A Horse Blogger Reunion with Niamh!
Y'all, blog friends are the greatest.
While Niamh and I only live about an hour away from each other, it had been literal YEARS since we'd spent any time together in person. So when I retired Dino and Niamh invited me down to spend an afternoon with her and ride her classy horse Scout and her sale pony Frenchie, I jumped at the chance! It was SO GOOD to see her again and we, of course, spent hours talking horses and horse people, and could have kept going for another few hours. We can't help it. It's just who we are.
Niamh had me hop on Frenchie first, her cute little project pony. Despite being the same height as Dino, Frenchie is built SO much daintier, and I actually felt kind of big on her! She had no trouble at all carrying me, though, and was absolutely awesome making the long, hilly trek up to the ring. I hacked her up there on the buckle, totally relaxed. For such a green pony she is a trail riding machine, and was so in her element out in the open!
She's still pretty green to ring work, however, and would much prefer to be galloping over hill and dale and jumping things instead of going in circles in a ring with a rider trying to make her go slow and on the bit, thankyouverymuch. Frenchie is a sassy, smart, spicy little thing, and while we didn't always see eye to eye on things like how fast we should be going or where her body parts should be at any given time, I had fun trying to puzzle her out and figure out how to talk to this hot little opinionated pony mare! She is going to be an absolute BLAST for a scrappy kid who wants to event or foxhunt or show jump!
Scout is the opposite of Frenchie in pretty much every way, and guys, I ADORE him. If he ever goes missing, please tell Niamh not to look in my backyard. This horse just oozes class, and despite his huge size, his sweet demeanor made me feel confident swinging a leg over. He'd just been coming back from a minor injury, so Niamh set a timer and let me do his walk and trot rehab work.
The big lesson that Scout taught me that day was that big horses don't have to feel huge and unwieldy and hard to balance and put together. Riding Scout was curiously similar to riding Dino, actually - They both are a bit long in the body for their height, and riding them is all about constantly pushing their hind legs up under them. It doesn't hurt that Scout also has an absolutely fabulous work ethic that makes him an utter delight to ride! He was constantly checking in with me, offering up whatever I asked for, and was just so rideable and adjustable and light off the aids. I can't think of many horses I've ridden who are that attentive and generous, in addition to being a beautiful mover! I had so, so much fun riding him. Scout is a really special horse, and I'm so happy that my friend Niamh is his person!
The past couple months of my riding life have filled me with so much gratitude for the friends I've made in this sport. My world is filled with people who understand exactly what I'm going through, and the generosity of those who have offered rides on their horses is absolutely overwhelming. It really is an enormous blessing to have so many wonderful friends in my corner.