Breed: ISP Baroqueur / Knabstrupper Sport Horse
Discipline: Show Jumping
Rider: Frankie Oaks
I must say.. despite the shitness of the background and Franie.. I AM IN LOVE WITH HOW STJERNE TURNED OUT! I honestly tried so hard whilst drawing and shading her... and I think it payed off
Although... I did really mess up the size proportions :/ I was thinking Stjerne was like 16/17hh...
Hope you like it ~The-White-Cottage!!
Stjerne walked from the stalls and into the arena unaccompanied, as she had done every day since arriving at BS.
Frankie had fed and groomed her, brushing out her long mane, and then tying it up into several unruly bunches to keep it out of the way, and putting on her boots and a halter. He then opened the door to her stall and walked off to get her saddle, leaving Stjerne quite to her own devices.
At first, she’d been so confused that she’d paced around the stall several times before daintily putting a hoof outside and then jumping back in. Honor, Frankie’s daemon, perched on top of her stall, looking down on the mare with eyes that were ever so slightly amused.
“Go on, Stjerne,” she said quietly, trying not to spook the mare – she was a red-tailed hawk, after all. “Just go on out.” The daemon ruffled her feathers and then looked over her shoulder to where Frankie was reemerging holding Stjerne’s saddle and bridle.
“Whatcha waiting for?” Frankie said, as though it should’ve been second nature for the mare to wander out of her stall and into the arena. He smiled and rubbed the back of her ears. “When I’ve put on your boots and your halter and left the door open, you can go out to the arena. Okay?” Frankie spoke as if she could really understand him, but he tapped her boots and gave a very small tug on the halter as he did, and then put one hand on her withers and guided her out of the stall. “Come on, girl.” He said, clipping on his helmet and taking a couple of long strides so he was half a horse-length ahead of Stjerne who snorted and stretched out, trying to get their shoulders in line.
They walked into the middle of the indoor arena. The lights were fully lit, and Stjerne had the sudden feeling of being in a show. As a reflex, her whole body stiffened slightly and she swung her head about, trying to catch the sounds and scents given off by a crowd.
There was none.
It took her a few minutes to get used fully to the fact that, whilst in a massive arena, full of jumps and the odd part of a dressage border, it was simply acting as another training ring.
Honor smiled and gave a little laugh, swooping down from where she’d been perched on the metal railings circling the top of the arena and landed on Frankie’s shoulder. He lifted a hand to stroke her small head and then down her back.
“She’s a little overwhelmed, huh?” Honor said, and Frankie’s stern nod made his and his daemon’s personalities contrast even more starkly – but their differences complemented each other and had, since Honor’s arrival, made him a better trainer.
“It’s alright, girl.” Frankie said softly, swinging the saddle over her back and doing up the girth. Stjerne looked from side to side, giving out little snorts and a tiny squeal. He smiled, but became quite stern after another minute as she swung her head away as he tried to put on her bridle. “Now come here.” Frankie grunted, putting one hand on her poll and firmly holding her head with his palm for a few seconds. “Please stay still, Stjerne.” She snorted, eyes darting back to meet his and then she opened her mouth a little, accepting the bit. “There we are.” He praised, pulling down the stirrups and collecting up the reins. “Ready?” He asked, and at the same time swung himself up into the saddle.
Stjerne’s body reacted instantly: she pulled herself up into an odd kind of tense natural collection, and almost refused when Frankie put his legs against her flanks and asked her to move on. “Stjerne!” Frankie barked —albeit still rather quietly— and she immediately took a step forward, and then another, and on until she was walking comfortably around the edge of the arena. Frankie had the reins very loose, guiding her through any obstacles that presented themselves with his legs, and within ten minutes Stjerne had let her whole body relax and was listening quite happily to her rider.
“Good girl,” he praised, petting her withers and stroking down her neck. Stjerne gave a contented grunt and moved up into a lollopy trot at Frankie put just a little pressure on her again. They curved around the corner at the end of the long side and pushed up into a canter. Frankie worked for a couple of minutes to get her supple, and then had her pulling her head back into an outline and pushing her weight into her hindquarters and got her working efficiently. “Very nice.” He petted her again and Stjerne felt a flush of pride as his body relaxed, moving with her motions.
Since that first day, Stjerne and Frankie had worked in the indoor —and outdoor— arenas early each morning, working from the simple basics of riding up to the jumping practice she had been sent to receive.
That day in particular, Frankie had opted out of training her over proper obstacles, and instead chose to do some work on the control and pace of her jumping. He had noticed that she had a tendency to get under a lot of the higher jumps, and also rush the smaller ones – getting herself caught up in combinations was a result of this. He had had her bunk out of several when she had her striding wrong and otherwise would have collided with the polls. Due to her nature, Frankie knew half of this was just showing off, but there was also plenty of work to do.
The first thing he got out that day was some of the cavaletti that he had the young horses going over when they first learned to jump. They were small, two-barred jumps. Originally singles, with crosses as the wings, but as the colts (Whytt in particular) grew up, he had doubled them up to pose a bit more of a challenge.
He set them up with a little more than the standard gap between bounce jumps first, deciding to give Stjerne a good bit of a mental work out too as she had to figure out how to lengthen her stride correctly and land in the right places to be able to clear the next obstacle. There were four in a line, and Frankie circled Stjerne around them several times, letting her get a good look and even sniff them.
“Alright, girl. Time to give it a try.” He said, and Honor swooped down, giving a little chirp of encouragement as Stjerne took the first one.
It was instantly apparent that Stjerne had misjudged. She popped over it just as she would a normal bounce, but was suddenly confronted with being almost an entire stride away from the next jump. She pulled her head up sharply, but Frankie pushed her on, loosening the reins quite ridiculously and holding his arms out to his sides with his elbows almost touching his waist. “You can do it.” Frankie said, and pushed her on. Stjerne catleapt it, but her aim was far better, and landed correctly, able to take off over the next in perfect stride, getting a tiny bit of scope and getting herself back into a good collection for jumping. “That’s my girl, Stjerne.” Frankie said, patting her neck, quite pleased with her first attempt at the cavaletti. “And now, again.”
“You’re in for a hard day, Stjerne!” Honor called, circling to sit on the table where any judges for a competition would sit.
Aw, great… The mare said to herself.
Art & Beaumont Stables ©: =Baringa-of-the-Wind
Stjerne ©: ~The-White-Cottage
Honor ref: [link]
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