Banner is my horse.
He is a 16.2 hand high, chestnut warm blood gelding. He was born in Idaho in 1999 out of a TB/ Hanoverian mare by a Dutch stallion.
I first met Banner in late summer 2005 in Kuna Idaho. The round pen he was in at the time looked like it may not hold him. He was spooking and cavorting
around because some kids were playing up above him. I studied him as he tore around the pen. He had power. He had short canon bones, a lovely kind eye, solid healthy feet, low hocks and balance. I could draw a square around him and he stood over the earth comfortably. Best of all, he had presence.
I was told that he was a sale prospect but that he needed more training before they would let him go.
Banner's trainer, Gary was an advocate for us both. I sealed the deal and brought him home in Sept of 2005.
Following the advice of a knowledgeable friend, we spent that fall on the trails. The Aspen tres were turning gold and the footing was good. Banner was willing to go out alone as a green 6 year old. He was always watchful and very aware of where his feet were.
That winter I boarded him at an indoor and we worked on mostly dressage. I rode him too low but we muddled though. He is an extra ordinary mover. I was told by one clinician that his dressage scores could be in the 80%. The next spring, he went lame. It was in his foot so we couldn't get a very accurate diagnosis without an MRI. I laid him off for about 3 months. We suspect a ligament inside his hoof was strained. I bought sand for his pen so he would have a soft home.
He came sound and we went eventing. We entered camp in Chase BC and various low level events. He had scope, power and jump. I moved up to Training level skipping Novice level. I wasn't helping Banner much then. My hands were too high and busy. I 'rode the spot' and we left the ground too long too many times.
In the next few years we kept eventing at Training. We had stops. Our record shows win or stop.
One winter in January, he ran away with me for a mile on an icy patched road. His head flew up, and he started running for home with more power than I have ever felt. I pulled, he wasn't home. It was like pulling on a stone wall. I got up in galloping position and set my hands down to ride it out. Falling off on to the frozen road at that speed was not an option. We made it around 2 turns and I feared the next one was too icy. He had borium on his shoes but could still slip easily. Then three broad women appeared in the road. They were out for a winter stroll. Banner viewed their broad image and re balanced the same way he does at a big jump today. Then I was able to stop him. Whew, my knees were shaking when I got off!
Those woman were angels. I have never seen them in our neighborhood since that winter day.
I called Gary. I said, "Gary do I cull a runaway?" he said "No!"
So with great fear and trepidation I kept on with the big, red Banner. I added the martingale as necessary equipment.
There were clinics and more Training level experience. I earned my Level 2 ICP Certification and became more educated and disciplined.
Through my connection with ICP I learned that Boyd Martin was coming to the July Rebecca Farm Event looking for catch rides. I had seen him ride cross country on Neville Bardos, in the mud at Fair Hill and win handily. His position and hands and the way his body stayed still before and over the jump made a huge impression on me. He rode Banner in his 1st Prelim at Rebecca and as he says "destroyed the field" and won. It is really fun watching a great rider on your horse.
I left Idaho that winter with Banner and was lucky enough to get a paying job at Lone Tree Farm near Modesto, California in 2010.
To be continued.....