in horses, riding

Moss: the 17h TB with a walnut brain

horseI’ve settled into Cheshire Riding School nicely, partially because they have lessons that run into the early evening, so I can ride even if I don’t get off work until after 5pm. I started out with one group lesson and have managed to worm my way into a private and a loan (the titular walnut brain), so I’m quite pleased.  The vibe at the riding school is good so far, less tense than many places I’ve been, and I will admit to being a bit starry eyed over the all-weather gallops they have.  Between that and the the gorgeous TB stride that Moss showed off on a hack, I was easily convinced to loan him. And, because he doesn’t jump, it means I still get to ride other horses when we jump in lessons, something I really enjoy.

The loan started two weeks ago, so I’ve been riding five times a week (instead of the three I usually did).  The two rides on my own in the arena were only okay (I am certainly out of practice in the riding without instruction thing!), but the hack was…genius. I went  before work, so the yard was suuuuper quiet, and we had the farm ride all to ourselves.  Moss doesn’t get to go out often ( I don’t think he’s been out on a hack without me riding him in months), and he absolutely loves it. Steps out with ears straight ahead and absolutely flings himself into a trot that I think is actually impossible to sit. It’s nearly impossible to post! He was on the buckle about 90% of the time, and for a supposedly flighty TB, he really showed himself to be a solid citizen. We are certainly doing that at least once a week! Weather allowing, I suppose. (Especially as today it is freezing. I am crossing my fingers for Tuesday morning being the one “nice” morning we have this week. Although as long as the sun is out like it is today, I’m sure it will go well.)

This week, we’ll work on being consistent and calm.  I really have to think hard about how I ride him as he is an interesting combination of very sensitive and the sort that needs firm direction. Basically it means I have to ride very, very correctly from the leg to hand as anything but calm and consistent turns into us working at cross purposes. (Me: slow down at the canter! Moss: you’re pulling on my face! I must run away! Me: Oops, sorry!) Luckily, he’s a very sweet horse and tries his heart out, so he doesn’t hold my inability to ride all that well against me too much.

I’m also hoping that the lovely weather this weekend helped dry out the arena a bit, as we were definitely slopping around last week, and neither of us are huge fans of boggy bits in arenas. We were lucky Monday night as the center of the arena was basically dry and firm, but it was mud central around the outside, and the 17 hands worth of legs make short work of a long side cut short by puddles.  It was mostly a good ride, although the canter is still…erratic.  I think I might have been gripping a bit with my right hand as well, as I noticed that we both had a definite sort of twist in that direction when we tried to track left.

The lesson on Friday went well, though.  I’d spent most of the ride over visualizing “pretty” canter transitions, and we got them!   I now just have to figure out a way to visualize shoulder-in, I think. For some reason, that movement always makes me tense up, and I forget what it is, actually, we are going for.

Oh well, if I did everything correctly, there’d be no point, right? Sigh.