Yesterday was Alternative Horse Day at my barn.
…or at least that’s what I thought when I walked in and saw the schedule board had me riding the barn’s resident Fjord.
I must admit I have always been curious about Fjords. Per my recent confession of love for horses of a different color, Fjords are definitely on my short list. We Can Ride has a few fjords that they use for therapeutic riding and driving classes but they are at a different location so I figured my chances of ever getting to ride one were slim. Until I met Oz! I had to go out into the field and catch him which I actually find to be a lovely part of the whole riding experience. I have adjusted at this new barn to grabbing the horse I am to ride from their stall. At the barn I used to ride we would have to go catch our horses in the feed lot. Sometime this was a harrowing experience–especially during the muddier seasons. But most often it was a quiet walk out to the paddock where I would watch the horses in little groups happily munching or grooming each other. I would have to pick my horse out of the crowd and if I was lucky (or came with a bribe) I could wrangle my horse from the pack long enough to put a halter over that big fuzzy head.
I stood at the gate and called for Oz but since I’m not his human (and because he is a fjord) he continued chowing on the short grass in the field. I approached and talked to him softly as he lowered his muzzle politely into his halter for me. We headed inside and had a great lesson. Oz was extremely responsive to cues and the only complaint I had of him was that he had to be pushed into corners and manually kept on the rail–so my legs got a pretty good workout! I even cantered him twice which was a nice experience. I didn’t even have to use the stick my instructor gave me just in case. He started off quite nicely for me- especially the second time around. His canter was interesting, it was very smooth and there wasn’t as much of a rocking motion I had come to know from some of the other lesson horses. We worked on a lot of leg yielding and I noticed that Oz much preferred seat cues and a little more leg to the hauling I was doing to his poor face–who could blame him–I tried my best but I am still learning. All and all he was a great ride and I hope I get to ride him again sometime. We really have a lot in common. He does all sorts of equestrian sports with his human so he is an all-around kinda guy like me. He had to take a stay-cation at fat camp…er… I mean a different barn with dry lots (nuff said! now where did I put my own grazing muzzle?) And he is just a willing, friendly, easy-going guy. Kinda makes me want to look into gettin’ me one of them Fjords someday!