On Sunday I met up with my boyfriend’s mom who’s an eventer. We had been talking about seeing each other’s horses and possibly taking them each for a ride. On Sunday we finally made that work by going to each other’s barns.
We started off at my barn and the day started out interesting thanks to the weather. On Saturday it was in the mid 80’s, humid, and calm until a storm blew through in the evening but on Sunday it was in the low 60’s and there was a crazy wind. I knew it could be an interesting day and when I got Katai into the isle and crosstied her I saw that the barn owner had chosen that day to work on one of the sliding doors. He had power tools, lights, and things scattered all over the isle at one end and although he was making some effort to be polite it just wasn’t a good day for that. Katai, already on edge after the walk to the barn, just wasn’t having it with all of the commotion and was displeased at standing tied for any length of time. Luckily A (my boyfriend’s mom) is an experience horse person and eventer and she also has a horse that sometimes decides standing tied isn’t a good thing.
We got Katai tacked up quickly and in the ring where she could move forward. I put her on a lunge to work off some energy and just had her do a few circles in each direction until she lost the crazy look in her eyes. Then I mounted up and she, as usual, went right into calm, relaxed, work mode. She has been working so well recently and Sunday was no exception! She was relaxed and reaching forward and down into the bridle. I worked her for a little bit and did some canter in each direction and then I handed the reins over to A. She was able to mostly figure Katai out at the walk but when she tried to trot none of her cues were working. I didn’t realize at that point how polar opposite Katai and her horse, Sailor, are but now that I know that I can see exactly why she was having trouble. Katai got really hollow and tense so after a break of some walk and one more try at the trot I asked if I could get on. I was pleased that Katai went right back to her normal work once I was giving her cues that she recognized and at the end I even got one of the nicest stretchy trots that I’ve ever had. It was a little low and on the forehand but after her tense response to A I figured that was the perfect way to end so we quite on a good note. We got her groomed and I even blanketed her since it was supposed to be down to the 50’s overnight and after the last couple weeks of upper 80’s and 90’s that’s just too quick for her to adjust without getting sick.
After we finished at my barn we went to lunch and talked horses. We actually have very similar backgrounds. She’s a huge dressage fanatic but loves jumping and chose to keep eventing where I decided to go strictly to dressage. She does spend most of her time doing dressage with just the occasional jump lesson and a little jump work leading up to a competition. She’s owned and been riding Sailor for about 5-6 years and got him fully trained. He’s 12 years old and a warmblood (either Hanoverian or Oldenburg) crossed with a thoroughbred. It makes me feel like I’ve got a good goal to shoot for and hopefully Katai and I will be doing the types of things she’s working on when Katai’s 10-12 and I’ve been riding her for 5-6 years :-)
I have actually been with A to her barn before and I’ve seen her compete once as well. Sailor is a great, kind guy and really a beautiful horse. He’s got tons of suspension and is just the kindest soul. I was honored when she asked me to ride him because they are working at a much higher level than Katai and me. She’s currently just beginning the process towards flying changes and they’ve just recently become comfortable at counter canter. He’s got so many more buttons than Katai that I was studying her ride very carefully so that I could learn everything I could before I tried him out. She made him look easy but when I mounted up that was not the case for me. I’ve ridden a few horses that are right around his level which I would say would be similar to 2nd/3rd in Dressage but I just couldn’t figure out his buttons. A has a vast array of knowledge and had studied and ridden in clinics with some amazing professionals so she is certainly doing things right but I just couldn’t get him to do anything! It was slightly embarrassing but mostly just humorous to me that I’ve been riding for as long as I have been and just couldn’t get him to do anything really. A climbed back on after I threw in the towel and she was showing me his counter canter, which is amazing! He’s such a cool horse and they are an amazing team.
I think the best thing that came out of it was that I realized how much I love my pony. It’s easy to think that things might be better or easier if I had a normal sized horse but after riding him yesterday I realized that I don’t care, I love my pony. Don’t get me wrong, anyone would be lucky to own Sailor and he’s just incredible at both dressage and jumping but he’s just not my cup of tea. It’s nice to be content with my pony :-)