Representing: Northview Stallion Station
RRTP's 100 Day TB Challenge Participant
Two Punch – Alluring Elixir, by Cure The Blues
Breeder: Barbara Ryan (MD)
He's "The Kid." Although Alluring Punch and his RRTP classmate Gunport both officially turned four years old on January 1, 2013, he acts his age more frequently than she does. If you look at his conformation photo above, he has all the ingredients to be an elite athlete, from his powerful hind end to his deep chest and lovely shoulder.
Under saddle, Alluring Punch is alluring indeed and shows great potential for collection with the ability to coil his loins and step under himself. His canter is powerful, and his trot is fluid. He inherited some of his legendary sire's playful nature, and he appears to have a bit of a sense of humor. He will need some time and skilled schooling while his mind matures and catches up with his body. In the training videos, RRTP President Steuart Pittman compares the first few minutes under saddle on Alluring Punch to "riding a pinball." You can get a good sense of this by watching his win at Charles Town in May 2012 (click here to watch his race video). He wins the race by open lengths, after taking the overland route and going quite wide on the turn to order the proverbial hot dog.
From Training Report 1 (video for Day 1) and Training Report 2 (video for Week 2), Alluring Punch is carefully coached to maintain balanced, rhythmic gaits. Less time is spent on suppling exercises and more time is spent on pace and balance. In the third week (video here), the chestnut hits a mental stumbling block, and Steuart is faced with the challenge of moving forward with his talented pupil. He explains his process in Training Report 3:
"We want to establish boundaries and consistency with these horses but we must be careful with the mouth and the attitude of a horse like this. For the first few weeks, we sent him forward and matched his strength with leg and rein to keep him on the track of our choosing at the pace and balance that we thought he could handle. That was tough on him in some ways. It was hard work and I don't think he got much pleasure from it. The warning came when I started to feel that he was not connecting well to the bit. He was sucking back slightly and curling to avoid the contact.
This is a common problem with the horses who pull hard. The harder we have to work the less tactful we become, and it doesn't feel any better to the bars of their mouths and neck muscles than it does to our arms and shoulders. All of a sudden they feel light in the bridle and take smaller steps and we think we have made great progress... I had felt poor Punchy sulking a bit, then surging into the bridle, then sulking again. My job then was to look for and find a rhythm and a direction that would make him happy again, and restore his trust in the contact. We found that yesterday in the canter. In that gait he is most rhythmic, straight, and balanced. He becomes happy. It is almost like a mental break for him, after which he does better at the walk and trot."
The reward for thoughtfully schooling a talented, scopey horse like Alluring Punch through the lower levels will reveal itself as he reaches the upper levels of training. You can get a glimpse of his bright future when you watch his free jumping video below. If he is this talented at four, imagine where he will be in a year or two: