Fleeceworks rider Robin Bond shares some thoughts on trust vs. desensitization and the one tack item she couldn’t live without.
Top photo via the Charles Wilhelm Training Facebook page.
Robin Bond is no stranger to success in the show ring, and she proved that she could win even with a young horse at the Western States Horse Expo’s Ultimate Super Horse Challenge. Robin took home a win (and a trip to Hawaii!) with her four-year-old mare, SE Montana, or “Hanna” as she is known around the barn.
“The rancher who we got her from had a huge property in Montana,” Robin said. “She was always a survivor. She was one of just a few horses that survived a wolf attack on the ranch, and she ran through a wire fence to get away. She still has the scarring, but she’s smart and aware and always knows where her feet are.”
Robin took the mare to Sacramento to compete in the Western States Horse Expo with the intent to give her an educational round and promote her name as a trainer. “I could have taken an older horse, but I wanted to take one in training to help get my name more recognized as a trainer, and the results definitely showed that she can do it,” Robin said.
The classes Robin and Hanna competed in required versatility above all else. “What Charles (Wilhelm) is trying to do with the Superhorse Challenge is to promote horses like they were in the ’60s and ’70s. One horse could do pleasure, halter, trails, barrels, and parades and that’s what the competition encourages,” Robin said. “I thought the crowds would be the most difficult part for Hanna, but she took it all in really well. I was really impressed with her.”
At home, in preparation for events such as the Super Horse Challenge, Robin focuses on establishing trust with her horses rather than desensitizing them. “I don’t desensitize my horses; I want them to be alert and observant. I teach them to look to me for help whenever they are unsure about something,” Robin said.
Robin worked with Fleeceworks to design the Sheepskin Square Underpad, which she feels is instrumental in helping her horses perform and look their best. “The sheepskin is super comfortable for the horse, and it looks nice. While nothing beats a saddle that fits, the pad can help make a saddle fit better and make the horse’s back more comfortable,” Robin said. “I notice that when I take the saddle off their back, they dry much faster when using the pad.”
Made from Merino Sheepskin, the pad allows Navajo blankets to fit between it and the saddle, making customized looks easy to create. For more information on the Fleeceworks Merino Sheepskin, click here.