In Which I Ride Some Majestikal Ponies


This is Jen. Jen is one of my very favorite humans in the entire world, so much so that I made her the Maid of Honor in my wedding. I don't get to see her much since she had to up and move far away (COME BACK), but we were able to have a wonderful pony-filled girls' weekend this past week!

Jen is a trainer and barn manager, and we met in college in the Equine Studies program, so when I visit her horses obviously factor pretty majorly into our time together!

After helping feed, clean stalls, and turn out the horses, we started in on our rides for the afternoon. Which began with this adorable, hairy creature:

Her owner is going to need to buy stock in Show Sheen and clipper blades.
Meet Madely.

Madely is a 3 year old Gypsy Horse that Jen just started under saddle. 'Just' as in she's only had a handful of rides and is still working out walking with a human sitting on her back. Her job will eventually be to be a kid's pleasure and local show pony, but for now she's just beginning to learn the ins and outs of being a riding horse.

She's also the third Gypsy that Jen has trained, and while I was initially skeptical of just what these round, furry, spotted cobs are even good for, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed with Madely's brain and temperament. Things that you might expect to spook or startle a young horse didn't phase her, she has an extremely calm demeanor, and she seems to be taking all of the new experiences that training brings in stride.

With Jen on board
It was really fun to watch Madely test the limits of what the rules were under saddle and figure out how this whole 'riding' thing worked. Once in a while she would balk and pop her hind end up, testing to see if "walk forward" was still a requirement. Jen calmly kept her forward aids engaged until Madely walked off again, and her little tantrums got less and less severe as the ride went on, until she obediently walked around the indoor. She definitely has some pony'tude, but seems like she's going to be a super fun, super smart pony for Jen to work with!

THEN I GOT TO RIDE HER.

IT'S SO FLUFFY I WANNA DIE! 
Madely was a really good baby. She is already very responsive to seat aids, and happily marched off wherever I asked her to. I was even able to ride her towards and then away from Jen, which was a big deal since Jen is her one-woman "herd" and she's used to following her from the groundwork they've done so far. The steering still needs to be installed, but I was impressed with Madely's big, swinging walk and willingness to do what I, a new rider, asked without a fuss.

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While I don't think I'd ever want to own a Gypsy Horse just because of the sheer amount of hair they come with, I definitely have a newfound appreciation for the breed as a solid, sensible pleasure horse.

After Madely was done working, we switched gears entirely and I got to hop on Jen's fabulous little Arabian gelding, Picante. It was a day of riding the most majestikal breeds.

Jen and Picante looking adorbs, as usual.
When I first met Jen and Picante in college, they were kind of a hot mess.

He was everything bad you would assume of an Arabian: spooky, hot, and overly-sensitive. Asking him to do the most simple task, like walking over a ground pole, would send the horse into a total meltdown. Picante had one hell of a spook in him, could bolt with the best of them, and his narrow body and microscopic center of balance would have you eating dirt before you even knew what happened. If you so much as touched him with your leg, you'd be shooting off at warp speed in an unknown direction. To jump Picante was to risk your life.

In short, he was not a fun horse to ride.

But Jen kept trying, kept working, kept learning, Picante mellowed out and learned to accept the leg, and today he is the best beginner lesson horse you've ever seen in addition to being one heck of a little sports car of a dressage horse! Picante is now an absolute delight to ride, and Jen's turned him into my most favorite kind of ride - little, fun, and sporty!

Dressage Horse Picante is a blast to ride.

Blurry screen shots for all!

WHEEEEE

This little horse is too fun!
I had such fun cruising around on Picante while Jen hacked her boss's Very Fancy warmblood jumper.  Over the years he's had a lot of buttons installed, and it's awesome to ride a horse that is as laterally responsive and flexible as he is. All I had to do was change the direction of my hips, and Picante would flow effortlessly into shoulder-in, haunches-in, or half-pass. He's also got a killer extended trot, though I couldn't quite find that button during this ride!

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Despite the bitter cold, I had a fantastically fun day with my best friend. I love getting to ride horses outside of the norm of the TB's and WB's that are so prevalent in my area, and it was cool to have my negative assumptions about Gypsy Horses challenged, and see how Picante has continued to improve since I last rode him. I can't wait until my next visit with Jen!

Comments

  1. What a fun day!! Glad you got to reconnect.

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  2. Aww so many ponies! And what a wonderful day. :)

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  3. Jen sounds fantastic!! Is she single?

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    Replies
    1. Totally fantastic, not single. ;)

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    2. Bummer!! Her man must be equally fantastic

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  4. Aw, what a fun day!

    There's a young Gypsy stallion that spent last show season boarded at the barn where Moe and Gina lived- he was just a doll, and you'd never guess he was a stallion. He'd go to shows, be in lessons, etc. and just be as nice as you please. Their temperament is great! (The hair...not so much!)

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  5. Horse-filled girls weekends are the best kind!

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  6. So jealous of your awesome fun horsey friend filled weekend!!! Sounds like a blast all around!!!

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  7. The name Picante is actually so friggen cute.

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  8. Sounds like a fun visit! Human besty, and pony rides!

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  9. Loooove that little arabian! Seems like such a fun dude!

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    Replies
    1. He is SO fun! Zippy and compact and super adjustable!

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  10. That sounds like such a fun day! I agree with you on the Gypsy cobs. I LOVE them and their attitude but personally I couldn't handle all the fuzziness haha

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  11. hah its funny that hes 'spicy' and his name is picante.

    I also liked that you called madely a hairy little cob, v british :)

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  12. What a fun day! I love that little cob- totally adorable.

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  13. That sounds like such a great adventure!

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  14. Cute ponies! When I'm old and retired, I'm going to get a hairy cobby pony and just putter around and do it's hair and stuff ;)

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  15. Awww, riding babies is the best :) And she's so fluffy I'm gonna die!

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  16. Behaved arabs for the win. Also, I agree, gypsies have TOO MUCH HAIR lol At least for me.

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