Saturday, September 5, 2009

Today I went to test ride one of the horses I might lease. This nice boy is a 6 year old Hanoverian gelding. He is 16.2 and although my usual horse is the same height, this horse feels SO much bigger!

I was pretty nervous riding in front of his owner. It felt like a test! I didn't expect to be quite so self-conscious and I don't think it helped my riding at all! It was just my luck that today my back was also really hurting, so that didn't help. I've had back pain for the last few months and it's totally related to work - the more I have to sit at my desk, the more problems I experience. When I was doing physio for my wrist, I got some good ideas on how to help my back. It's been working well, but today I woke up sore.

Here we are just warming up.
This boy has a great trot. He's testing me in this picture, checking to see if I really want him to a) work nicely soft & round and, b) stay on the rail. My reins are too long and my stirrups are too short for flat work; that means I am back a bit too far in the saddle. Grrr.
No wonder he was testing me!

Here we are in canter and I think it's better looking , though my reins are still too long. His owner had told me how the previous rider to try him cranked his head in rollkur style and she wasn't really thrilled with that. I think that made me ultra careful not to ask for too much. Since I've never seen him go, it's hard to know how to ride him. I also lack confidence and was unsure of myself, grrrr!This is probably the nicest horse I have ever ridden, even though I didn't give him the best ride. I honestly think that within a couple rides I would be much better with him. I just hope his owner sees that! He gave a few playful bucks and I was surprised at how hard it was to keep his head up when he decided to drop it! And even his little bucks felt very powerful. It was nuts. I didn't have a problem staying on and keep him going but I also think I should have been able to stop him before he did it.

I wish I had more confidence in my ability but somehow I convince myself that I suck. Maybe I need to show next year to get an objective opinion! I hope his owner saw enough good stuff to still consider me but I wasn't sure how to read her after my ride. We'll see, I guess.

I am trying another horse on Wednesday. This is really harder than I thought it would be!


HorseOfCourse said...

It is not easy to ride at your best in a stressing situation, and I am sure the owner understands that too.
My guess is that she sees that you are an experienced rider who also could ride out the bucks.

If it was me I would also try and make sure whether this was a person I could trust and had a good chemistry with. To me that is just as important (maybe even more) than riding ability.

To my experience it takes between half a year to a year to learn how to ride a new horse well. A horse is not a car; all have their quirks and bottons.

And RuckusButt, I don't believe your reins were too long in pic two. It is the horse that is lowering the back instead of reaching forward to a contact. Be very careful to not to solve that problem by shortening the reins. Try instead to engage the horse's hindlegs more, getting the horse to seek contact with the bit with a rounder back.
See what happens next time if you introduce some supplying exersises like transitions on circles and leg yields.
Check out if it was just his reaction on a new person on his back, or if it is a more ingrained habit.
Have you seen his owner ride him?

RuckusButt said...

Thanks Horse of Course, I needed to hear the message that it takes time from someone else!

And you're right, it wasn't all me, he was definitely testing me by throwing out a bunch of different stuff. I thought my reins were too long mainly because in some of the pics when I was trying to ask for something or correct a buck etc., my hands were in my abdomen :)

I did do many transitions and some leg-yielding and that did help some. I found it a bit difficult because the ring was FULL of jumps. I would have preferred to make use of the whole arena. You're right though, I didn't really encourage enough engagement in the hind-end. I blame nerves and always riding school horses!

I really like his owner though, we get along well so far. She rides with my instructor which would be a big bonus for both of us and the horse, of course!

I am confident that it is just a reaction to a new rider. My instructor has seen him go and thinks I will work really well with him. I SHOULD have gotten his owner to ride him first but hey, I'm new at this! He is currently showing on the flat and doing very well, so I'm not at all concerned about ingrained bad habits.

Anonymous said...

It takes a long time to adjust to riding a different horse - they feel different to us and we feel different to them. The connection isn't immediate, and every horse has its own time to allow you to be with them. The horse you were riding looked very nice - I hope that works out for you!

RuckusButt said...

Hi Kate! Thanks so much for your comments. It really helps to hear your message, no matter how often! I watch people like my instructor who can get on pretty much any horse and have a good, productive ride and it makes a mere mortal like me feel very inadequate!

I really hope it works out too! I am forcing myself not to email the owner with a bunch of excuses for my poor riding :-/

I am trying another horse on Wednesday and hope I feel a little more like "I've done this before" so I'm not so much of a fish out of water!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Ok, that is certainly no Fjord. :-) He's beautiful. Good luck with the next test ride. Will you get a chance to ride the horses more than once? Good luck on the search.

I may have fallen behind in reading...but will you still be riding Edgar from time to time.