When Wendy Basham is ready to fly, Wild Fury will be ready to help her soar.
He has been practicing so hard.
When he is riderless in the arena, turned loose to conquer a complicated grid of jumps, the chestnut gelding free jumps with such zeal that after finishing, he tries to start all over again.
“He’s so happy when he’s jumping through the complicated grids that he will happily jump through and do it again and again until we physically stop him,” Basham says. “We have to make sure the fence heights are not too short or he’ll test his ability by running at it at a full gallop! But when they are high enough, he comes at the fences with a nice, quiet canter.”
As she watches from the sidelines, Basham marvels at how well her new horse is now doing under the guidance of a professional rider. Wild Fury has begun winning ribbons in green jumpers in Ontario, recently taking a first and two seconds at the Stratford Saddle Club in the Hack Division. He also won three first-place ribbons in the 2-foot-3 Green Division.
He has proved so talented and eager over fences that Basham early on decided to let him go on without her—“I didn’t want to limit him because I know he can be a great horse.”
With the high-flying gelding’s best interests at heart, Basham chose to hire experienced riders to work him to build his confidence, skills and fitness.
Race name: Wild Fury
Barn name: Rory
Show name: Red Moon Rising
Sire: Whiskey Wisdom
Dam: Newest Edition
Foal date: May 2006And as he does so, she patiently awaits the day when she feels ready to ride over fences, and happily enjoys the other rides they take together.
Some of the stand-out sojourns include a rambling trail ride over bridges spanning rushing water, and flat-class lessons in weather conditions that would have lifted the tail and caused at least a few spooks in other horses.
“He’s unfazed by everything. We’ve ridden past horses having fits, in storms, over rushing water, and in the dark,” she says. One time, a storm caused tree branches to thrash the roof and walls of the indoor arena where they were riding.
“He didn’t bat an eye at this,” she says. “One of the first things I noticed about him was how calm he was. Even on a high-grain diet, he remained a calm, happy horse.”
And while the fences will have to wait until Basham feels ready, her horse, a child’s dream-come-true, will be all set to go.
“I was out of the horse world for about five years before I got (Wild Fury) and I have a history of some bad experiences over fences—and this has limited my ability to train him,” she explains. “But I didn’t want to limit him.”
Without getting into too much detail about her past experiences jumping, Basham says only that she rode many green horses over jumps and had “more bad experiences than good.”
“Now when I jump little jumps can look very big,” she says.
So she has been happy to let her horse, adopted through Long Run Thoroughbred Retirement, find his own way, even if it means letting other riders take him to new heights in training. She knows that her bond with this horse is special and that eventually they may take that soaring leap together.