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Jonny Be Bueno

Jonny Be Bueno

By: Alexis Arbaugh

The first time Marisa Isbell rode Jonny Be Bueno at Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Paso Robles, California, she could feel that he was a special horse. Even from the walk, she could tell that he was attempting to communicate with her and understand her with every leg aid that she applied. He seemed eager to converse with Marisa through the only way they could: body language. He was an incredibly sensitive horse, so he always responded right away, eager to figure out what Marisa asked.

Jonny is a gray ten-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. Sired by Rattlesnake Bridge and out of Silver Spook, he had an impressive sales history. Sold first as a yearling at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale (OBS) 2016 August Yearlings sale for $55,000, then again as a two-year-old at the OBS April 2017 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training for $80,000. Jonny then ended up in California in the fall of 2017, where he raced at Del Mar and Los Alamitos before retiring. That is when he ended with CARMA and Redwings Horse Sanctuary, beginning a new chapter with Marisa.

“He is doing so well,” wrote Marisa. For the first ten or so months that Marisa owned Jonny, they did mostly groundwork. Groundwork serves as the first step in building a trusting relationship with a horse, as it allows both horse and rider to get to know each other before progressing to riding. They did so much groundwork because Jonny was extremely reactive, and Marisa could tell that he needed time to unwind. He needed to get used to his new environment and surroundings, as well as gain some confidence.

Marisa started riding Jonny shortly after the ten-month mark of his adoption. “He has completely blossomed into a confident, poised, well-developed horse,” Marisa shared. Jonny, once prone to spookiness and tension, can now remain calm even in the face of heavy winds, playing dogs, and passing cows. Jonny loves the mental stimulation and consideration that comes with practicing dressage. Marisa has even started teaching him how to jump over small jumps, which he is not impressed by in the slightest.

Marisa is looking forward to the continued journey of growth and partnership with Jonny. With dedication and perseverance, she aims to further develop their dressage skills. Marisa is also eager to focus on improving Jonny’s jumping technique. As they progress, Marisa hopes to compete in three-day eventing competitions, where they can showcase their combined talents and celebrate their remarkable bond. Together, they embark on an exciting journey filled with shared achievements, unforgettable moments, and the unwavering companionship that only a horse and rider can share.

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