Lets See How Far We’ve Come: The Manny Edition


It’s American Thanksgiving weekend, which doesn’t really affect us up here in Canada (except for maybe Black Friday sales!), but I wanted to take some time to acknowledge my little red rocket, Manny. He’s going to be seven next year, and while he still acts like he’s four, he’s slowly getting more mature by the day. And he’s learned so much since we bought him! So, I thought I’d put together a post outlining all the ways I am thankful for Manny getting a little older, and maybe even a little wiser.


Manny had never shown when we bought him, so I got the distinct pleasure of riding him in his first ever competition. In front of my former coach, who has taken up judging. In the hunter ring. Yeah. All of the check boxes for a fantastic round, right? Sure, if you think hunter horse should be judged on their rearing, tempi changes and how fast they can rocket down the lines towards home! Yeah.

That’s my Manny, making an absolutely mockery of hunters and my supposed training skills. But almost exactly a year later, he was rocketing around at Spruce Meadows indoor, using his rocketship-like powers for good, not evil. Still a little spooky, but getting better all the time. 


When we bought Manny, doing two jumps in a row was a mental hurdle that he absolutely could not overcome. So you can imagine how two stride and one stride combinations were for him… They just didn’t happen. Let alone a grid. Or a triple combination. These were the things of nightmares for young Manfred. It took us three months before he would even fumble his way through a two stride. And this is what it often looked like:

How to jump combinations featuring Manny #babyhorseoops

A video posted by Madison Ricard (@threebaysjumping) on

Not so good if you want to be a jumper horse! But we worked on it. And now, Manny is a cool cucumber about all kinds of combinations, even though in the back of my mind I still think “crap, we’re going to spook at this aren’t we?”. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no. But progress has been made! Two years later we can competently navigate a 1.20m one-stride, which amazes me to no end.

Manny got hops ???????? #1m20 #manny #manfred #championvf #canadiansporthorse #jumper #jumpers #showjumping #horsesofinstagram

A video posted by Madison Ricard (@threebaysjumping) on


Sadly no good videos for this, just know that Manny used to be TERRIFIED of groundpoles. If they had standards and were raised off the ground 6″, no problem. A single mysterious pole on the ground? Horrifying. Several mysterious poles on the ground? Doubly horrifying.

Only thing that is worse is when there used to be jump rails between a set of standards, and then they suddenly disappeared. Where did they go??? We can’t possibly go between the jump standards, the rails are invisible! Manny may be very clever and a fast learner, but that doesn’t mean he’s smart.

But don’t worry, our ground pole aversion has been resolved. It only took two years (seriously). We now can actually do (*gasp*) groundpole exercises. Amazing!


These are just some of the ways my little baby horse is growing up. Just today, the temporary barn staff told me he was being very well behaved! Manny? Well behaved??? I refuse to believe it.

All and all, while I’m thankful he’s finally growing up, I am even more thankful for my big goofy guy. Even though he still tries to chew on anything in reach. And hits you with his feed bucket when it’s empty. And annoys Diego until Diego tries to kill him. And annoys you until you try to kill him. And tries to perform airs above ground when something goes wrong, like slipping.

Ah yes, young horses. Remind me why I bought a 4 year old again?

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