My Cousin Vinny.
I also feel it's a measure of my own abilities for me to be able to get on a completely different horse for the first time and pilot them around accurately and quietly. Sure, I have two mares that are complete opposites that teach me different things, but they are still comfortable opposites that I ride all the time.
I have had the privilege of riding four horses here, all different. Ranging from a green OTTB to a solid third level dressage horse.
Each of these four were awesome for different reasons, and I learned something from each one. The green OTTB didn't have a lot of strength for correct balance. He would counter bend to the left and fall out through his shoulder, which was easy to correct. His left lead is still a bit tough from him, but we got it. He also was plugging along at the trot at first and I had him to open up his stride and move out. He is a lanky thing, he definitely has a big trot, but just doesn't know it yet. We got a couple smooth canter departs and one small fit but to his credit, as soon as he got over it, he was over it. It was like it never happened, and honestly I'm not sure what it was about. I think he saw something and spooked at it because he jumped to the right and then hopped around a little bit. One canter depart he leaped into like he was having a flash back to coming out of the gate at the track. It was fun though, because I could feel a lot of lift in his front end, he's very floaty. That boy is going to be fancy once he gets some more solid training on him.
Monty, look at those long legs!
I rode a school master NSH red mare that I absolutely loved. I took her out for a hack and schooled some xc jumps. She likes to chip in, but I got her to xc fences at the correct spot. She was having a great time too. She was super responsive too. I seriously don't understand the red mare bias. I have never found that to be true, and this mare proved it to be untrue again.
Mary mare ready to get to work. I miss coming here with my girls.
I rode a nice OTTB that is looking for a home where he can have a career of dressage and/or showjumping. So, if anyone out there is looking for a nice gelding for dressage and/or showjumping let me know, and I'll put you in touch with my friend. He is located in Tallahassee, FL. I did a dressage school on him and he is quiet, balanced, and responsive. He reminded me that I needed to be a bit more consistent with contact on the outside rein. He has a FANTASTIC personality too! He is a really fun guy both under saddle and in the barn. I sincerely hope the right person comes along for him. Though, he is in a great spot and his current owner will not just sell him to anyone. So he WILL find the right person eventually.
I took a dressage lesson on a Trakehner gelding that is well schooled through third level. The instructor told me that some people have trouble getting him round so don't be surprised if that was the case. It wasn't the case. We warmed up, I got him round and carrying himself correctly. In the warm up she showed me something to add to our warm up to get them to lift their back a bit more when warming up at the canter. We worked on proper bend for shoulder-in and haunches-in as well as lateral work. She showed me a new way to get control of the shoulders to prepare for a more correct shoulder-in. I also worked on medium trot because that is next on Klein's list. This way I have the correct feel for it. This guy was the perfect because he is very willing, but he won't give you what you want unless you make sure to ask it correctly. I love learning from horses like this. That kind of thing is invaluable. He also was a teddy bear. He was so sweet and cuddly.
Look at that face, such a sweet boy.
I am excited to take back everything I learned from these horses and use it with my own. I'm seriously starting to consider picking up a few different horses to school when I get home. I know this would take away my amateur status but I really don't care anymore. It's not that important to me. Open is fine. I care more about learning more and continuing to improve my own skills, as well as teach some horses new things that they didn't know they could do. I also would love to help give their riders some more confidence that they might need by getting to watch their horse schooling out of their personal comfort zone.
I go home this week and I can't wait! It's been a long five and a half weeks for different reasons and I'm ready to actually be home and spend time with The Other Half before he has to leave for another work trip shortly after I get home. I already have some horsey adventures planned with friends, and on a really exciting note, Mochs is looking ready to go! The Other Half sends me videos almost daily of her trotting so I can see how she looks, and she's looking great!