I’m riding a new horse.
As I started this post, I looked for my last post about riding, and it was over a year ago (with the exception of a mention in a New Year’s Resolution post). That is kind of crazy, because I still ride three days a week, rain or shine. So, here’s a year’s worth of updates right quick. Last January(ish), I started riding the horse below, Ian.
Things were awesome and going great and I was making a lot of progress. In September, my barn was at a horse show, and one of the girls I ride with was looking for a new saddle, so our trainer brought her out to test some at the show, and I tagged along. For fun, they had me sit on one. And OMG, the difference. The saddle rep came out to our barn later that week with demo saddles. I tried the one he selected for me, and it was kind of spectacularly amazing. My balance and position were so dramatically changed that I could do little things that I’d been struggling with for months and months and months. But a fancy new saddle ain’t cheap, people. So I said I’d think about it, and the next time I was out, I rode again in my old saddle. The difference was so clear. Knowing I could have a significantly improved ride with that new saddle was the deciding point. I coughed up all of the dollars, and purchased the fancy new saddle.
Here it is last weekend in my room-of-construction, after I took it home for a good cleaning. Even though the cost of that thing was laughably high, I have zero regrets. The change it has made for my riding is unbelievable. Not that I’m suddenly really good or anything, but it solved a lot of problems I was having overnight. HURRAH!
But then winter came, and things started to go downhill. I mentioned in my New Year’s post, winter was hard on my horse. My skills were advancing a bit, plus my horse is old and he was having a hard time with the cold weather.
Some time in December (or January, maybe? Poor memory is why I should be better at writing blog posts for myself.), we fell. I say “we” because the horse fell down, and brought me down with him.
Here’s a little gif I found with someone cantering, if you’re not familiar with what the heck that means. I wasn’t going as fast or lovely as the lady below, but we were certainly moving.
So, I was riding along at a canter when my horse stumbled a bit coming out of a turn, caught his front foot, and PLUMMETED TO THE GROUND. He went down face first, and I followed, doing a little mid-air somersault over the side of his neck and landing on my shoulder and hip in the mud. I didn’t get hurt, as I didn’t fall far (the horse was already down), but that was kind of the beginning of the end. Before the fall, I already knew that I was going to need a new horse soon, but I am not interested in buying a horse, and there was no one else at the barn for me to ride. For a few months, we continued in a downward spiral, some days being great, and some days, I was so nervous about the occasional stumble, we didn’t do much beyond a walk.
I rode a few other horses, and still rode Ian, but it wasn’t very fun. A few weeks ago, a horse showed up at the barn, and my teacher had me try him out. His person used to ride at the barn, but had been riding him elsewhere for a while. She is about to join the Peace Corps, so she brought him back to see if there was anyone who might want to ride him. I liked him okay the first time I rode him, but he had the remnants of a terrible winter coat, and was so raggedy-looking that I just wasn’t that impressed. Then I rode him again, and I was hooked.
There two extra-exciting points (to me) to this update. Number one, I think I’m going to be able to show this summer. I will be doing only the most very basic of the beginner classes, but I’m pretty excited about going just for the experience of being part of a show and to give myself a goal to work towards. Item number two, as a little reward to myself for the ridiculous hours/effort/craziness I’ve been putting into work lately, and to prepare for possible showing, and because riding is suddenly really fun again, AND because I really want to—- I’m planning to lease this new horse through maybe September, with the goal of riding 5 days a week. Yay! So, anyway… blog, meet Kotter, my current ride.