Amy gave me very good advice pre-Simon getting sick. She said to ride even if I didn’t feel like it, because it would probably make me feel better. I took it to heart, because honestly I don’t feel like riding. Things I feel like doing instead of riding include…
- Eating froyo
- Watching reality TV
- Pretending to clean my house
But alas, my trainer and friends are nice enough to offer me rides and I believe that if you say “No” to people too often they stop offering. So I keep asking for rides and am therefore learning that I basically suck at riding. Here are my case studies from the past week on that subject.
(I’m using show pictures for most of them, because my ability to remember to snap a photo is pretty much nonexistent)
Sadie is my farrier’s horse, and she’s this super awesome “been there done that” jumper. I’m not sure what division she showed in the peak of her career, but I want to say it was the Junior Jumpers? Either way, this Thoroughbred mare in her late teens is still really spunky and loving her job.
I just hacked Sadie, and absolutely adored her canter. The problem I had was riding in a hackamore, which made me feel like I had zero adjust-ability. Looking back, I needed to be riding with my seat instead of my hands (more on this later). She was super fun.
O is a four-year-old Thoroughbred, and somewhat of a superstar at our barn. He has the natural makings of a fine hunter with a long stride and 10 trot, and he’s also been brought up properly with good rides and training. Therefore, he’s amaze balls. I was really excited to hack him.
O is a gorgeous creature (as seen above) but my pictures made him look like King of the Derps.
Getting on, I was pumped to hack the lovely moving creature and see how much I could package him up. Turns out, the answer was not much at all. He was a totally different ride than Simon. O has this lovely trot naturally, but to bring the best out of him you really have to push him forward and ride with some contact. It’s not a foreign concept to me, but keeping that big pretty boy moving was hard work. He needed a lot more gas pedal than what I’m used to. I haven’t felt so fat and out of shape in years. Mental note – perhaps less Froyo.
Hitch is the old lady barn staple. You may be able to tell from the photo, but she is super sway backed. Like, I legit asked someone if I was going to break her back into when I sat on her. That kind of sway back. My trainer said they bought her as a young horse and her back looked the same, and that it was just some kind of conformation flaw.
The sway back doesn’t hinder her though, and turns out I didn’t squash her by riding her. Instead, the old gal was perky and moving forward happily. I believe she did the junior hunters in her younger days, but now Hitch is the go to school horse…. and school master she is.
This mare is push button, which tells you something when I absolutely could not ride her to save my life. Our first course was awful with poles flying and missed changes and everything. Turns out, I was riding way way too much with my hands. When you pull on Hitch, she just gets heavy and faster. You have to ride her with your seat and a light touch. Also, you have to stay out of her way because she’ll hunt the distance for you. Basically, sit up and just keep her quiet in the corners. That’s it.
Why couldn’t I do that? Hard to say, but it did get better by my last course. I’m hoping to lesson on her again sometime, because it was an eye awakening experience. We get so used to our own horses, for better or worse!