Eurodressage once again wrote a fascinating article, this time about Jazz offspring and their temperaments, (which you can read here) and it got me thinking about how much Vallu reminds me of these horses.
The most relevant quotes of the article for me are these three:
"Adelinde feels that none of them were in the least bit crazy, they just need to be understood. 'They are sensitive, quick and intelligent but always willing to learn. Just do not insult them'."
"Mary (Hanna) believes they need to be sensitively ridden to develop a great deal of trust in the rider and once they do this, they will always do their very best. "They will not tolerate rough or insensitive treatment but need to build a confidence and this can take time,"
"I think they all have strong herd protective instincts, so from there comes the looking (shying) or hearing (very noise sensitive) these are not horses that will be bullied but can be so rewarding when you make that partnership."
Vallu is definitely sensitive, quick and intelligent and very much willing to learn. And I don't think that he is crazy at all, even though I can understand how someone might call him that. I really hope that Vallu has developed a great deal of trust in me, and I do think that he has, it's just a matter of waiting and seeing how he will react to our big move.
It takes time to build a confidence and trust between a horse and a rider, but with horses like these such as Vallu, it takes a much longer time than I ever expected. Vallu won't tolerate rough or insensitive treatment at all, so bullying him won't work at all. I've seen a couple of other people ride him (before he was mine) and you could see immediately that Vallu refused to do anything that the person asked, and was at his most difficult. Only when you treat him with respect, does Vallu open up and try for you.
I agree with the third quote as well, it is very rewarding when you start feeling the beginnings of that relationship, a lesser reaction to something new and scary, the ability of the horse to relax when you are riding, first time cantering whilst hacking out etc. Over the last year, I feel like we've made great progress with Vallu. Looking back, he has transformed from a very spooky (everything is dangerous) to a much more relaxed, normal and sane horse. It's great to look back and know how far we have come, even though I know we still have a long way to go.
And last but not in anyway least...
"So perhaps it follows the old adage that with great talent comes great responsibility. Or is it that a horse's sensitivity in the saddle runs parallel with the sensitivity of his mind?"
A very sensitive horse to ride most likely will be very sensitive in his mind, which makes them a great challenge, and one that I want to finish with Vallu.