Finally, a horse

May 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm (Horse) (, , )

I found a horse to lease!! Yea for me!!  Boo, hiss, for my really sore thighs and sitter-upon-bones right now.

This is my horse:

Ok, that’s not really my horse.  Chaps is a chestnut thoroughbred gelding, like the one above.  Except that he doesn’t have any socks.  And he is less muscular through the front end.  And he needs muscle on this top line.  TECHNICAL EXPLANATION: look at the back of the horse above and see how level and straight it is.  Now imagine what the sheep did to their backs when you pushed on their belly – saggy back until they used their muscles to pull the entire top line of their back up level.  That’s my horse, in dire need of someone jamming their fingers into his soft sternum and making his top line level.

Chaps is at this barn.  It’s a really nice barn.  The lady who owns it is named Cathy and she is the daughter of the people who lived next door to Bill and Judy. She remembers trimming Tom’s hair when he was a kid and Crystal was just a baby.  Once Tom saw her, he kinda remembered her.  She has a really cool 1 year old German Shepard named Arthur who is a real pest.  Reminded me so much of Wog and the antics he got into.  And his feet.

Chap’s owner is a college student in Kentucky, so a lease will work well.  He’s only been at this barn for a year, and at the previous barn the trainer was a real wacko and basically fried his fragile little TB brain.  He’s a hunter/jumper/dressage and she just made him a basket case of nerves when jumping.  At the new barn, Cathy and her staff had to reprogram him to show him that work is good and fun, and that being in a barn is relaxing.  Thankfully, he’s back to himself now, but he prefers to do dressage at this stage.  Jumping is really taxing for some horses.  Some horses love the thinking aspect of it, and some horses just aren’t equipped to handle the thinking aspect.  Funny.

Which is good that he likes dressage because the only way to strengthen his top line is to work on dressage.  Lots and lots of circles.  Followed by more circles, but smaller.  I had Cathy ride first and then I got on to test him out.

He’s a nice horse.  Maybe the best I’ve ridden.  No, not that nice, but considering I usually ride school horses who have problems, it was very refreshing.  First, he’s a real size horse so he moves like a big horse should.  He’s light in the mouth and very responsive to leg aids (which my poor thighs are very thankful for today).  He doesn’t have any school horse problems like bulging in one direction or the other, or leaning on the bit or the leg.  He tries hard, but since he doesn’t have the muscle and he’s out of shape, it’s going to take some time to bring him back.

I loved cantering him.  I’ve been riding Emma the pony since last summer, and EVERY time I ask her to canter (a collected canter and not a Yee-haw canter), she bucks.  Not a little one but a real buck.  It’s a good thing she’s only 13 hands because otherwise it would have been ugly.  But I asked Chaps to canter and was all tense and prepared for the buck and it never came!  Furthermore, I was able to sit the canter!  Sitting Emma’s canter is like being a piece of popcorn in a microwave.  Remember Zeke?  Remember how he looked/felt/rode when you cantered?  Yeah, that’s Emma.  Not her fault she’s a pony, but this is night and day different.  And I could canter him for more than a circle and he didn’t flatten out and start getting faster.

The terms of the lease are very good.  A flat fee and I don’t have to pay shoes or vet bills.  They asked for a three month commitment and I’m not required to take lessons.  I can use my own saddle too.  There is a dressage trainer who comes to the barn twice a month (it’s a jumping barn), but she’s pricey.  I’m thinking that I’ll take one lesson a month from her and use it as a mini-clinic to show what I’ve been working on, get her opinion of what to focus on next, make sure I’m not missing something obvious or developing a bad habit.  Not as weekly riding lesson.  Cathy told Tom that I’m a good rider and she could tell I knew what I was doing.  Go me!

Chaps does have his faults.  If you aren’t paying attention, he’ll intentionally try to step on your foot.  And he’s impossible to catch in the field, so if I know I want to ride during the days, I’m supposed to let them know so they’ll keep him in the barn and then I’ll let him out to pasture.  I think I’ll ride Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  I’ll start with Wednesday evenings since Tom’s shooting that night anyway, but when it gets hot I’ll move to all mornings when it’s cooler.

Hopefully I can start this weekend.  Provided I can walk by this weekend.  I rode yesterday afternoon, was starting to tighten up by last night, and today has gotten progressively worse.  I was contemplating eating dinner in the hot tub.  Does anyone make a waterproof laptop?

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