Saturday 8 March 2014

In Which I Get My Butt Kicked By 6 Year Olds

As the title above states, I had a super fun lesson, but those kids are freaky good!

First off, I'll introduce you to Checkers The Wonder Horse:

Checkers says hi. Sorry for the terrible photos. Chestnut TB mares have more important things (like world domination) on their minds than posing for photos.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I rolled into the barn for my first lesson this afternoon. The barn and the grounds look well cared for, but a little run down. After accidently mistaking the boarding barn for the lesson barn and meeting a couple of rude people, I wasn't thinking anyone was overly friendly. After seeing the general state of chaos that was the lesson barn, I was feeling distinctly uneasy. Luckily, things turned around from there. Everyone there made me feel completely at home, especially the little 6 year old girl who very seriously made sure that I had everything I needed and didn't need any help. She was also quick to inform me that Checkers is the nicest lesson horse. Too cute. She then proceeded to outride everyone, on what appeared to be a not so easy pony. Crazy, I tell you.

As for the actual lesson, we started with about 20 minutes of flatwork. I found the dressage-y bits (leg yield, 10m circles, serpentines) pretty straightforward and easy. Checkers is older and pretty front heavy - not so light and bendy, so she's a lot of work to keep up through her shoulders and bending properly and not rushing. I was seriously wishing for Ginger or even Lainey and mentally hating on poor Checkers just a little. We did lots of sitting trot, dropping stirrups, two point, all that hard work sort of stuff. I was huffing and puffing, but the kids were ready to try it bareback, no word of a lie.  I'm slightly confused about some of it, being a newbie to the whole hunter thing. The instructor kept asking me to bend forward from my hips which is opposite to the whole dressage get-your-butt-in-the-saddle and sit UP and ride thing I'm used to being nagged for. Also, I suspect I should have just let my horse cruise around on a looser rein, more western style. It's interesting.

Finally we took turns jumping a small course. I opted to trot most of it, being a nervous newbie. This is where Checkers gained her wonder horse status for me. I've never been so lucky to ride a completely honest horse that knows the job and takes care of her rider. You literally just line her up with the jump, ask for more or less forward, and she takes care of the rest. Amazing. (It's not a bad reflection on any of my other horses, just that they were either hot or inexperienced (or both) and needed more babysitting, I think. I got the idea that jumping is very hard work and possibly a bit beyond me. Checkers quickly showed me differently.) I got into the idea of cantering the last bit of the course, then took a break and got to try it again, with a little combination and slightly higher fences. I was grinning ear to ear when I pulled her up, and loved on her a whole lot while I cooled her out. I'm seriously hooked.
She's so cool that the sun shines out her head.

 Welsh Cob breeder is super busy this weekend, so I'm going for a visit next weekend. G went and visited Ginger yesterday and sent me some pics of her looking all happy, which was such a nice surprise. I seriously love them both :)

Meanwhile, Checkers and I have another date this Wednesday night.



  1. That sounds awesome! Besides the rude boarders...I can't understand that. I always go out of my way to greet new people and make sure they know where they're going and what they're doing. Checkers sounds fantastic, like she might be your Dillon. :-)

    1. I always go out of my way to be helpful too, I don't understand people that aren't - it's a reflection of 'their" barn when they chose to be snobby, after all.
      I just read your Dillon post before the lesson, and yes, the thought definitely crossed my mind!

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  3. Sounds like a great lesson! When I first started riding lessons I rode a great older chestnut named Paddy who totally took care of me once when we were doing various ground pole configurations. Most of the time he was a real pain and hard to keep moving, but on that day, it was like he was saying to me, "Don't worry, I'll show you how its done" and he just blew through the whole routine while I sat there in amazement. Those lesson horses can be worth their weight in gold sometimes!

    1. I'm starting to think chestnut lesson horses are a 'thing', particularly OTTB ones, and they're seriously under appreciated by the real world!