Success stories UAE King's Training Journal by Jackie Smith

24th July 2020

We met UAE King at the end of January at his trainer Roger Varian's yard, in Newmarket. We were excited to meet one of the oldest son's of Frankel and the half brother to Dubawi; how would we live up to this heavy weight of legendary bloodlines?

King's happy, biddable nature shone through and it didn't take us long to decide he would become part of the family. We collected him at the start of February and began our training with lunging and very light schooling. We could only lunge on the left rein, King just turned to look at me when we attempted to lunge on the right. Canter in the school felt like riding the wall of death, we just got to the corners so quickly and turning was difficult. He immediately took to hacking and has been a pleasure right from the start to take up round the hills and tracks.

March and April brought the lockdown and we decided not to ride as we didn't know King well. We took the opportunity to work hard on the floor, long reining and lunging with two lines worked wonders for our right hand issues and we cracked lunging right, hoorah!

May was a quiet hacking month, getting to know each other. We navigated horse walks, ditches and narrow tracks, in his usual thoughtful approach, King took some time to consider each new problem then take a lead from a more experienced horse, but once it's learnt it's learnt forever and none of these obstacles caused a problem more than once.

By June we began pole work, King approached it very sensibly and quite slowly. We built up the number of poles each time and soon had King confidently trotting and cantering poles, happy and quite smug with himself. We introduced King to working through trot poles and canter poles to a cross. King found cantering to a small fence much easier to understand than trotting so we went with it and used canter poles to help him get there.

Fast forward to the second weekend in June, we headed off to our first RoR lesson with Ed Cross, having only attempted jumping twice at home before and first time away from home, I knew it was quite an ask. We couldn't have been more thrilled. Such progress on the flat and he aced his first combination, nearly sending me flying with an unexpected leap at the second part (note to self, keep your heels down).

We have already booked our first club night for two weeks time and we can't wait to meet more RoR's and their people. Fingers crossed we keep making such rapid progress. We'll be out eventing before you know it.

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