Thursday, December 15, 2011

Riding Diary: 2

Horse: Betty & Freckles
           - Owned by the barn I work at

Bit: Snaffle
- one was a weaver D Ring with copper roller, the other I'm not sure

Time: 1.5 each horse

Ride: So this was my actual, real life, first lesson at my barn! Exciting! Both Freckles & Betty are 6, both are pretty well broke, and both were started on the flag a couple days ago, so it's interesting to see how each one progresses/changes since they are so similar in age/how much they know. They both have really different backgrounds though, Betty was trained at/by Olds College, and her owner thinks that is the reason she's really good with all her cues, like lead changes and what not. Freckles was a roping horse that was pretty much given up on by her previous owner. She had a tendency to pull back, due to pain in her poll, and because of it she was pretty much given to my trainer for free because her previous owner hated her so much. Pretty sad story, especially because she is the nicest little mare, she's so forgiving and in your pocket cute. Today I stood with her and we just straight up cuddled for about 20 minutes. She's really captured my heart, plus, she's gorgeous, she has a bit of a short neck/big head going on, but otherwise she has a dark chestnut coat and a flaxen mane and tail, both really long, and then a big white blaze with chestnut freckles.. hence the name. Betty sort of looks like a buffalo haha, she's this short stocky fuzzy sorrel, but what she lacks in flash she's a really nice ride.

I started out on Betty, she used to have issues with her stop but apparently she's over that. My trainer commented that I have a really good seat/hands with my stop, so that's good. Then we worked her on the flag, I've only ever worked a horse on a flag twice, and it was a finished cutting horse so obviously he knew what he was doing and where he needed to be. Betty kept drifting away from the flag on me and I struggled to keep her square and at that perfect distance. Then my trainer jumped on when some english riding clients came and showed them how the flag worked, they seemed pretty amazed by the whole thing. It's funny because my barn is so english and western but you often forget about how different the two worlds really are sometimes.

Then I rode Freckles, my trainer commented that I really need to work on leg and hand placement, especially around turns and recommended I do a lot of saddle time at a trot working on figure 8's and turns. I really struggle with hand contact, I've always ridden horses, on trails, in curb bits, and so I'm use to neck reining and really loose, long reins. So the minute I'm "on" a horses face I feel like i'm ruining their mouths, so then I drop my reins and it goes to shit. I just need to remember to keep a small amount of contact and to not lose focus on the rest of my body while I do it. He's right, lots of time in the saddle, working at the slow stuff and one day i'll be a pro at the fast stuff.

I'm also finding that the horses just don't seem as responsive to my leg as they do to his, obviously he's a way higher level rider than I am but I also have to wonder about his spurs. Clearly I'm not ready for spurs, but obviously spurs are going to slightly desensitize a horses side, it's not like he rakes or anything, he's very gentle with them, but all the horses at my barn are ridden with spurs and it just seems that my leg, no matter how hard I'm pressing, doesn't seem to get the message across. Is that my issue? or are they just not as sensitive to my heel? Hm.. things to think about.

For Next Time: Lots of slow walk and trot stuff, collection, and working on my hand and leg placement in turns and circles. :)

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