|Rach and I being twinsies!|
Last night I headed down to spend some quality pony time with my girls Rachel and Keri, and their noble steeds Toby and Jake. Like me, they're essentially on their own when it comes to training their (super quirky) horses, and once in a while we all like to get together and help each other out. I helped Rachel tweak some small things in her position on the flat which made a DRAMATIC difference for Toby - his whole balance shifted uphill and she was able to maintain a consistent, connected contact. It was really cool to see how fixing a few little bad habits and position issues transformed her horse's way of going!
After Rachel's fantastic flat ride, I hopped up on Toby myself. And promptly felt as if I couldn't ride. I don't often get to ride other horses, so every time I get the chance to sit on someone else's steed there's an adjustment period I need to go through in order to realize that the horse I'm on is Not Dino. And while he's a super great guy, Toby is not an easy ride! He's physically a lot of horse compared to my little pony, and can be really creative in his evasions. Toby is a workout and a half just to keep put together, and I had a heck of a time just figuring out how to keep all his body parts where I wanted them. Toby's language is very, very different from Dino's. We ended by trotting over a couple little crossrails, and I just couldn't figure out how to get Toby to actively jump them instead of throwing in a weird pause at the base of each fence. I was expecting him to pat the ground and hop over the little jump each time, and he just... didn't. Very frustrating. It helped to think of Toby as if he were a green horse needing lots of support and hand-holding, but it was definitely tough for me to ride a horse that didn't take initiative when jumping.
Then there was Jake. He is just the coolest. Jake reminds me of an OTTB jumper I used to ride - and love - in the couple years after college before I got Dino. He's incredibly sensitive, and can be easily rattled, but has such a good heart and so much try. Keri's also been doing a ton of hard work with Jake on the flat, and it really showed last night. He is definitely more my type of ride, requiring a lot of finesse and quiet conversation. I understand the language of Jake! I was also pretty pleased with myself for remembering to stay up over his shoulder instead of trying to drive his hind end forward, and Jake rewarded me with some really lovely flatwork. He was so much fun! Riding both Toby and Jake was so good for me, and exercised my brain and body in ways that I don't normally get to. Plus I got to spend time with two of my favorite people, which made for a perfect evening!
More fun things are up ahead!
October 5th is a clinic taught by Nona Garson being held at Rachel's barn. It's only $15 to audit, so I'll be attending and soaking up all the knowledge.
October 12th is our second horse trial! My entry made its merry way to the post office just the other day. We'll be at BCHP again in the Elementary division. I absolutely love that this venue is so, so close. I'm so spoiled. YAY EVENTING! I have the bug. Totally.
I've also reached out to some event trainers in my area to see if any of them are willing to take me on as a student for the occasional lesson. While I can't go full-tilt into a training program with anyone, I'd definitely love a few lessons from a pro! Lucky for me, Eastern PA is a hot bed of big name eventers, because if you're going to pay for lessons, you may as well pay for the best of the best to teach you, amiright?!