If you thought last week’s recap was boring, I spent Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday recuperating from my stupid neck injury—no riding, just trips to the barn to give Ez his bute and forlornly watch the Show Buddy’s lessons from the sidelines. TALK ABOUT RIDICULOUSLY BORING, RIGHT?
But things took a turn for the better on Friday! I woke up feeling a little stiff, but I was remarkably better, so I traded my prescription pain meds for a couple of ibuprofen and begged the Trainer for a beast to ride. Enter this curious creature:
This is Player. He’s 1/2 Arabian and 1/2 giraffe, and he’s the newest of the lesson horses. He’s got a really cute face and he does this funny (and slightly annoying) thing in the cross ties where he dramatically lifts his leg up like he’s going to paw if you walk away, and then just stands there on three legs until you come back. He’s an oddball, for sure.
Player’s got a noticeable swayback, which makes it physically hard for him to drop his head and really lift with his back (poor guy), but gosh darn if he didn’t try. It took a lot of leg (and a little dressage whip), but I set high expectations and he did his best to work as correctly as he could, even if he was a little begrudging at first. I got him down into the bridle and then added in turns and circles to work on his bend until he looked something like a real horse instead of an overgrown llama.
I originally planned on sticking to a walk/trot ride… ha ha ha, yeah right, like that was ever going to happen, right?
We picked up the canter and I really had to rock back in my seat and use my leg to gather him up underneath me. We spent a lot of time holding that slower speed (that’s right, use that topline and that butt!), then we started adding in canter to trot and walk to canter transitions. He was a smooth ride, just slow to react and a little heavy in the hand—he felt very “lesson horse”, down to the irritating habit of slowing down whenever I praised him (a cardinal sin he was harshly corrected for), but when I gave him some leeway for a bit of hand gallop he really hauled it!
By the time we were done he was pretty sweaty and my thighs hurt, so I call that a successful ride! It felt ridiculously good to get back in the saddle. Not only that, but I really missed the mental battle that comes with focusing on improving a horse’s way of going. It was a lovely ride—a lovely day in general!
Saturday, on the other hand, was another boring day. 🙁
But Sunday the Show Buddy and I made plans to meet up for a jumping day! We had a couple other riders join us and together we set up a course with heights ranging from cross rails to ~2’3″. The Pony was good on the lunge, so I hopped on and warmed her up over some small fences only to have her throw a buck when we started over the higher stuff. I got unseated and spooked another horse in the process, which made another rider fall and made me feel super bad…
But the rest of the ride was awesome! Here’s a short (weirdly squiggly?) video to wrap this post up: