Wednesday, June 29, 2016

it's just a little pony!

This past weekend's lesson at OF was a bit of a departure from the norm for us. Everyone else in the lesson was deep into show-prep mode. Meanwhile I was just hangin around like, "let's try something different, put me on one of your schoolies!"

this is Noel
Aaaaaand that's how I ended up riding a children's pony haha. I mean, Isabel is basically a pony, but this little mare was the real deal. She was TINY. But. Ya know. Super fat, so it all worked out. She still took up my leg. lol

she be little. and i have a sick sense of humor so i dressed her in orange. you're welcome.
Trainer P apparently used to ride and show Noel's grandmother. Noel herself was P's daughter's pony through novice, and taught quite a few other kids in the family how to ride. And she has since gone on to produce more excellent lesson ponies for OF. If there's one thing that OF specializes in, it's ponies. Well. Technically Shetlands. But all kinds of ponies too.

not my typical red ears. mane is just as wild tho
And whadya know, this pony was legit fun to ride. She hasn't been working regularly for a while, and when she does it's just with kids who don't actually make her work. So she tried to act like she didn't know what work was. It was a weak effort tho, and she actually pretty willingly got down to business.

It was funny - she rode in some ways very similarly to Isabel. Not at all like the tank that she looks like. Clearly a horse who has been schooled. We didn't push too hard at the flat bc the poor thing was definitely out of shape lol. It felt reassuring tho to feel like I could get on a new horse and find all the buttons.

that moment when the pony is super tidy up front, but almost takes the rail with her belly
Jumping was definitely super fun. The pony knows her job and just kinda does it. Her canter is a little weak tho and her tendency is to get long and flat, so P asked me to do the adds in the lines. This, after I had done the step through a triple combination 2-3, and we basically super-manned out of it. Slightly dicey.

P pointed out that you don't really want to be riding a pony at their maximum stride length, that it's better to make sure you can compress when needed. So we went back and did it again in 3-4 mostly nicely. Tho when we put the whole course together it became a 2-4... but rode well so it was all good.

turns out i can drift left on equines of all sizes!
Trainer P had warned me that the pony was very one-sided, and that she has a wicked twist over fences - diving left then jumping right. I expected to be a little unsettled by this, but actually barely even noticed. Possibly bc Isabel and I are already quite proficient at the left handed Tokyo drift haha...

wheeeeeee pony!
The pony also had a fairly lateral and very flat canter and jump. So a VERY different feel from Isabel. Isabel cracks her back over the merest of cross rails, whereas Noel just easily pops over. I barely moved at all. Also made it way easier to see my spots (not that I didn't still goof up there anyway, but you know what I mean).

she was a kinda cool ride, actually
She handled nicely tho. It was REALLY obvious to feel when she dropped down in her shoulders and got too heavy up front, but also surprisingly easy to lift her back up again with my legs. Again, a reassuring feeling since that is essentially one of my biggest issues with Isabel. Turns out on a better-schooled horse I can actually properly identify and correct that problem. Who woulda thunk.

We basically did the typical P lesson of working through all the individual parts of a course - lots of bending lines and skinnies and a corner and a sharks tooth and a liverpool - then putting the jumps up and putting it all together.

this photo makes me giggle. a lot. lol
Some jumps always came up a little awkwardly for us - like the oxer on a short turning approach. While others rode perfectly every time - like the 4 stride bending line, the out of which is pictured above. That picture makes me laugh bc I look so ridiculous on her haha, and yet we mostly nailed that jump. It was pretty close to an even bend, tho I guess the last stride got slightly short. And yet I'm hovering like... 18 miles above the horse.

Whatever tho. I'm in balance, and she jumps so flat and the jumps were so small that a more aggressively folded position on my part would have been maybe equally ridiculous. Maybe. Idk. I can rationalize anything haha.

run Noel, RUN!
The final course mostly went pretty smoothly too. I tried to leave a stride out in the line to the corner and Noel kinda just covered my ass like a good little pony...  and we were still icky to that darn oxer.... Oh and we missed a turn early on course and had to circle lol. And the poor thing was huffing and puffing by the end...


But whatever. It was fun. I think the pony mare had fun - I honestly mostly left her alone to do her job, only putting in corrections like lifting her up to the fences and balancing in the corners. But otherwise I just enjoyed being a passenger.

Then we hacked out to the xc field so another lesson mate could school a ditch or two before her show and called it a day.

thank god for barn rats who are happy to hack her down to her field way out in timbuktu!!
It was such a crazy feeling riding her too. She is smaller than Isabel, but yet jumps so much flatter that everything just felt like speed bumps lol.

I've always said how much I love riding other horses, but actually haven't jumped anything other than Isabel since Bali left the farm. It was a nice change of pace! Especially bc I've also always said that Isabel has never been my kind of ride - she's just the horse that fate put in my path. Sometimes it's good to remember that there are other kinds of rides out there!

What about you - do you like to switch it up and ride other horses when possible?

56 comments:

  1. I used to love clamouring onto whatever horse someone would let me ride. However lately I have gotten so used to riding my girls and our combined quirks that the last time I rode another horse (ahem - pony) was a very odd feeling for me. None of my buttons were there...Admittedly she was a very green bean and had I been able to play with her more we'd have built a rapport. But still my initial thoughts of "missing" my ponies surprised me.

    In saying that I have probably only ridden 5 horses that weren't my own in the last 6 years *blush*
    I am very out of practice with other mounts.

    Neil is a real cutie! Do you think you'll ride her again?

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    1. yea i definitely feel a little out of sorts for the first little bit on any new horse - tho Noel made it easy since she's basically as finished as a red headed pony mare can be lol. not sure i'll ride her specifically again, but maybe!

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  2. I love riding other horses! I actually make an effort to ride something else at least once a week. I'm glad you had fun on your pony!

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    1. that's awesome - i wish i could ride something different every week. the last hunter barn i lessoned at basically made that a rule: different horse every lesson. and they had such a revolving door that there was no shortage of new ones to try!

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  3. She seems like a very fun pony to ride! It's cool that you got to try her; riding different mounts is fun.

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  4. Fun!! I think switching horses is SO good for our riding! It used to be a mandatory requirement for Pony Club, so when I was younger I would basically ride anything with four legs! I don't do it as much now, but definitely need to! Cute pony :)

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    1. i definitely agree that it's so good for us too - it keeps us honest as riders lol (esp since i get so codependent with my regular horses haha).

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  5. lol @ "I like to drift left on equines of all sizes"

    i like to ride different horses as much as possible. im trying to see how some stuff shakes out so i can try and get on another couple horses in the future. we'll see!

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    1. oooh good luck with that! especially when i rode a lot of green horses it was super useful to occasionally get on something schooled, just to make sure i wasn't picking up any bad habits from the greenies lol

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  6. Riding all sorts of horses is the best! Glad you had fun!

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    1. definitely the best! i miss it sometimes - having never owned a horse it's all i've ever done before. but with isabel all my resources have been going to her for so long it hasn't happened as much

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  7. PONY!! She looks SO fun in that video, what a neat little mare! I will always get on another horse when someone offers, riding Sully has been so good for me lately! I've definitely lost my knack for catch-riding since I graduated college, though. It's tough to get used to one type of ride and then have to figure out a new horse!

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    1. hearing about your rides with Sully was definitely part of what whet my appetite to try something new. just to get that feeling back a little bit.

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  8. I always love playing musical ponies, I find it makes you a better, more tactful rider.

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    1. definitely agreed on the more tactful bit - nothing quite puts me in my place like getting on a new horse who is like, "Um, NO lady - that is NOT how you ask me to canter!" lol

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  9. She is so cute! It is always enlightening to ride other horses and encounter the same issues I have on my own...

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    1. haha so true - and Noel definitely pointed out some things that show up on isabel but are alllllll me lol. tho she also pointed out some things i've been doing right despite doubting myself.

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  10. I like to ride other horses but I'm a bad person and definitely prefer my horse so I don't do it enough. :P

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    1. eh i relate completely - that's how i've mostly gone the last three years without riding anything else seriously (except Bali). lately tho i have *not* preferred my own (lease) horse haha so the time feels ripe for playing the field a little :)

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  11. I love riding other horses (as you already know) -- the little pony that I posted about a few months ago is making her way back to us (she flunked out of the lesson program she was in) and I'm going to make her my serious project!

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    1. oooh exciting - i hope you have so much fun with her!

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  12. I love switching up rides! But I have been bad about it, need to get my butt in gear!

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    1. yea it can definitely be hard to make the time...

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  13. I love riding other horses (or just swapping between my two)- it's always so educational. I haven't had the chance to do a lot of it lately though.

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    1. i don't often feel like i have a chance either, especially lately. it's always fun tho!

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  14. So fun! I think it's SUPER important to ride other horses when possible. I don't have the opportunity much, but when I do, I grab it! I'm so used to Georgie and how she goes that when I hop on another horse I'm all flustered. So, practice makes perfect, right?

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    1. i agree completely. esp as someone who deals with confidence issues, riding new and different horses really forces me to focus and do my best, without relying on my codependent mare to save my ass lol

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  15. I have often said it would be nice to be able to take a lesson on a school master now again so I know what something is supposed to feel like, but I don't have that opportunity. So glad you do and it was positive!

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    1. i'm glad it was positive too haha. sometimes we just need something a little different!

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  16. What a cutie. I wish I rode more horses more often, but it's not an option at our tiny little barn with no trainers.

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    1. that's basically how it is at isabel's barn too, tho occasionally someone will ask me to ride their private horse, or maybe a school horse (like Bali) will need some individualized attention. it's nice at OF tho, they're a full blown lesson program so there's always something available!

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  17. Gah, such pony cuteness! I ride other stuff besides Da Bird (Nonners for lesson, M R Nicknick -- semi-retired yet still fierce -- Punch for "job skillz", assorted green beans to start 'em under saddle) but I don't have anything I can just get on and faff about with because the closest things to "finished" horses on the place are Bird and Nick and they're only what I have made them. Nonners is an honest and safe packer over jumps, but on her, I work on MY position, timing, and aids, typically with an instructor providing helpful commentary about how I'm doing it wrong. :)

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    1. yup, basically that was the same purpose of riding Noel - just think about me and what i need to do as a rider, without worrying much about the pony

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  18. Cute lil fat pony. Nice ride on her!

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  19. I always try to ride other horses when given the opportunity, you learn so much in such a short period of time and gives you a chance to wee what you have in your riding toolbox and where your gaps are. Glad you had such a good ride on her!

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    1. thanks! i'm always open to a little research and exploration with other horses lol

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  20. I loved riding the ponies over courses in college. They were super fun!

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    1. so fun omg!! they aren't really my favorite (i <3 TBs, what else can i say?) but they're fun :)

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  21. Oh my gosh - she is cute! That white face coming into the fences with those ears was just too much!

    I feel like my horse goes so different to other horses (pony strides - he should have been born a pony) so I hate riding other horses. He's also learnt yo overcompensate for my shortcomings as a rider and other horses bring them to light haha. It's something we all should do though!

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    1. * riding other horses is something we all should do.
      I apologise for my rambling haha it made sense in my head!

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    2. lol i understood perfectly - and agree completely. Noel actually didn't do too much in the way of highlighting my flaws (she was a very good girl), but was able to point out a couple of things that i definitely shouldn't be blaming on isabel lol

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  22. sooo awesome! I am really toying with the idea myself of taking lessons on other horses too to help strengthen my jump position. What a cute pony :)

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    1. lol then don't ride Noel - she won't force you to do anything haha. ride something that cracks its back ;)

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  23. Ha! I love how her top line doesn't change over jumps - just lifts herself enough to get over and not a millimeter more energy than necessary! :)

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    1. i know, right? it's kinda hard to see in the video be she basically just completely twists her forelegs under her over the fence. she's tight and tidy, but super twisted lol. makes for a VERY flat jump!

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  24. That pony is adorable!! I honestly wish I were pony sized still

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  25. She is actually so friggen cute.

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  26. That is adorable. I really should lesson on other horses more often, but I have a hard enough time making it to the ones I'm supposed to do on Hero.

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  27. So cute! Fun to ride different horses sometimes hey? :)

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