I’ve been fairly mum on Roman for a variety of reasons. When I feel less than stellar mentally, the act of sitting down to write about ponies seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things and I don’t bother. Additionally, even though my trainer doesn’t believe me I’m planning on Roman being a longer term resale project. That doesn’t mean he won’t make blog appearances, but it does mean that I won’t be publishing every single little detail on the internet like I did with Simon. Roman is a really cool horse and has the potential to be a nice local hunter in my opinion, but I can’t keep collecting Thoroughbred geldings in a forever home. 🙂
Plus what we’ve been working on is just plain boring. It’s only marginally exciting today because I have pictures. If you felt like you’ve been missing out on the Roman action for the past 30 days, just read this summary:
I lunged today. We worked on holding his gaits evenly and calmly on the line. Then I walk/trotted and worked on the same thing. Repeat.
Within the past few weeks though, I’ve turned a bit of a corner with Roman (this will soon change for the negative I’m sure). He’s starting to feel more like my horse and less like some gigantic foreign creature I drug out of the pasture. The adjustment for me has been pretty significant, because Simon and Roman couldn’t be more different.
- Simon is agile & catty. Roman is… not.
- Simon is naturally built uphill and goes uphill. Roman does… not.
- Simon has a short stride. Roman’s goes on for days and days.
- Simon sticks at 16.2hh but is all withers. Roman sticks a little below 16.3hh but is all body.
A lot of these differences I enjoy about Roman – like his size and his gigantic stride. They’re qualities I was shopping for specifically, but I didn’t realize how long it would take me to start to feel comfortable on him. Truthfully I did more the first day I rode him at the sale barn than I have at home up to this point, but that’s okay.
While I’ve been getting used to him, my trainer has been riding Roman once or twice a week and giving me instructions. We both agree that he’s got some fantastic qualities. He’s a fast learner, and genuinely wants to do the right thing. We all know Simon is my heart and loves me as much as a horse can, but Roman is a much sweeter horse than Simon. He loves everyone and everything, and has this big, dopey kind eye that is slowly garnering my affection.
Our rides have been focusing almost exclusively on flatwork, which has a lot that needs correcting. Roman’s preferred way of going is heavy & fast. When he gets tired, he wants to lay on your hands and quickly shuffle around on the forehand. It’s oh so pleasant. We’ve been doing a lot of work on telling him that we expect him to carry himself at a steady pace. At the trot I can usually get him light and even, but it’s still a work in progress.
The canter has been much harder. He’s very weak, and wants to swap out in the hind (especially to the right). This has gotten better by leaps and bounds, but usually towards the end of my ride when him and I are both a bit tired we stop holding up our end of the bargain. I don’t support him well enough and he doesn’t hold it together well enough, and the canter gets a bit special.
Roman also tends to get heavy/fast a lot more at the canter than he does the trot, which is challenging because he is
dead in the mouth really heavy. At his worst, it feels like you’re riding a dinosaur that’s trying to quickly tunnel you into the earth. Not my favorite.
There are nice moments though, and it’s getting better. We’re trying to figure out what bit he should go in right now. He needs a little leverage at times, but we both hated the gag when we tried it. Trainer is currently thinking a baby pelham, so I’ll have to get used to riding with two reins again!
Even though I have no flashy jumping pictures or shows scheduled, I’m pleased with the progress so far. All of these baby steps with flatwork can feel a little bit tedious at times, but in my heart I know it’s the right way to get the horse I want in the end. My trainer has lunged him over jumps and I’ve been trotting crossrails more often lately. He never bats an eye at anything, and I know that the jumping will come together 1,000% better when our flatwork is more solid.
Until then, you’ll find me doing endless circles of bending and transitions.