The first part of a small series featuring horses and ponies being campaigned in disciplines their breeding does not intend them for. We hope you enjoy their stories!
Written by Liz Mudd, owner of Bones Jones.
Bones Jones affectionately known as 'Bones' is an 8yo Standardbred x Thoroughbred gelding. He was found in Parkes NSW by Brett Smith as an unbroken youngster. Brett’s daughter Natasha had agreed to purchase another riding horse when the vendor pointed out a tall, brown, thin horse in a nearby paddock and insisted he was part of the deal. If Brett and Natasha didn’t take him his future was very uncertain, so he came home to live with the Smith family.
Brett nicknamed him ‘Bag of Bones’ due to his condition at the time and it eventually got shortened to Bones. Bones settled in quickly with his new paddock companions and Brett thought that Bones needed a job to do so started training him. Although opinionated, anxious and overly energetic, Bones was quick on the uptake and it was not long before he was going under saddle. At the time Brett was helping to organise day rides for a local trail riding club and he and Bones would map the trails and the following day lead the club out on the ride. Bones was surprisingly brave on the trails and would take the lead while other horses baulked.
Emily, Brett’s youngest daughter, was living in Hamburg, Germany at the time working for Hof Boernsen dressage stables and Brett thought it might be fun to compete with Emily when she came home so he contacted me to help prepare him and Bones for a dressage competition. The first training session involved explaining to Brett that the current dressage rules did not embrace riding in a rope headstall and fitting Bones with a bit. Bones did not love the change but after a relatively short time he accepted the new head gear and he and Brett began to learn how to negotiate the dressage arena. At first he shied at every arena marker, wobbled like a drunk when asked to do a straight line and couldn’t decide which canter lead he should be on but with every ride he improved.
Eventually Emily came home from Germany but relocated out of the area, combining this with a busy work schedule for Brett saw Bones having an extended break from riding due to not having a rider. In late September 2019 Emily moved back and bought her own horse Chocolate with her. Brett being very time poor decided Chocolate would be an easier option for the occasional weekend ride rather than the energetic Bones. Knowing that I thought Bones had the potential to be a dressage horse and not wanting the hassle of selling a horse with such eccentric breeding, Brett offered the horse to me.
I rode him for about six months until the pain from my arthritic knees wouldn’t allow me to give Bones the regular work he needed so he sat in the paddock for another six months. In November 2020 Emily offered to ride Bones and while they had a rocky start to their relationship, Emily’s skillful and patient riding has seen Bones transform from a wobbly, spooky wild child to a very handsome riding horse. With a competition career now scheduled, Bones had to become registered with Equestrian Australia. Yes, his EA registered name is just that, Bones Jones!
To date he’s had one dressage competition start on a busy club championship day and while very nervous he managed a top ten finish both tests. Alongside his dressage training Bones has been learning how to jump and has attended a training day and was very brave and jumped around the 80cm course. We can’t wait to see what Emily & Bones go onto achieve in the future!
Photo Credit: Dressage Pic | NextGen Equine & Jumping Pic | D.Razenbacher Photography