That year has been filled with ups and downs and tiny pieces of success, all of which have been building blocks to the training given The Big Brass. I had hoped to get him on several rides this year, and had this stupid idea that "maybe just maybe" I could get him to the Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride. But that was not to be thanks to hoof issues, boots not fitting and weak hoof wall that wouldn't hold a shoe. However that hair-brained idea blossomed into our recent stupendous adventure of traveling across Oregon to the coast trip, so it wasn't all bad.
One big success was at Owyhee Chills in November of 2013, Beth Nicholes rode Brass on his first AERC 50 mile ride, which was also Beth's first endurance ride! They did just fine although we did have a couple "incidents" but it all worked out. In endurance riding it always works out if you stick with it, that's where the true endurance kicks in. It was fun to watch Beth and Brass enjoying the trail!
Since then Brass' rocky record of success has continued. Some days you're the bug- some days you're the windshield. There were some rough spots Brass and I had to overcome with trust and leadership problems. Plus we kept trouble shooting hooves and abscesses thanks to their previous neglect. After another big success of completing the Eagle Extreme 50 in June with Ted Nicholes, the plan was to take him to Jackson Hole, WY for an Advanced Horsemanship clinic that Ted wanted to attend. But the day before they were going to leave, Brass had a muscle cramp at the Almosta Silver City Ride, and that plan was abandoned. Brass looked sound again the next day but Ted didn't want to risk it. He called ahead to the hosts of the clinic and they loaned him a horse for the week. So once again, plans and goals for Brass had changed.
The good news is that Brass is still sound and trotting happily down the trail a year after his arrival. The Big Brass has come a long way from being roped to be caught, and now comes when you call him. The big guy has learned to love attention from people. Despite crummy hooves that are slowly improving, he has developed into a pretty nice trail and endurance horse. An idea that a couple people said I was crazy to even think about! He is proof that every horse can be trained if you find the right person to continue building the horse up. I couldn't have trained Brass on my own, and I have to thank the Nicholes family for all their hard work with The Big Brass. Here is to another year Mr Brass - long may you trot!