Thursday, July 7, 2016

Koko and the Beginnings of Balanced Performance

by Mary Gallagher

Everyone in my family got to choose a special gift for their 13th birthday. I think that was my parents’ way of getting out of buying us cars at 16. Anyway, all 6 kids wanted their special thing, and mine was a horse. His name was Koko and we spent a lot of time together. He was 3 when I got him. I had been showing since I was 7 so I wasn’t a total beginner, but I was no trainer, either. I depended on my adult trainers for guidance on how to develop Koko.

There were lots of trails around our stable, so I rode him out after lessons whenever possible. We fox hunted and did horse trials along with dressage and jumping lessons, and horse shows. Koko was a great all around horse.

14-year old Mary Gallagher on Koko.
About 3 years into our life together, the showing part was beginning to develop a glitch. Koko did not want to leave the in gate; he developed a real aversion to it. Within a year we were regularly getting excused from the arena. I tried everything my trainer asked, and even had other trainers ride him at shows to help get him get over this behavior, but nothing seemed to work. Koko was one very arena sour guy.