When presented with the opportunity to ride not once, but twice, on the same day, why would anyone say no? That’s the opportunity I was presented with this weekend. I started my day off in the usual way, with a trip out to the barn where Luc lives. Thanks to the less than stellar winter we’ve been having, everything at the barn is coated in a slippery layer of ice, making it ridiculously treacherous getting to and from the fields.
Jen (Luc’s owner and my sister) and I very carefully made our way out to Luc, and then with him in tow, even more carefully made our way back to the barn. Once there, we groomed him (and by we, I mean Jen), tacked him up and headed into the arena. I walked him around as usual, and then got on. I was prepared for fireworks, as Jen had warned me he’d been a bit wired earlier in the week. Instead I got a nice, relaxed partner.
He was round and forward and completely willing. It was lovely. We did some work at the walk, trot and canter, before moving onto some simple pole work. We did a series of trot poles in each direction, and then a series of canter poles.
Jen, being the wonderful enabler she is, put up a little fence for me. Luc and I haven’t jumped in a while, so we were both a little rusty. I botched the distance the first time over the small vertical, but being the good boy he is, Luc went anyways. The second time we hit our striding perfectly.
Then I changed directions. Upon approach I knew we didn’t have enough impulsion. I gave Luc a little more leg to move him up, but he wasn’t listening, and I wasn’t asking loud enough. I saw the short distance, Luc saw the long. He leapt, I got left behind, then caught up mid-air, and then collapsed onto his neck upon landing, taking a hard shot to the face from Luc’s neck. It was a beautiful example of what not to do.
Thankfully, I took the brunt of the force to my chin, which while sore, isn’t easily as breakable as say, my nose. Coming around a second time, I asked earlier for Luc to move up, and this time he listened. We hit our distance and I called it a day. After all, I still had another horse to ride.
After cooling Luc out, feeding him his breakfast, and putting him away, Jen and I headed off to barn number two, where a friend had invited me out to come and ride his horse. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
Arriving at the second barn, we were given a tour by another friend and former barn mate, Inger, who also now happens to be boarding at this location. It was so great catching up. Then Josh arrived, with our other friend Hannah in tow, and it was time to go and get my second mount of the day out of the field.
After tacking Fly Boy, aka Riley, up, Josh led him into the arena and got on him first, putting him through his paces and letting me see what he was capable of. He walked, trotted, cantered and jumped him over a sizable oxer. Then I hopped on.
What a change from Luc. He was hyper-responsive to my leg and really highlighted the fact I need to sit more squarely in the saddle. He was also more forward, which admittedly was both a nice change, and a challenge. I’m not used to the forwardness, so had to remind myself that no, in fact we were not going too fast. This was the type of ground a fully grown horse ought to cover.
Riley was such a good boy at the walk, trot and canter, I agreed to pop him over a miniscule cross rail. While I’ll happily jump Luc over three feet, I’m still not used to jumping other horses, so for my own confidence, I needed something small. We cantered down and Riley jumped it like a champ. Then I tried it the other way, and we hit our distance again perfectly. I called it a day there, one because I didn’t want to push my luck, and two, because I was already starting to feel a bit worn out. Riding two horses in one day is a lot of work for someone who typically only rides once a week!
A huge thank you to Josh from Shamrock Sporthorses for letting me take a ride on Riley, and as always, thank you to my amazing sister who so graciously lets me ride Luc every single weekend.