Riding Report – Happy Place

The mountains are yearning.

I had my first ride in a while today. Valentino had a little stone bruise, so I haven’t been going out to hack him. He’s been resting up for a bit now, so we decided to try him today to see how he felt. Unfortunately he still wasn’t 100%, so after a the world’s fastest grooming (and probably least thorough too) I hopped on Goonie.

Funny name. Awesome horse.

Goonie, or G-Man  as on of my teammates calls him, is a 16 something hand thoroughbred gelding. He’s on the younger side, and still quite green but this horse has talent. He’s just dying to be a derby horse! I can’t wait to see how he develops. He’s a woolly mammoth right now since he wasn’t showing this season and didn’t get clipped, but I’m certain he’s going to be a total looker once he sheds out. He’s dark bay, with a big white star that looks just like Dante’s. 

From the second I swung my leg over, I could tell he was going to be a different ride than Valentino. Being young and green, he isn’t the most patient horse there is. If I asked for a transition a little too strong, he’d hop into it, and he was definitely testing me during our warm up to see how I’d handle his antics. He prefers a full seat at the canter, and if I even thought about perching, he’d protest. I was actually pretty impressed with myself. I’m a very nervous rider, but for some reason, even through spooks and starts, I felt completely calm. It probably helps that I’ve seen him go before, and he is honest. He will do what you ask, so any funny business was probably just the result of me fussing with him too much. Once I got serious, so did he. He just needed to know that I was capable of making him work.

This horse has a canter, folks. Like a serious, rocking horse, OMG get me in the eq ring right now kind of canter. It was so easy to ride, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he responded to a balance point. One little half halt if he got heavy, and he popped right back up and was light in my hands. This was especially fabulous on the tight lines we were riding today. He has a big stride, and has absolutely no problem jumping the gap. He jumps better a little tighter though, so today was all about the control strides and keeping him on pace, but not too backward.

It was really a fun ride, and I actually enjoyed his little antics. It was like riding a fabulous derby horse while we were on course, or a spunky jumper if I legged him on a bit. I’m always nervous when I switch horses. I tend to think of myself as a one horse girl, but it’s not a trait that I like about myself. I want to be able to get on different horses without the nerves and butterflies making me a total mess. I don’t know what it was about today that made me numb to them, but I’m grateful for it. I’ve been itching to ride lately, and I’ve been itching to jump much bigger than before. Like the big sticks. That’s never happened before. I always thought I’d be content to stay in the eq ring and hunter land, safe at 3’6″ but these days I feel like I have my sights set on the jumper ring.

Maybe that’s why the nerves didn’t affect me today. Maybe the magic happens when desire outweighs fear. Maybe that’s where I am now with my riding. I sure hope so.