Today I went down to visit Kiki, watch Shannon jump her again, and get a read on her progress and potential future at Flying Tail Farm. I'm not sure if I mentioned this specifically last time, but we decided when I dropped her off that Shannon and Dayna would think on her for two weeks and then give me their appraisal of how easy it would be able for them to sell her. If it looked like it might take more time in training than we could afford, I was going to bring her home to Massachusetts to try some different sales options (I know folks willing to market her as a jumper and a foxhunter, respectively).
I've been so thankful for how up front, kind, and honest both Shannon and Dayna have been through this entire process. They've been just wonderful, and it was great to see Kiki so happy and well taken care of when I arrived.
Shannon got on Kiki and starting warming up, and I definitely noticed a difference in her way of going and rideability. Her trot looked much looser and in general she was very settled with few 'arguments.' Excellent! Shannon also agreed that she had improved much in her flatwork in even the short ten days she had been there, and thought that she had the potential to have a very nice trot especially.
After a brief go on the flat they started jumping. Kiki was quite fresh when I dropped her off a week and a half ago (can you blame her? It was her first time jumping in two months!), so it was a real thrill to get to watch her go in her more regular form. I've actually never seen her jump, except for when she was very young, as Suzi didn't believe in jumping her too much and I've done most of the rest of the work on her myself. She's so cute!! We put the jumps up a bit and she showed great bravery and general technique. Here are some videos I took:
At the end, Shannon agreed that when Kiki goes her best, she really is quite fun to ride. She thought that Kiki could easily do Preliminary/CCI* in the coming season if she was tuned up for it properly. This was encouraging to hear, as the price we'd like to get for her ($25,000) would put her on the very reasonable end of that type of horse.
The downside of that positive is that, to be marketed as a CCI* prospect, she really needs to complete a few Preliminaries. This would require a very large investment of both time and financial resources on our part, and would mean that she wouldn't be truly marketable until probably at least April of next year. Unfortunately, that's not a realistic option for my family right now, so we've had to make the decision to bring her home. As I've already said, I'm so, so thankful for Shannon and Dayna for being so up front and honest. They clearly like Kiki (how could you not??) and I think they would do a great job selling her; it's just not realistic for me to have Ringo at the Red Barn, Kiki in full sales training for an extended period, and be paying for school at the same time. Oh well...
So now it's a flurry of activity trying to get everything organized to bring Kiki home at the beginning of winter break. Fortunately we had semi-planned for this eventuality and Pa already has his plane ticket ready to come out and help me make the drive back. We just need to get ahold of places to stay, get the truck all outfitted and ready, pick Kiki up and bring her back to Stanford for a day or so, and (unrelatedly) get completely moved out of my dorm room as I am moving to a different room next quarter. Oh, and... school? That too? Fortunately I only have one very doable final left, but it's still another thing to worry about.
In a case of excellent timing, my back has also decided to completely flake out on me recently, to the point where my physical therapist today constructed a crude back brace out of tape to keep me in a semi-correct posture despite my constant neck and back spasms that try to pull me into a Quasimodo-esque hunchback. It's a sexy look, clearly.
One major upside, of course, is that I'm really excited to have Kiki home with me over winter break!! Beach ride, here we come!! =D