I can't really think of a good internet name for my leased horse, so I'm going to call him Brumby on here...he looks about as far from an Australian Brumby while still being a horse as it gets. But he may act like one. I was going to ask the owner how she feels about me blogging about him...but honestly, it feels weird, so I'll wait until we know each other better.
I had my first real ride (second actual ride) on Brumby Friday evening. It went well. I obviously still need to get used to him before I feel like I'm riding him well. His shape is very different from what I'm used to and I can feel the muscle memory is just not there like it is on my usual mount. I find it okay going down in size, but going up - especially width, is harder. Suddenly, I feel like I'm pinching with my knees. Overall, the ride was pretty good and I got a sense of just how nice he will be to ride once we find our groove. Some really amazing canter. We took it really easy since he had only been to his new barn for 4 days. I felt good.
Sunday was my next ride. I decided to ride outside since the weather was not too bad. I thought it would give him a chance to look around areas he probably hadn't been yet. I was in the mood for an easy hack. There is a nicely groomed 1/2 mile track so it was perfect for my goals for the day.
I expected Brumby to be very interested in his surroundings, since it was all new to him. He was actually very spooky at a few points. I tried to just keep him moving while also letting him look around a little. Once, he grew roots at one of the 2 scary spots. Since he was already stopped I let him look around while I made sure to relax even more. I asked for forward and got it, although tentatively. After several steps he spooked again and reared. I'm not talking a little hop, I could see my brand new polo wraps at eye level! Pretty :-/
I brought him down like I've read about 100 times but never had to do. All is well and somehow we are walking forward again. I thought perhaps I pulled on his mouth when he spooked, thereby encouraging a rear. I really didn't think so but was willing to give the horse the benefit of the doubt at first. Then it happened again. This time, I was SURE I didn't pull. I brought him down again. I wasn't really sure how to balance not letting him get away with this behaviour with not being in danger. This was my third time on his back and I didn't want to push him too much in case he really exploded.
I stayed calm throughout, that is one thing I know I'm good at, but disappointment was in the background. We did some nice forward trot and transitions to more collected trot, walk and halt. Mostly okay. I finished the ride on a good note. As soon as I untacked, I hand-walked him to the "spooky spots" and gave him some carrot pieces when he relaxed.
Perhaps I should have hand-walked before riding? I thought I was taking it pretty easy on him while also trying to just get forward movement. I spoke to the owner and she didn't seem to think it was weird, she said she wasn't surprised. Um, I was!! This is what worries me most of all. Combined with his poor ground manners, I think this horse is spoiled.
I am fine with a challenge but I'm not dealing with a rearing habit (I would if it were my own horse but not if I'm paying to ride it!!). I felt secure the whole time and was not afraid. Although I did kinda say "Wholy shit" to myself on the way home, lol. We'll see how it goes.
I hope to get new pictures soon. This is from the test ride.