The Opposite End Of The Spectrum

I haven't been able to ride my own pony very much at all lately, but thankfully I have friends with awesome horses and indoor arenas at their disposal.

Yesterday Michael and I trekked down to visit with Rachel and Keri, and their fabulous steeds Toby and Jake. It was cold, miserable, and pouring down rain, but since they board at a barn with an indoor, we could still ride.

That whole concept is still amazing to me.

In all the years I've known Keri, I've never gotten to ride her horse Jake until this past weekend. Whenever I had the chance, I'd not been dressed to ride, or Keri wasn't at the barn when I was, or some other such thing. But yesterday I finally got to take a spin on her little TB, and let me tell you, he is one of the coolest horses I've ever sat on!

Jake is, essentially, the complete opposite of Dino. He reminded me a lot of a horse I used to ride named Shady, who was a hot, sensitive TB jumper. And like Shady, Jake can be a little terrifying to watch. He is all speed and energy and head-in-the-air, mildly-out-of-control flailing legs. I expected myself to be somewhat intimidated by him.

But when I swung my leg over Jake's back and started to walk around and warm him up, I felt totally at home. When riding most horses, the rider needs to create energy and gather up the back legs so that the horse pushes themselves forward from the hind end, making the front end lighter. On Jake, the rider just needs to manage his energy. I found myself getting confused when looking for his hind legs, because they were already right there under my seat, and his shoulder was already super light. Instead of riding his hind end, Keri told me to concentrate more on his shoulder, and that helped to contain Jake's need for constant motion. At the walk and trot he was pretty straightforward: light seat, light hands, and only thinking about upward transitions instead of using leg. I was able to get some nice, round work from him and his ultra-sensitivity made him really fun to ride! The canter, though, is a whole 'nother story with Jake. To Jake, cantering means jumping, which means WE GO FAST. But Jake's insane speed cannot be contained by sitting back and keeping a steady feel on his mouth. That gets you more fast, and a bonk in the face with his ears. It was a real challenge for me to figure out what Jake's "good" canter felt like, and while I got it for a stride or two at a time, I still didn't have him 100% in the canter. He definitely took off with me once or twice. Even so, I had an absolute BLAST riding him! We even jumped a little crossrail on a circle a few times, and he is the most fun thing in the world to jump because he loves it so much. With Jake there is no hesitation, you just have to tell him which fence and he takes care of the rest, albeit at Mach 5. I can't wait to jump some bigger fences then next time I get to ride him!

Here are Jake and I getting to know each other. I'm attempting to follow him with my hand and not get too heavy. It looks a little rough, but man he is a FUN ride!

I had a great morning riding with my friends, as usual, and it was really good for me to get on Jake and ride a horse that is complicated and completely different from Dino. It reminded me that I'm actually a decent rider, I can ride 'big' horses, and I can ride hot horses. And have fun doing it!


  1. Sounds like lots of fun, glad you're getting some rides in even with the crappy weather!

    1. I'm trying to get on a horse here and there and not get too out of shape!


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