Saturday, April 6, 2013

Introductions: The Equines!

In the first post, I told you a little bit about me and my background, but I didn't tell you about the horses. That was a craven effort to get you to read another post, because obviously the horses are the most interesting part. I'm glad it worked!

I mentioned that because of a fortuitous conversation with a friend, I ended up at a dressage barn riding two horses. It is, of course, a little more complicated than that, but I'll tell you all about the barn itself another time.

The first horse I started riding is Duchess, a 20-year-old (19 at the time) OTTB.
Thoroughbreds are TERRIFYING and CRAZY, as you can see.

She had a good racing career until she was injured, at which point my barn owner (whose husband, conveniently, is an equine surgeon) took her on. The BO attempted to turn her into a dressage horse, but Duchess wasn't having it. She had a very pretty filly, whom my BO still owns, but hasn't been doing much for the last ten years or so. These days we mostly hack around the fields, but I have dreams of turning her into a show hunter. If only funds were unlimited. She's an absolute delight, though, and she loves to jump the little jumps we have in the field. Right now she's on stall rest because she ripped her leg open on her stall like a dum-dum, but she should be back in action soon.

The second horse I started riding is a wonderful big 22-year-old Swedish warmblood gelding named Baron.
His neck looks weird in this picture.
Baron did Prix St. George with the BO back in the day, and is a fabulous schoolmaster. Unfortunately, he bowed his superficial digital flexor tendon on the right front right after Thanksgiving while cavorting with his friends in the field. So Baron is no longer rideable, but I'm happy to say that after months of horrible stall rest, he's back in the fields, enjoying his retirement, and I get to give him lots of attention every day.

I wasn't down to one horse for long, though, because in November, my mom sent a horse of hers down for me to work with. She's got two ancient retired horses at her farm (one of them was my very first horse, and he's now 31 years old and doing well) and had recently bought a pregnant mare. Just after she brought the mare home - more on her some other time - a friend of hers needed a new home for his ENORMOUS gaited horse. Mom, being a little overwhelmed, sent that horse down to me to work with. When TJ arrived, he wasn't really halter broke and wasn't a lot of fun to ride. Now, however, he's a very nice horse to be around (although still not what I'm used to at all, riding-wise). He's going back to my mom this month, and I'm sad. I'll miss this big face.
TJ has taught me a lot about the necessity for good groundwork training, and how to experiment with teaching a horse about contact and leg pressure. He's sweet and wants to be good, but he has the attention span of a guppy. But he has the best personality around, he really does. I didn't think I'd learn to love this big goof but I totally do.

But don't worry about me - I won't be too lonely, because two weeks ago I accidentally bought a horse. Stay tuned, because next time, you'll hear all about Lex the SuperMare.

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