Ok, not sure where I left off, but to recap quickly, Jones wasn’t going to work out so last week I test rode a couple of horses at a barn about 15 miles away. One was okay, but pretty well trained and wouldn’t give me much of a challenge. The other horse, Bart, was younger and less trained, but still very calm, docile, and agreeable and I thought he might be a good match.
The only hesitation I was having was that the arena was small and very dusty. I think it was smaller than the arena in Enumclaw. Hard to visualize, but much, much smaller than the current arena I’m at. Additionally, Cathy’s arena is heated, which, not knowing how bad the winters get, sounds appealing to my wimpy, blood-deprived limbs.
I went back to Cathy and explained that neither Jones nor Bling were going to work for me and she suggested I give Felix a try. A Mexican horse! No, not really. He’s an appendix and has the TB head on a QH neck, with the big TB ears you look over. Um, a little homely, poor guy. His owner is a High School student and involved in sports so she only gets out once a week, if that. He’s trained in some sort of jumping and has all the training I’m looking for, but is rusty. Cathy assured me that I didn’t need her around to test ride him and that he was perfectly capable of being ridden without lounging, so on Tuesday, I gave him a whirl.
My impressions are as follows: he’s rusty but he’s sane and I feel relatively safe on him. I walked him quite a bit in the arena and unlike the young horses, if he saw something unusual, he stopped and I let him stand there and investigate until he was willing to move forward, and after that he was fine. He didn’t try to dance sideways across the arena or forever avoid an area because of some boogy-man.
He seemed very rusty and the first few minutes I did wonder about the sanity of a horse that appeared to prefer to trot INTO a wall rather than bend, but he warmed up. He’s really, really heavy in the bridle. I woke up this morning and my triceps and that muscle that anchors your boobs to your chest (you know the one ladies) is sore. We need to work on that as there is no reason he can’t hold his own head up. And he doesn’t respect the leg at all – the concept of bending around the leg seems a bit foreign to him. Staying in a straight line seems difficult for him too. And, he’s out of shape so toward the end of the hour I was having to push him on quite a bit. And now my legs are sore too.
Very different from Chaps – I think Chaps was in better condition to begin with and he’s not a leaner with his head. I got to the barn early and was able to take Chaps out to pasture. He’s such a sweet horse. Totally bonded and I need to stop hanging around him, but he’s leaving in a week anyway…
Back to Felix – I think there is something to work with, and the fact that I love that barn pushes me into the Yes column. If Bart, the other horse, was at Cathy’s place, it would be a no-brainer. Or even if it was springtime and I would be able to ride Bart in the larger outdoor arena, I would consider it. But a heated HUGE indoor arena is hard to pass up.
I’ll stick to my routine and ride Felix 3 times a week. Since I’m starting the month late and will be gone for 2 weeks, I’ll only pay for half the month, which is good. I plan to use the extra money and get a lesson with Janna on Sunday. Normally, I would ride him for a few weeks and get some conditioning on him, but with the leaning and the lack of leg respect, I’d like to practice right from the start getting him used to the proper aids.
Interestingly, I asked Janna her opinion of both Bling and Jones and she commented that both seemed spooky to her. A lady is going to ride Jones in a lesson with Janna this weekend – she’s working Jones for Cathy – and she made the comment that Jones will need lots of time on the lounge line before the lesson! Am I glad that I got off that train wreck licky-split.