I showed up at the new barn and the trainer (we'll call her AM) got the little buckskin half-Arab ready to ride. He was only three, but had spent two semesters at a local equestrian college learning how to be a reining horse. He wasn't cut out for that, so his owner sent him to AM to be a dressage horse. It was a good decision, since this horse moves much more like a dressage horse than a reiner.
I watched AM lunge and ride him, and he seemed sane enough so I got on him. He's really very nice. He doesn't exactly get connection to the bit, so we worked on that a little. And every time I tried to turn him onto a circle he dove for the inside. So we worked on that too. By the end of our 20 minute ride he was actually making a decent connection with my hand and was attempting to stay on the outside rein.
Then AM brought out her horse, an Arabian mare she's trying to sell (and has seince sold!). She told me she wanted to move her from being a Country Pleasure horse to a dressage/sport horse, but that she's HOT. She'd taken her to some dressage schooling shows and the most prevalent comment she got from the judges was "tense".
So I watched her ride the mare, and made some suggestions. Then I asked if I could get on her. It was true, this little mare had a lot of go in her, but she wasn't spooky or insane. She just knew that when a rider got on her back she was supposed to GO GO GO. That kind of "go" is good, but it has to be tempered with calm focus so that work can get done.
Like most Arabians trained for the main show ring, and not the dressage ring, this mare was used to backing off the bit. I worked with her for ten minutes or so and by the end she was kind of getting what I wanted with connection. Then AM got back on her and said she felt a difference.
This was FUN.
After she was done riding, AM started talking about how she thought I could really help her with some of her horses, because I speak her "Arab" language. It's true; I know how Arabians are trained for the main show ring so I know what they are used to. I know how they think, so I have a pretty good idea of how they will react to the things I do.
I also know where AM is coming from. I went from main-show-ring-Arab-girl to the dressage ring. I struggled with dressage concepts and had to figure out how they fit in with my horse and how he was already trained, and how I already knew how to ride. I made it work, and it was looking like my past experiences, both the successes and failures, could help AM and her horses.
We started the discussion of me moving to her barn, and about how I could help out with some of her horses. Not all of the horses at the barn are her training horses, or all Arabians. But the ones that she rides are all purebred or half-Arabs.
This could be a great opportunity for me to ride different horses and make myself a better rider. I also love to help people out. And AM is planning on taking horses to schooling dressage shows, as well as some A rated shows, and I'd be able to get a ride and stable with her and her friend TF, who also helps her with her horses.
Plus the buckskin, Lee, really had some potential. I like him.
AM also does all the turnout, so she said she'd be sure that Kaswyn would get out every day. So the bonuses here are full care, slightly cheaper board, 7 day stall cleaning and turnout, outdoor arena, a trail, new horses to ride, and people to go to shows with. The turnouts are flatter and not rocky, with safer fencing.
The negatives? No more overnight turnout in the summer. Probably less time outside, since at Marge's Kaswyn gets out all day long (or all night). Ten minutes farther from home.
And I'll have to leave my little Albert behind. And Susan.
To be continued...
The Harmany Muzzle
5 days ago