I have to be honest, Boris is testing my resolve. If you’ve followed us for a while, you’d know of Boris. I purchased his mum from the sale yards, and he was born a few months later. Boris is a relatively laid-back fellow, who generally takes everything in his stride. He took to draught work quite easily and has been mostly compliant. Other than floating.
He has floated, and when he does, he travels beautifully, however, it’s like it just dawned on him, that he is too big to go in the float (he technically isn’t, but it is a bit squishy). He went to see a trainer about their floating thing, which resulted in the same thought process as I had, he just needs a bigger float.
This I can handle, and the saving and the search for a bigger float has commenced, however in the meantime the plan has been to continue the education at home and get some miles on him.
Easier said than done. Boris was too big for my training cart. Just too wide for the shafts, resulting in them being uncomfortable when he turns. We’ve made him a bigger training cart, and had some good drives, where we are chipping away at comfort zones.. then he got fatter, so now he’s grown out of his harness.
This caused him a few discomfort issues, meaning a less than pleasant training session, making me question my decision to continue with him. Now, I understand this seems rather rash, but if you have read my other blogs you will know that so much of my job is a confidence thing. For the work we do, I need horses that are compliant and non-questioning. My confidence comes from having willing obliging horses that work with me, not against me.
Boris’s biggest problem is my lack of time. He really needs more regular consistent work, which with my schedule is hard to offer him. In a way, it may have helped him however as he is so immature, and has really needed extra time to process and develop.
Boris is actually quite lovely to ride, like a floaty big cloud. He is forward and responsive. If he is unsure of something, he will stand and look. He doesn’t overreact, there hasn’t been any dirt or nastiness, he is just a little unsure at times. I’d really like to start taking him out places to go riding and increase his exposure, but then there is the float thing.
Now, the purchase of Nibbles and Tabby a few years back effectively bought us some time. They meant we had a pair of greys years before Boris and Stanley were ready. The problem we are now facing is it is looking like it will still be a couple of years before Boris and Stanley will be ready, and I don’t know that the old greys will still be working for that long.
This leaves us with a bit of a dilemma. A number of our jobs, mostly funerals, specifically request a pair of greys. Sometimes the Clydesdales will be able to do the job, but at times, greys are requested.
It is possible to buy a pair of working greys. Expensive, but possible. Doing this, would ensure we don’t have a gap in service between retiring the olds, and training the delinquents. The problem with this option is it would mean I’d need to rehome the delinquents. Maybe this is for the best?
I’m kind of in love with the fairytale. I honestly think Boris and Stanley have it in them to be an awesome working pair for my business. The way they came about, their similarities in personality with my human children, and the feeling of accomplishment when we actually achieve good things. I’m finding it really hard to consider the thought of admitting defeat with them. I think they could both find very good homes, but there will always be the what if.
Business head is saying ‘sell them, buy an established pair, and carry on’. Heart is saying, ‘we’ve got this’ ‘they are going to be brilliant’. I’m at a loss. How does one even make a decision when the options are so conflicting.
I guess the current cruncher comes from the simple fact, that Nibbles and Tabby are still going strong. I guess this gives Boris and Stanley time to continue training. In the future, if we need to reassess, we can do so.