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Riding Lily and Teeq

Riding Lily and Teeq

On Thursday it just so happened that my schedule aligned with Lily‘s owner (LilyO) and Teeq‘s owner (hereby known as TeeqO), so I made plans to ride with them. It was my first time riding Rags in the arena with other horses. It went well! He was obviously worried about what the other horses were doing, so we kept it short, but I was definitely happy with how he behaved.

TeeqO and LilyO have recently started exploring jumping. They’ve always wanted to try it, but never had the chance. I managed to talk them into the Lake Washington Saddle Club hunter schooling show, though, so they’ve been practicing over cross rails (they even joined my lesson a couple of weeks ago!).

LilyO (left) and TeeqO (right) jumping in our lesson together a couple of weeks ago! 🙂

We had a lot of fun helping them both feel better prepared for the schooling show! Their dad made a couple of very cool triangle-shaped standards for the barn to use, plus we had access to a couple of Poor Man’s Standards (AKA white plastic chairs), so I set up a mini course in our little indoor arena and then claimed a place on the mounting block to watch and provide feedback from. They rode for a good hour, then I had the privilege of hopping aboard their steeds for a few minutes before we called it quits.

Lily had a good head on her shoulders, she just needed to be reminded to push into the bridle instead of flinging her head up in the air. She also liked to fall into a weird, slow canter that bordered on a trot (darn that tranter!), so she needed a lot of leg and a quiet but closed hand. She’s not quite so sure about the distances to the jumps yet, but I think with some more practice she’ll do just fine.

Teeq was very smooth to ride (his canter reminded me of Boston’s), but you could tell he likes to get himself worked up and then curl back behind the vertical/spook (again, sort of like Boston). We had it out over his obsession with the tractor in the corner (how silly, since he’s lived at KW for quite some time!) and I did a lot of flexing/lateral stuff to keep him focused. He got a bit of scoot spook off while I was trying to talk to TeeqO while I rode, but he felt very nice over the cross rail.

It’s amazing how much confidence riding these two horses gave me. It feels like a landmark in my riding history that I’m at a point where I can climb aboard two horses I’ve never ridden before and walk, trot, canter, and even jump them without feeling any anxiety. It’s also really enlightening to get the chance to ride different types of horses and find all of the similarities and differences between them.

Both LilyO and TeeqO did well at the show on Sunday, super proud of them! I’ll have pictures from the show up when my life isn’t completely out of control, but for now here’s a few short clips of me putzing around on Lily and Teeq, videos courtesy of their lovely owners:

The First Week with Rags

The First Week with Rags

Owning a horse that I just bought and a horse that I’m in the process of selling is hard. 🙁

For one, I feel bad because I’m trying to spend more time with Raglan and less with Ezhno, which makes me feel guilty even though logically I know Ezhno’s certainly not being neglected. For two, I have a bigger bond with Ezhno than I do with Raglan, which makes me feel guilty for not “loving” Rags as much as I feel like I should. I’m just really done with the whole situation.

On Tuesday I spent a good forty-five minutes trying to sort out his disasteriffic grain situation. Before I got him, the guy was getting eighteen pounds of grain a day (#whatapig, right?). I’ve got him down to fourteen pounds right now and we’re going to see how that goes, but he’s ridiculously expensive and my trainers and I are determined to find a solution to his stomach decimating my budget.

Trainer M loaned me a saddle/girth, so Wednesday morning I went out with the intention to climb aboard my giant beast for the first time since I bought him. My mother came with me to take video, so enjoy:

Thursday I actually rode for ~fifteen minutes with a couple of barn friends. Rags was a little amped up about having company in the arena, but before I got on I told myself everything was going to be fine and lo and behold, it was. I didn’t ride him for very long, but he did well with horses trotting around/past him. Then I dismounted and he got to learn to stand still for another fifteen minutes while I watched them ride. I also got a chance to ride a couple of Paint ponies, so I’ll write a post about that next.

Friday my good friend Missy came out to take fancy pictures of me with Ezhno and Raglan. I’ve always wanted to take pretty pictures with Ezhno and I knew if I was going to do them, then I needed to do them before I sold him. We had some mishaps, but we came out with a lot of really beautiful photos!

Over the weekend I went out to serve as ground crew for the Ready to Ride team at one of the Lake Washington Saddle Club hunter schooling shows. I cheered on our competitors, brought snacks for starving riders, ran class results to the show office for judges, gave last minute advice/post class pep talks, praised a lot of ponies for doing a good job, and took so. many. photos.

Watching them compete made me very excited for Raglan’s future!

I came back on Monday inspired to move on from my confidence building rides and find something to work on that would go towards my goal of going to our first schooling show before the end of the year. The caption on the pic I posted to my Instagram sums up all the stuff we worked on:

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It's fun having a green horse! It's an experience that reminds you to be grateful for all the things you usually take for granted. Raglan's last owner and my trainer are more advanced riders than me (not being down on myself, just a fact) so they can work on his canter and his leg yield, but when you're an amateur sometimes the best thing you can do is to go back to basics. Does he stop when I say whoa? Does he go forward when I say walk? Does he trot when I click my tongue? Can he steer? Does he do all of these things safely, promptly, and with good will? Does he respond without me having to pull or kick him? Can he walk on the buckle for a lap and then come back to work? Does he listen when I lunge him? Does he bridle quietly? So many things to work on and make better before we get picky about head set and collection and things like that, let alone start to jump. 😊

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All in all, it was a very good first week! It might seem silly since I’ve only had him for week, but I feel like we’re already making progress and headed in the right direction. All the things I’ve learned about riding a semi-green horse from Ezhno have made me surprisingly prepared to take on this challenge. I’m confident that Rags and I are going to be good partners, and with the help of TrainerA/TrainerM I know we’ll have very strong foundations before we start jumping.

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