped me so far out of the tack that I literally almost didn't land back in the saddle. He has such a powerful jump, even now in his old age. He's a spooky horse and I definitely had to learn how to ride a spook. I can't tell you how many times we were cantering one second and the next I was standing on the ground - he would spin out from underneath me so fast while spooking at something that one second he was under me, the next I was on the ground. I always landed on my feet, he was that fast. He once did that spinning spook thing while I was mounting him, I had one foot in the iron and he spun. I ended up directly underneath him, in between his front legs while a flock of sparrows (aka red-horse-eating monsters) flew all around us. I thought I was done for but he just stood there. He was terrified but he knew I was under him so he didn't budge an inch.

We showed the A circuit and spent weeks in California, Virginia, New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Vermont for shows every year. In 2012 we were at Saugerties in New York when I noticed he felt a little off in the warm up ring. My trainer couldn't see anything so I shrugged it off. We went into the ring and we didn't make it over the first jump - he refused 3 times, so unlike him. My trainer still didn't believe me that he was lame at this point. We spent the rest of those 2 weeks with me going into the ring and only making it around 2 out of 12 attempted courses. My trainer and aunt were very tough on me because they thought I was just whimping out and faking his lameness because I was scared or didn't want to ride. But when we got back home, we gave him 2 weeks off and then the vet came out and confirmed he had some 'abnormalities' in his sesamoid bone in his right hind.

Ever since then we took a big step back in our competitive career. I lost a lot of confidence after basically being told I'm a bad rider/athlete and being unable to get around a course in front of huge crowds, and I lost the essential trust I had with Ben because he was no longer willing to jump. I think he lost trust in me and confidence, too. After he recovered from that injury I made the decision that I didn't want to ride with that trainer any more and that I was going to just enjoy time with my horse. So now we do some low level cross country stuff a few times a year, but mostly I ride him at home and spend hours grazing/pampering him. I do want to get competitive again eventually, but with a different horse. I consider Ben semi retired at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Okay, now to the good stuff!

My mare Paprika


And the rest are Benjamin










And a mandatory Oliver picture. He loves the barn so much haha.
 

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Ben is fantastic! Beautifull horse

I also did jumping for some years (~10) back in the days. Also started with an older horse (a 13y.o 3/4 English Thoroughbred and 1/4 Lusitano) and... he trained me well.
Of course one day it was time to retire him. That´s the way it goes.
Just try to enjoy this new era with Ben the same way you enjoyed the jumping days
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ben is fantastic! Beautifull horse

I also did jumping for some years (~10) back in the days. Also started with an older horse (a 13y.o 3/4 English Thoroughbred and 1/4 Lusitano) and... he trained me well.
Of course one day it was time to retire him. That´s the way it goes.
Just try to enjoy this new era with Ben the same way you enjoyed the jumping days
Thanks! He's a handsome guy for sure. I'm definitely enjoying having a more relaxed relationship with him now and he'll be staying with me until we put him in the ground (which hopefully is still years away!), and once I finish college I'll be getting either a foal or a young horse to hopefully take me to the next level competitively, with a different coach.
 
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