I have a lot of really awesome friends. Despite Henry being laid up for a month or two, I’ve not been lacking in offers of horses to ride. So many, in fact, that I haven’t even been able to get to them all yet. Typically I’m the kind of person that really prefers riding one horse, not a bunch of different horses. I like the day to day progress, always having a plan in mind and a goal to work toward. Let’s be honest though, it’s really good for our riding to sit on a lot of different horses.
I’ve already talked about Violet of course, who is a total blast. She’s a little bit tricky though… she wants to get quick sometimes, and if you try to use your hand to whoa, she just goes faster. She really wants you to ride off your seat and leg, you know… properly, and if you don’t, she gets a case of the zoomies. Henry puts up with a lot more bullshit than she does, so Violet offers a good reminder about not getting grabby.
Last week I played hooky from work and drove down to Trainer’s for a lesson on one of her sale guys. I’ve seen a lot of this horse this year from her showing him, but I’ve never sat on him before. He’s a young TB, therefore my type by default, but he’s been ridden so well that he really doesn’t feel that green. His buttons are well on their way to being fully installed and he’s quite the proper young event horse. I’m not used to a horse that 100% seeks out and willingly goes forward into the contact, and stays there. Plus this horse is super responsive to your seat as well – it took very little from me to get a response. He was a really good “this is what we’re striving for with Henny” type of example. Not a made horse yet by any means, but a horse with a really really excellent foundation. I love him and want to steal him, it was so nice to really feel where we’re trying to go with my own horse.
On Saturday I took a turn in the total opposite direction and went out to a friend’s place to ride some of her schoolies that need more work. One was an itty bitty pony named Bonnet (who I’m pretty sure wanted me to eff off and die, although she was fairly polite anyway) and the other was a big paint/draft cross named Nerey. I really thought I’d dislike the drafty horse, because I do better with forward, sensitive horses, but once I let Nerey know that forward wasn’t optional he was actually super cool. Turns out he was a foxhunter in a past life, and he’s pretty darn broke on the flat too. It takes a lot of effort to get it out of him (I literally had an ab cramp when I got off of him on Tuesday) but I quite like that dude. Much respect, Mr. Drafty.
The pony was definitely harder for me to ride. Good god, pony legs move so fast and they’re so close to the ground. That was an exercise in body control for sure, since my torso was longer than her neck. She was good though, and I got to tell everyone that I smooshed a pony, so that’s a bonus.
I’m sneaking off to Trainer’s again today for another lesson, then riding Nerey again tomorrow. This weekend I get to go XC schooling on yet another friend’s horse that I’ve never ridden before, which should be super fun too. I’m dying to get back out there, it’s been way too long.
Moral of the story: I have pretty great friends. It’s nice getting to ride such a wide variety of horses… each one of them is a learning experience in their own right.