Richard buys a sports horse full of potential - so why does he feel like he is letting him down?

Having made the difficult decision to sell Bea, Richard is excited by finding his next horse.
Richard starts his search for a new horse and to his surprise it takes less time and effort than the several months it took to find Beauty. ( Click here and find out all about Beauty) Beauty had not long been sold to a lovely home where she would enjoy and have fun doing Pony Club when Richard received a text from Eventer Becci Harrold who was at Goresbridge Horse Sales in Ireland with Holly Gillott of Fox Covert Horses' stating that they had found a really nice 16.1hh dark bay Irish Sport Horse which was coming home with them.
A couple of weeks later Tommy arrived at Holly's yard and Richard went to meet him for the first time.
Richard shares his first impressions...
Tommy and_Rich_casual
My first impression of Tommy was he looked amazing, a very handsome and striking looking horse, when I got on him, I knew immediately that he was totally different to Bea, he had a lot of power and was quite sharp, he also didn't like standing still for too long, I wasn't put off by his immediate power and decided he was the horse for me. I bought him and a week later he arrived home.
Tommy didn't settle in straight away and would jump out of his skin if people 'snuck' up behind him - standing still was definitely not on his list of things to do, which initially made mounting a bit of a challenge, but once on board he showed he had plenty of usable energy. - Something to look forward too, I knew I was going to have to improve my fitness levels with this horse and it wasn't long before I arranged for my saddle fitter to come and adjust Bea's old saddle so I could start working with Tommy on a daily basis.

A stressful weekend for Tommy…

(photo and_Rich_in_arena )
Over the next couple of weeks things seemed to be going well so I decided to enter a local dressage competition Prelim 18. On show day Tommy was very excitable, thankfully we arrived in plenty of time, so I was able to walk him round for a while to get used to the sights, sounds and smells, however once on him it still took a good half hour to calm him down completely. At the start of the test things didn't flow as well as they should but Tommy soon settled down, receiving consistent sevens for the last four parts of the test, including the halt which I was very pleased with, especially as he did it squarely and stood still‚Äö√Ѭ∂.amazing! 

Unfortunately on the way home from the show Tommy managed to pull a back shoe off, luckily he did not harm himself, but it meant a visit by farrier the next day, which was followed the next day by a visit from the vet for vaccinations. Also Prior to the show Tommy had a check up with the dentist who had informed me that there were some sharp points and ridges on his biting surface, looking back I should have waited a bit longer to enter Tommy as I am sure that this hampered his ability to come into and out of line.
Poor Tommy - a stressful weekend comes to an end and a welcome break to recover and relax.
Break over; I started work with Tommy with some remote help from Dani O'Brien Natural Horsemanship Trainer from Equine Unity who helped me work with Tommy from the ground. Under Dani's instruction I used a Monty Robert's Dually Halter with reins attached so I was able to effectively school Tommy to stand and get used to me mounting him.  
Tommy and_Rich_jumping
Over the coming weeks I had to take stock of the situation, the move to a bigger more sporty horse was not going the way I had hoped, and I could see that it was down to me as a rider. Becci and Holly knew Tommy was special; he was an amazing horse with so much potential - So why did I feel like I was letting him down?
It wasn't just my lack of confidence or my ability as a rider - but time and time again it was being pointed out that I seemed to lack natural balance and although I am physically strong, my aids seemed to be in effective. These were never problems with Bea, who was essentially an over grown pony, but now I was struggling mentally to see how I was going to change - but knew I had too; I had to learn a new way of riding for this new partnership to be successful and not end in disaster. I wanted to start enjoying such an amazing sports horse.
At the point where I was running out of ideas on how to sort out my problems as a rider, Suzanne Taylor, owner and publisher of came to the rescue, she arranged for me to have some training with Biomechanics coach Teresa Dixon. Biomechanics was not something I knew anything about, but I was willing to give it a go.
Next time we will find out how Richard gets on with his Biomechanics sessions and if the one to one coaching helps him with his issues as a rider.