Developing a young horse to the top level of any discipline is no easy feat. For professional show jumper Andrew Welles, it’s a science he’s still perfecting, but he says it comes down to knowing when to believe in a horse and bringing them to their fullest potential.
Andrew, who grew up in Minnesota before moving to Wellington at 16, has produced several horses to the upper levels of the jumper ring. Having worked for Missy Clark and Chris Kappler as a junior, Andrew secured several international grand prix starts, including two stints as a member of Nations Cup teams in Austria and Portugal. At age 22, Andrew struck out on his own, starting his own business of training and teaching.
For long-term success, it’s important to resist the urge to push young horses too fast.
“I think a lot of people lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, if the horse is going to be a top grand prix horse, it doesn’t need to be jumping 1.60 meters until the mid-way point of its nine-year-old year,” said Andrew. “With some horses, it even takes until their 10- or 11-year-old year to get to that point, especially with how intricate and technical the courses are now.”
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