If you have a blog that is remotely horse related, I feel like a post with this title or something close to it will eventually happen. I’m surprised it took me this long…
BUT ANYWAYS – (almost three weeks ago now…) I rode for the first time since my surgery!!
And I was at times wobbly, out-of-sorts, position-out-the-window (wat r diagonals ??) as one might expect.
BUT it was AMAZING!!
Even if I sort of question whether we’re at a stable or just outside a maximum security prison. #unfortunatebarbwire
Thanks to a happy accident of my sister pushing down the camera button on my android phone (thinking she was taking a video), she gifted me with over 200 pictures. So I think I’m set for a while.
I also got a gif! Unfortunately, I can’t crop that 70% of dirt without breaking it, so mostly-dirt it shall stay.
Instructor got moved out to her new location back in May, around the time of my surgery. Some improvements have already been made, but the former Arabian breeding/showing stable pretty much sat for 8 or 9 years after the owner unexpectedly passed away. Maybe I’ll have more of the history and background in a later post, but the important thing for this one is that among the handful of Arabians left was Sam. 17 year-old former top-10 2yo colt at Scottsdale and also breeding stallion (no idea when or why he was gelded) who showed hunt seat and western pleasure. Can ya tell with his frame?
I was actually going to ride Jillie, but trainer offered up Sam and having spent my formative years on hunt-seat Arabs, it always feels a little bit like coming home when I get the chance to sit on one. I questioned my choice slightly upon learning I was going to be the first one to ride him in the outdoor (and just sixth ride total since his un-retirement), but Instructor M assured me he was a solid citizen and we started off in the indoor.
He took barely any pressure on the reins or with my legs, but he also wasn’t reactive. He started off pretty shuffly, but I really couldn’t blame the guy and as we did some circles and changes of direction (and later, the ground poles) he was able to move out a bit more. Instructor also had me try some baby leg yields, which to her knowledge he didn’t have any experience with. His little ears were swiveling back and forth the first time I set the outside rein and squeezed my inside leg, trying to figure out if he was supposed to turn his nose in or go faster, but soon enough we got some baby steps! Then we got a bit the other direction, and even a solid attempt at the trot before my lesson partner was ready to go to the outdoor. So, lots of pats for that!
As the picture above shows, there were a few… quirks that made me question my choice of mount again during the lesson. The head thing actually wasn’t naughty and I’m sure is due to his likely poor teeth, but I didn’t have any pictures of some squirrely moves regarding the terrifying horse-eating forest at the other end of the arena. (side note Instructor doesn’t own him (or the other Arabs) but has been asked to sell them – hence not wanting to throw too much of her own money on them which I completely understand)
The horse-eating forest eventually became more inviting because it was considerably cooler than the other end of the arena, and as Mr. Sam got going with the ground poles he felt more confident to try sneaking into a canter. I couldn’t help but laugh because at no point did it feel like he’d be zooming anywhere, it was just him (not so subtly) trying to change our two-beats into three at the same pace. Instructor admitted she hadn’t cantered him yet and, as he likely could use a good chiropractor work, wasn’t sure how he’d be. I wasn’t really looking to guinea pig much more than I had on my first ride back, so after the video below I allowed Sam all of three strides to canter or something similar (so easy! so comfy!) and after that he was satisfied to be done!
Anywho, video (which sister did eventually figure out)! Feel free to mute, it’s basically the other lesson kids mom and younger sibling chatting/giggling and a few comments from instructor. As mentioned earlier, my previous sixteen years of knowing how to “rise with the outside” shoulder disappeared this lesson, which is fun to have on video.
I managed to unearth it for my lesson last Thursday thankfully, but seriously Sam is the cutest and ended up being the perfect first-back ride for me :)
Hopefully won’t be another month for me to write about my second lesson, which was also great, but in the holy workout batman kind of way.