Jughead (Show name Ugly Duckling) 16.0 hand Trakehner
had seen Jugs before I owned him. Actually, I didn't know his name. He
was owned by a women name Jenny that use to both own horses and
come to summer camp here. Jenny had purchased Jugs as a 4 year old to
be her event horse. He was green broke, and Jenny planned to bring him
along herself. Occasionally, Jenny would haul down to CLS with Jugs in
the trailer to school in our rings. Jenny was keeping her horses at
home and didn't really have much of any where to ride at the time. As
we had known Jenny for a long time, we were always willing to let
her use our place for her schooling.
So, yes I had seen Jugs
before and I had been left with one impression; I didn't like him. He
would jig around our grounds, high headed and bug eyed, spooking at
everything that didn't look like food. He jumped fairly well, when he
made it to the jump, but the rest was just plain terrible. He reared,
he spun, he refused to move forward, he backed up in defiance, he
swerved off the rail.......the list went on......."Glad that horse
isn't my horse" I thought.
Jenny had Jughead for several
years. She showed him a bit with mediocre results. Over the years,
Jughead had developed personality "quirks" that made him difficult to
ride at best, dangerous at worse. Jenny and I share mutual friends and
I had heard plenty of Jughead's antics. Again, I thought, "Glad that
horse isn't my horse." Part of the problem was certainly Jenny's
presence predicament. Jenny had had a life threatening illness and her
riding had become sporadic at best. Training horses between doctor
appointments and school, had caused Jenny to be inconsistent and
inconsistency is rarely good with young horses. Then, one day in
late fall I got the call.
"Hi Amy, it's Jenny. I was wondering if you wanted Jughead."
just isn't working out. Some days he goes fine, others he's a complete
monster, rearing, spinning, halting, running backwards. Al (husband) doesn't want
me riding him with no one around."
" I don't know, Jenny. First, I don't have any money."
no. I would give him to you. I just want him to have a good home if I
can find one. I still love him so, but if you say no, he's going
straight to the horse auction."
What could I say? Jenny was a friend. I agreed to watch him go if she would bring him down.
be said, I had never really taken much of a look at Jugs. I had seen
him from a distance, thought, "ew" and that had been that. Chris and I
long look at the chestnut standing in front of us. Really, he was kind
of ugly. He had a huge head. He was slightly ewe necked and had a big,
pot belly that seemed to belong firmly on his 16.0 hand body. He was
well bred with old Trakhener lines, though I could have cared
less. His shoulder angle was straighter than
I would have liked, and he was almost a bit pig eyed (which ole time
horse man would have equated with spooking).
see him move" Chris suggested. Jenny trotted him in hand across the
indoor. He wasn't bad. He carried his head too high and he seemed to
look at everything, but he was straight from the front and straight
from the back. "Go ahead and tack him up."
It was apparent
just seconds into Jenny's ride that their were some problems. Jenny
mounted just fine. She had tacked Jughead in typical eventing tack for
dressage. Dressage saddle, snaffle bit with dropped nose band, spurs.
She walked Jughead from the mounting block and immediately started
playing with her hands and asking Jugs to frame up. He complied and
stepped forward in his dressage frame. He walked halfway across the
arena. Jenny asked for a trot. Jughead trotted three steps and hit the
brakes. Jenny legged him up. Jughead backed up, half reared and spun on
his haunches. Jenny pursued for several more minutes.
mind if we try a few things?" I asked. Jenny shook her head. I went to
the barn, and returned with plain snaffle bridle, and regular saddle
that looked like a better fit. I pulled the spurs off of Jenny
and I instructed Jenny to ride Jughead on the buckle. She
complied. The difference was amazing. Given his head, Jughead looked
around left and right, like he had never realized where he was. With in
10 minutes Jughead was trotting happily around the arena. "We'll take
was how Jughead came to live at Cedar Lodge. His
first couple years were sketchy. Jugs definitely had some problems with
his training that had to be straightened out. He was very inconsistent
and when he decided there were monsters in a corner, there was nothing
you were going to say to convince him otherwise. There was a bad
mystery lameness, that laid him up for several months, then a strange
lump on his head that seemed to move around for a couple months, then
just as we were gearing up to take Jughead to his first group of horse
shows, he came up with a large, gaping gash on the back of his right
hind pastern. 3 months of aggressive doctoring him, Jughead was
still infected, and lame. A conference with our veterinarian
didn't look good. The infection had gone deep into Jugheads foot and
was threatening the bone. "I don't think he is going to ever be sound.
Brandt told us. "You might be better off to put him down." Chris and I
talked and decided to give this crazy horse one more chance. We decided
on that June, to send Jughead over to good neighbor Karen's house for
the summer, step medicating, stop looking at it, and let nature take
it's course. We agreed that if Jughead came back in the fall the same
or worse, we would have him put down. Over at Karen's no one would be
medicating Jughead, but
more importantly, he would be on no dirt, just grass and have nothing
to aggravate his infection. Up to Karen's house Jugead went, and
besides making sure that he was occasionally alive, we didn't really
look at Jugs until October. When we did, you can imagine our amazement
when we realized that Jug's wound had made a complete recovery. We
brought him home and had a month of work on him before winter hit.
is why we had Jughead for 2 years before we showed, or even rode him
for more than a couple of months. In my mind, Jughead had a bunch of
making up to do by the time we entered our first show. I showed Jugs
personally for 2 years. We still had our
bumps and lumps along the way; Jughead had a tendency to swing back
towards the gate mid jumping course and try to make a break for it (I
got real good jumping jumps from interesting angles), and he was never
the most attractive hack horse but it was apparent a few shows into our
partnership, that Jughead was something special. Of all the fighting
and monsters there was one thing that was for sure; Jughead loved to
jump. As long as there was not a sign of "frame work" in his
vocabulary, Jughead would jump anything put in front of him. That first
season, Jughead ended up with the year end pre-green and novice hunter
reserve championship after only 5 shows, and I felt confident enough to
let others share the rides on him. In the next several years, Jughead
showed successfully with three of my nieces; Kali, Kendra and Ashley at both
local circuit shows and larger "A" shows as far away as Kentucky. He
always pinned well. Then, in the summer of 2006, Jughead once again rallied to the
occasion and found himself used in the camp string for the advanced
camp riders when we were in need.
As the years have marched on, the fences has lowered, and the courses
have become easier. Jughead is no less a favorite in the walk, trot and
beginner canter classes he finds himself in these days, then he was in
the show ring so many years ago. We held onto him for two years when he
came up with a mysterious lameness, and no one was happier than he was
when he suddenly went sound and was able to go back to work. Twice, he
has been the go to guy for beginner canter riders on the IHSA show
circuit, and I have to admit that Jugs perks up just a little bit when
he steps into that show ring one more time. Jugs owes us nothing at
this point. He has made up for lost time, and is truly a part of our