In a good way!
I have ridden everyday this past weekend and will be riding almost everyday for the foreseeable future. I’m a happy camper, as long as I don’t get too burnt out. The owner of the therapeutic riding barn I volunteer at hasn’t been able to ride her own horse much lately and asked me if I would be interested. YES was the answer. So, I ride a handsome, dressage trained, Appendix Quarter Horse gelding three days a week; I ride Louie, the lovely draft cross for my Wednesday lessons; and I will be exercise riding a couple of the therapy horses to get them prepped for an instructor certification course in June. All of this coming just as the weather is starting to get nice!
The Quarter horse, Sunny, came with a bit of a reputation. His owner even politely warned me of his personality quirks. He supposedly does NOT enjoy cantering and will let you know with the occasional crow hop or buck when asked to pick up the canter. He also apparently does this stomping thing if he is being pushed to the edge as a precursor to the alleged bucking.
Now, I am in no way a canter master as I have clearly detailed on this very blog. But so far, knock on wood, that horse hasn’t put a foot wrong for me yet! Of course he could dump me next ride for having said this out loud… but so far so good! The first couple times I rode him I didn’t ask him to canter at all but around the third ride I thought “well, we better have a look at what we’ve got to work with”. After watching him being lunged by the owner previously and seeing him, rather begrudgingly, pick up the canter, I assumed he wouldn’t choose it for himself so when he popped into a relaxed left lead canter while I was riding him I just decided to go with it and see how he acted. He seemed to want to get a bit of his energy out but he wasn’t particularly hot, he was listening to my aids when I asked him back into the trot. We swapped directions and this time I asked him to pick up the canter, he pinned his ears for a second and seemed upset that this time it wasn’t HIS idea to pick of the canter but he did, and we have cantered a little every time I have ridden him since and not a single buck or stomp. I can tell he would benefit from more canter transitions but we will approach that slowly and I’ll be very careful to push him just enough that I don’t break this thin thread of trust/comfort.
Not only is it nice to get some extra time in the saddle but it’s great to have a mini-“project” or something specific to work on with a horse- I’ve never really had that opportunity before and, if I really think about it, I have probably never been at the right level in my own training to take on a project.
There is a local show going on this Saturday that a friend and I are going to attend. It will be a fun day of pony and people watching!
Also, I am fundraising for one of our therapy horses for the next few weeks and would be so pleased if someone from the blog community decided to help me support the handsome Bodacious Martini (barn name Walter). Click here to check it out!