Thursday, 22 July 2021

The One Where We Finally Did Something

 I had the most awful ride on Sophie last weekend. The hard part was that she wasn’t doing anything terrible, just your average baby horse testing. But, I could not for the life of me dig deep enough as a rider to get it sorted. I’ve got a lot of unnecessary dialogue floating around in my head these days, and the “you’re not good enough” narrative was winning. I can see that for what it is and it’s really frustrating to let it limit me. When it’s potentially affecting a nice pony, it’s time to call in some extra support crew.

So, we put Sophie on the trailer and went for an overnight visit to EC’s. I was equal parts excited and nervous. I had total faith EC was going to get us back to a good place, but equally taking the baby horse for such an excursion was going to face her with a lot of new challenges. We’ve taken everything so slow and steady to this point I had no real idea how she’d react to me throwing her a little into the deep end.

Step 1: The three hour trip including an hour on the ferry and a half hour waiting in the lineup. I brought Bridget for moral support because she’s so solid about this journey, so the most part, Sophie just ate hay and napped like a sensible pony.

An uneventful journey, whew! When we arrived, they both just wandered into their paddock and kept on eating. Ginger, on the other hand...(super long time readers might remember my Welsh D mare Ginger, who I sold several years ago to a lovely lady at EC’s barn)...Ginger was self appointed greeting committee and NOT pleased at all to see her old pasturemate Bridget, to the point of repeatedly charging and ramming the fence separating them. Sophie was also not welcome, because obviously any friend of Bridget’s is no friend of hers. Poor Sophie! Not a confidence inspiring intro to the barn. 

Our first lesson, from my perspective was equal parts good and awful. Sophie “forgot” everything she ever knew, so even tacking her up and getting on required reminders that the rules are the same everywhere. We then proceeded to spend a long time imitating a llama stuck in a tar pit. Which is fine, because that’s why I was there. What I was beyond pleased with is that EC’s is a very busy lesson barn with so much for Sophie to look at, but she didn’t bother much with any of that - she was really, really solid with all the things you’d normally expect a younger horse to look at or take offence to. Also, high five to me for getting on and getting it done, because I was way more worried about all the things than Sophie ;)



Like one of those puzzles. “Find 10 things this pony would normally spook at“ :)


Spooks all day long at the one mirror at home, yet a wall of them is fine.


EC then hopped on and mostly sorted my issues in about 30 seconds, lol. The really excellent part for me was seeing her ride S, and getting so much feedback about how she’s going, what I’ve done well, and what I really need to improve.

I probably don’t need to delve too deep into the fact that I had myself convinced that I am too big for her/my tack is maybe not fitting/there is something wrong with her/I simply can’t ride well enough. While there is always room to improve the things I can control, actually, T, when it comes down to it you’re just riding an unbalanced baby horse with bigger movement who’s not quite sure where to put her legs or how to carry herself all the time. So, just buckle down, stop worrying, and show her where you want her to be. Let her make mistakes, rebalance her and go again. Work to build up her topline and strength. Check in on your position and aids periodically, don’t make it complicated. 

So simple when someone says it out loud.


If you haven’t guessed by now, blurry screen grabs is all you get. I was anti media this time but husband videoed a little on the down low and I’m glad he did :)

Literally every corner of this arena is a spooky corner, and she didn’t care at all.

Day 2’s lesson was a huge improvement over day 1. I’ve got a lot of position fixes I’ve let slide, plus I was nervous, so please don’t judge my riding in the screen grabs too harshly. Sophie again made me proud by marching around confidently and trusting me every time she wasn’t sure and I said we were fine. In the moment it felt OK, with lots of not so great. On watching the video back, it’s mostly all ok. While the images I’m sharing don’t reflect the worst moments, they also don’t reflect the best...it looked like what I’m sharing... I’m on a phone at the moment and don’t have time or technology to pick the nicest moments in time. You’re just getting wherever the screen capture grabbed and the image was clear. I’m beyond pleased with Sophie.



Her ring buddy left and she didn’t care at all. Plus Bridget screamed for her the entire time. Not helpful, B! But, as long as I gave S a job, she was totally fine. For me, such things are the biggest wins with baby horses.








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15 comments

  1. There are so many wins in this post I can't even count them! Love all of this! No need to apologize for the way you look in photos, believe me when I say you notice stuff like that more than your readers do. Plus everything is forgivable on a baby horse. Well done!!

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    1. Ditto from me. I think you both did awesome

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    2. Thank you both (always!) for the support!

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  2. oh man, what an enormous undertaking with a baby horse -- you must have been walking on air after all that!! good for you for taking the leap and going for it, the pictures are great too!! dude it is so easy to let that mean voice inside our heads win, except.... turns out, that voice kinda sucks and is full of sh*t lol. at the end of the day, this is your horse to enjoy ;)

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    1. I think we both gained a ton of confidence in each other. Lol, my inner mean girl is SO full of sh!t! Like why do we even listen, It’s not like they’ve got a great track record of useful advice? Currently working hard on strategies to shut mine up again :)

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  3. It must have been rough baby ride week, you could be describing me and Ember. Glad you have a support system to help. You both look great.

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    1. Thank you! Love following your journey with your guys, we always seem to have similar things we’re working on.

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  4. I love sophie. she is just swoon. Glad you figured stuff out and stop being so hard on yourself!! That is an order (Oh Ginger and Bridget both, when the baby pony is the best behaved hA)

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    1. I brought Bridget to be a good influence on S so of course she was the opposite - Should have known, she’s so ridiculously contrary. So happy with Sophie, and glad I got a much needed sanity check ;)

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  5. Congratulations on such a successful outing for all of you! It's always so nice when the baby horses step up to the plate and get right down to business 😁

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    1. Thank you. She’s normally so dramatic and silly, I was very pleased with her!

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  6. She looks good, you have a lot to be proud of. I'm glad that the trip over was uplifting for the both of you and uneventful for the pony (trip ride wise!)

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    1. I think the long trip in the middle of a summer heatwave was at least 50% of my worry - some horses really struggle with all the noises on the ferry combined with the fact the trailer is 'parked' and they think they should get off. But she was great, drank lots of water and generally seemed unphased by it all.

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  7. Good for you for doing the thing! Hopefully you gained some confidence in yourself and your yellow pony from this endeavor. You can do it!

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