Like many young girls when I saw National Velvet, and Pie, I dreamed of jumping. Let me give you a word of advise mid forties is not the best time to learn to jump, unless you have lots of riding experience to begin with. Rudy knew I wanted to learn to jump so when we went to an auction in Phoenix, we looked mostly for me. All the horses were in stalls so the most we could see was their heads. There were two gray geldings stalled next to each other. One was a Khemosabi grandson, and one an Aladdinn grandson. I had no clue who those stallions were, but Rudy had trained decedents of both stallions. He was partial to the Khemosabi grandson, and I of course wanted Moraddinn. We found someone working there and he took the Khemosabi colt out for us. I looked at the horse, and in my mind I thought no, he’s not that good of a horse. The only thing I had to draw on was my artistic sense of balance. I knew nothing of length of shoulder, free moving shoulder, properly angled hip, or short back, all those things I learned about later. All I knew was that he didn’t look right. Thankfully that sense of what looks right held me in good stead because Rudy took one look at the Khemosabi grandson, and asked to see Moraddinn. Even at not quite two Moraddinn was tall, and straight. He was a little long waisted, but I just knew he would be able to jump. I look at old pics of him, and wonder what it was I saw in that skinny, gawkey 2 year old.
Moraddinn became my very first horse. He was skinny as a rail, but not because of neglect. I swear his stomach was like a deep dark black hole. No matter what we put in it, it just disappeared into nothingness. He was a growing boy, and I do mean growing. At the time I was 5’6” so a tall horse didn’t bother me. I had ridden tall, medium, and short horses, and it really made no difference, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking tall horse, good jumper. Ok, I have already said I was very ignorant when it came to horses, and am only slightly less so now.
Back to Moraddinn. By the time Moraddinn was ready to ride I was ready to ride him. When Rudy felt he was safe, I began riding. It really was great for me because it was the first time I had ever ridden a green horse, and I was the one who was going to have to teach him what I wanted him to do. In a way we learned together. We learned how to understand one another. I learned what he could, and could not do. For instance he had a straight neck, and I do mean straight. That combined with his longer back made him less flexible, and quick than for instance Marina, who naturally arches her neck, and collects herself. Moraddinn was a different story.
Moraddinn was not only stiff, but a clutse as well. It wasn’t his fault, he just wouldn’t stop growing, and of course his growth wasn’t exactly even all the time. I spent hours working on flexing exercises. We put special shoes on him so he wouldn’t forge so badly. I tried numerous bits to get him to properly collect finally deciding on a Pellum (sp?), and a Kimberwick.
We went to one show in Phoenix, a Paint show actually, and I rode western. It was all I knew then. The first class I think I got like 6th place, but with each class we did better, and I finally got a blue. Boy was I impressed. Mind you I was terrified the whole time, but we managed to do quite well. I was very proud of my boy.
It wasn’t until we got to Ca. that I learned to ride English. First Rudy found me an old military saddle to learn on. Oh how I loved that saddle, unfortunately you can’t show in an old military saddle. They are so picky about things like that. It’s a horse show not a people show after all. Anyway, I did finally get a real English saddle, but I had to give up my military saddle to get it. Oh well you can’t have everything. I showed in practice shows in Gilroy, and finally worked up to getting a blue.
Still I hadn’t tried jumping. One day Rudy came home with wood to make some jumps. I was going to learn how to jump. Marina loved it, Moraddinn not so much. I’ve never fallen off a horse, at least not until I got Moraddinn. Rudy told me you aren’t a real horseman unless you have fallen off a horse. Well I finally did, twice. I worked hard at jumping, and it wasn’t because Moraddinn couldn’t do it, he could. He was racing around our pasture one day and he took a turn too wide. The only choice he had was to jump our fence, our 5' fence, and he cleared it easily. The problem was me. I wasn’t really comfortable in the English saddle even though by then I had been riding English for a number of years. Still, that really wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t figure out how to set him up for the jump. I couldn’t get the timing right. When we moved to Auberry we didn’t have a flat area for jumping so I sorta just stopped trying.
It was in Auberry that we finally got into breeding and we decided to try to sell Moraddinn or trade him for a mare. One day a lady called, and sent us a picture of a gray mare in foal that they were interested in trading for Moraddinn. They were endurance people, and Sadie just wasn’t an endurance horse. She was too hot for one thing. We traded videos, and then found a place halfway between the two of us to trade horses. Moraddinn was nine by this time, and a whopping 15.2 hands. It was the best thing for both horses. I loved riding Sadie who is a great brood mare, and Moraddinn found his calling. He and Lynn are devoted to each other and he has excelled in endurance. She told me that one day she was riding with a veterinary friend of her’s, and he commented that Moraddinn was perfectly built for endurance. He could canter for miles, and his trot was the most efficient trot for endurance that he had ever seen.
I still hear from Lynn, and she always sends me a pic. I love Moraddinn, he was my very first horse after all, but he’s where he belongs. He taught me the most important lesson of all. Regardless of what you want a horse to do, they will only excel in the discipline they are meant to do. Every horse is different, and you must treat each according to his or her individual talent, and temperament.