I’ve been riding Joker three days a week, give or take. The assistant trainers at the barn I’m at are riding in the evenings when I get there. Having over horses around makes Joker happy which makes me happy. We haven’t started him on omeprazole yet but Elise ordered it so hopefully that won’t be too much longer in coming.
I feel like I finally have a good feel for how to ride this horse without fighting but without being a pushover. He can be very forward and spicy when he wants to be which sound like a sassy dark bay mare we all know… But it’s the type of ride I really enjoy. Elise drove down on Monday so we could give Joker a racing stripe because after 30 minutes of work, he’s been getting pretty sweaty and I don’t fancy walking him out for ages and ages in the freezing cold.
Joker had never been body clipped and, while the other horse on the crossties next to him was there, he did well. However, when that horse left, we forget all our manners and wiggled and jigged and otherwise made coordinated lines impossible.
I give you…. the most ghetto, hilarious clip ever.
It may be ugly but it does the job. After Elise speed clipped the jigging 2(1) year old, she said she’d be happy to watch if I felt like riding. Did I feel like riding after a 9 hour day and wrestling a horse who didn’t want to be body clipped? Yes, yes I did.
I rode for maybe 20 minutes but felt like I got some good work. He was a bit bracy, I think in light of the fact that the other horse left the arena early on in the ride. There was a little head flipping in the canter but no bucking or bizarre Spanish walking. After the first 10 minutes, he settled in nicely and we worked in a few serpentines, rein backs, and things to change up the track around the arena. Note to self: at future barns, be wary when there is junk (hay bales, tractors, drags, random tarps, buggies) stacked in every corner. It makes the 116 x 80 arena feel a lot more like 80 x 80 which isn’t enough to even do a dressage test in.
But I digress. I’m really, really enjoying riding this little guy. We measured him at right at 14.2 which explains why I look like I have the longest legs in the world on him (I’m 5’5″). We’re having much more good than bad and I feel like I’m home again. For the first week or so, I felt a bit unstable. But since then, I feel like I’m getting noticeably stronger with each ride. I feel like I can push him into the bridle with my seat and really control his shoulders with my thighs (pro tip: horses who thought they were retired to pony ride life are not amused when you ask them to use their bodies at first). I feel like my leg isn’t correct yet but given that I’m in a close contact saddle, I try to not be too harsh on myself. When Elise showed me the pictures she took, I was pleasantly surprised – I don’t look like a complete sack of potatoes for someone three weeks in after not riding for 5 years. Hey, maybe I can ride.
As for Nibbles, Elise is riding her 3 to 4 days/week and she is doing really well. I’m tickled to hear she is maintaining without 5+ days needed since I am going to have to maintain employment for at least a few more years ha! Elise reports that Nibbles is finally understanding that stretching feels good. She doesn’t maintain it long term yet but she’s finally really getting the stretchy trot.
The canter remains her biggest challenge – you still can’t completely sit the canter without Nibbles losing her balance/hollowing out. In a half seat, she’s perfect. I’m hoping a chiropractic visit and continued regular work will only help her get stronger. It’s so easy to forget that she’s only been under saddle in actual work since May. That’s six and a half months. From barely backed to where she is now, I’m thrilled!