Friday, April 25, 2008

What was your one moment in time?

Since we were all talking about our glory days in the 80's, when we rode really well even if we did have ridiculous looking hair and fluorescent blue eyeshadow, do you remember that cheesy Whitney Houston song that I think they used for absolutely everything relating to the Olympics? You know, about that one moment of glory when you get it right?

Well, all of us chickenshit riders and re-riders could use some positive thinking, so let's talk about it. Think back over your riding career and tell me about the moment when you got it right and got to bask in the glory!

One of mine: I bought my old farm from a rodeo guy. He had two rodeo horses, Buck and David. Buck was a big old buckskin in his teens and he lived up to his name by trying to buck me off up in the field while we were out riding the fenceline to see how far the property stretched. We came back in to the indoor and I went to lope off. He took the wrong lead so I stopped and tried again.

"Oh, he don't take that left lead," Rodeo Guy informed me. "I've had cowboys everywhere try. Don't worry about it."

Ahem. I am not about to lope around on the wrong lead. I do not think so.

I loped off on a half circle to the right. When I was almost at the wall, I swerved ol' Buck violently to the left and threw my weight over for all I was worth. Ol' Buck did a flying change and cantered away on his left lead. He seemed surprised, but not as surprised as his owner! I gloated my way around the arena several more times on the left lead, and I got introduced as The Girl Who Got Buck On The Left Lead for months afterward. :-)

All right, next?

67 comments:

JDKdressage said...

One of my greatest moments in time was when I was...hmmm, maybe 21? There was a pony mare--the wickedest ones always seemed to be the little ones, for me, maybe because I'm only 5' so those are they ones people threw me?--but regardless, this mare had the charming habit of bolting when people tried to get on her. They'd told me she would "move off" when mounted, and I figured, okay, she'd start walking.

No.

I got one foot in the stirrup and BAM, she was at a flat-out gallop and I was on my ass in the dirt. I went and got her, steam coming out of my ears. There were some students watching, so I felt even worse. I gathered the reins, stepped up into the stirrup, and off she went again, this time through the narrow door of the indoor arena, around a hairpin turn into the stall aisle, all at a flat bolt with me clinging on with my teeth and scrabbling into the saddle. I hung on, got up, and stopped her. Turned her around, right there, rode her back through the stall aisle, around the corner, and into the arena, and proceeded to work her little ass harder than it had ever been worked before. She never tried it with me again, and there was a round of applause when I got off.

Now, of course...now I've got a Morgan who I'm retraining, dressage. He's a hot potato, for sure. I'm coming back from knee surgery, or at least that's my excuse...he's begun sidestepping away from the mounting block. I'm in my early 30s and apparently they removed my guts when they gave me a new knee ligament, because instead of forcing him to stand, I walk him around, practically pleading with him to be good, bring him back to the block, and yep. He sidesteps again. And he KNOWS better, he's just testing, but until he stands very still so I can swing up, I am just too nervous to do it. I'm okay once I'm in the saddle...it's that moment of vulnerability when I'm getting on that scares the CRAP out of me. (he'll stand like a stone if there's a human standing anywhere near his head. If he knows he's not being held, though, he starts swinging around, moving off, the works. It's my current big training challenge).

verylargecolt said...

JDK - that is a GREAT story. That was all she needed - to realize that HEY, it didn't work this time!

4Horses&Holding said...

My rodeo story?

Thanksgiving morning, I had a few hours before family started congregating at my dad's house. I decided to ride my mare (about 5yo, shortly after I got her) around and at some point get her to pick up her right lead. I still rode English at the time.

Worked to the left & right at a W-T. Worked to the left at a W-T-C. Worked to the right, mare was getting annoyed, I was getting frustrated (I was still young enough to just try to make her do things). She decided she'd had enough of this nonsense, and she was going to put a quick end to the problem.

She stopped and started bucking. And twisting. And bucking, bucking like a rodeo horse - four feet down, whole body up, back feet up, whole body up, her head was between her knees. I don't know how long it went on, I was positive I was going to be launched to outer space. Finally, she stopped (I was holding on by that time, so I didn't cause her to stop). I looked up and a girl who'd been out feeding her horse was just standing there staring, mouth wide open, eyes as big as saucers.

She said something to the tune of "I've never seen a horse buck like that before! I can't believe you didn't come off."

This girl was my age (21-22), and had owned and ridden barrel horses competitively since she was a young girl.

We did become best friends after that, and still are to this day.... 16 years later.

I've never had a horse throw a bucking fit like that one again, and knowing many more tricks & wiles to get a horse to do what I want, instead of fighting with them, I sincerely hope that I never do again!

------------

On a less terrifying note: I am a really, really good horse catcher. I've had a lot of horse owners be amazed that I was able to catch their horse - the one even they can't catch.

4Horses&Holding said...

JDK - how is that pony doing?

Masquerade said...

Finding out I won Reserve Champion Lvl 3 Dressage for the province the one and only year I ever got to compete my aged TB. He was 17 at the time and I beat out almost everyone with their big flashy WBs. Oh, and he was all of 15.2 hands, I'm 5'8" with the boots on.

Susan said...

Why is very large colt - a stallion prospect. He has no stallion presence - he looks like a gelding - and if he is not yet three and is built like a box car - what do you think he will look like fully gown.

verylargecolt said...

Hmmm, not quite sure how you can judge "presence" over still pictures on the Internet, unless of course by "presence" you are looking for batshit crazy, snorty, stereotypical stallion behavior (which would make him a gelding prospect in my book), but I will say that I have never had anyone in real life meet this horse and say anything like that.

As I've said before - we'll let the judges decide. If he does not do very well at the AQHA shows, he will never breed anything. Simple.

I do expect that this blog will hear from a number of people who are thrilled at the opportunity to take a shot at something I own, so congratulations - you are first! :-)

bigpainthorse said...

Actually, my "moment" is from recent history, about eight years ago right after I'd finally returned to riding after a 25+ year hiatus. I had been back in lessons maybe all of 3 months at a fairly large operation that had lots of horses. I noticed that the owner/trainer was putting me on a different horse every few weeks, but I figured she was just trying to find the right horse for me.

One day, as I rode by on my favorite school horse (a very smart opinionated Andalusian mare), I heard the trainer say to her assistant, "Yeah, I haven't seen that mare behave that well before either. I've put her on every difficult horse we have, and they all just turn into little angels for her. She doesn't have lots of formal training, she's just really horsey."

I could not imagine a bigger compliment. Still can't. And I didn't really believe it until I got to my lesson early one day and got to see my favorite mare's behavior with a different student aboard!

verylargecolt said...

bigpainthorse - it's true. Some people just have the connection. I used to see it all the time when I taught lessons. Horses just plain liked them and didn't give them the problems they gave other riders. You are blessed!

JDKdressage said...

Hey, 4Horses! The pony is making progress--very slow progress, but progress nonetheless. We had a complicating infection in the eyelid incision, he's turning into quite the little snot on his daily hand-walks (he wants OUT!), but his last hospital re-check is next week, and hopefully then he'll be cleared for turnout and normal pony life.

He's got 50% vision restoration in the eye so far, which is AWESOME. Once the corneal edema heals more, they're hoping for as much as 75% normal vision return! I'm pretty psyched, and it makes the insane meds schedule and all the work worth it. Thank you for asking! *GRIN*

JDKdressage said...

JDK - that is a GREAT story. That was all she needed - to realize that HEY, it didn't work this time!

It's true, man, she hadn't had anyone stick to her long enough to convince her that no, this was not permissable behavior. Last time I saw the mare she was doing 1st level dressage and winning tons of classes in combined driving. WHOOT!

...now if I could just convince my gut that my Morgan is not even a quarter as bitchy as that pony mare, that I've handled behavior fifty times worse, and that yes, I can handle him sidling away from the mounting block. I feel like such a WUSS. I use my weak leg as an excuse to myself, but I'm just not sure that's all it is. I need to regrow my spine, my left and right brains are having conversations pretty identical to yours, Fugs. Heh.

whoadammit said...

My greatest horse moment in recent history was the day my really pretty but not so nice mare was leaving for her new home. Not only did this mare have bucking and bolting in her bag of tricks, but she also liked to pull back like a mofo. I am 42 years old, had never in my life loaded a horse into a trailer by myself and now I get to load nutjob mare into a trailer. YeeHAW!

The friend "helping" me was hiding behind the trailer door as I led bitchy to the trailer. I'm acting all casual so as not to give off the scardey cat vibe. Get her loaded and toss the lead rope through the window so "helper" can distract with treats. Helper was in la la land and bitchy crushes me against the trailer wall as she proceeds to turn around and bolt from the trailer. Now I'm just pissed.

Second attempt and bitchy mare pulls back like a freight train in reverse and "helper" asks me if I want her to tap bitchy with a whip.... YAH... OK... if you want to tap her with the whip, then you can hold the lead rope!

Anyways, with my resolve set and noodle legs, I back nutjob in about 7 circles and try for the trailer again. I guess bitchy decided the trailer was not so bad afterall and in she went. Yes!

I just about had a heart failure and my legs were super wobbly, but I did it!

njuro said...

I've been riding since I was VERY little, and had a number of ponies/horses over the years. When I was a kid (6-16 years or so) I competed heavily in ag shows and pony club. All along I would hear comments from various people about how "light" I was on the horse. Now I was a skinny little kid (different to today!) and I thought "Of course I'm light on the horse! Pity you couldn't lose some weight!"

Some years passed and when I was about 29 I was helping a friend break in his pony, and an observer made the same comment about how 'light' I was on the horse. By then I knew I wasn't a lightweight any more, and it finally twigged as to what they were talking about!!! DUH!!

But it was a moment of truth for me, because I could finally see and understand what I'd been getting told all my life. And yes, I am 'light' on a horse! Not lightweight any longer, but definately 'light'. :-)

NYCowgirl said...

I was riding OTTBs at the time - retraining them as hunter prospects. This one particular gelding - Harley, dark day and 15.2 on a good day and with shoes on - had a heart of absolute GOLD, but gained all his confidence from his rider. In typical TB style, he would NOT be cowboyed around and, before I got the job, was being pushed around by a know-it-all princess who thought she could bully him into his lead changes. She would practically pick up his front end with her (very rough) hands and try to beat him into a change. Well, good little Harley would just check-out at this point. You could actually see him go to his Happy Place just to escape the harsh hands of this chick. He would fall out, ignore her, and proceed to trotting really, really fast, like a camel with his head up, just trying to get her off his face.
Anyway, I started to ride him and boost his confidence. I am (proudly) one of thise folks who just gets the OTTB and we seem to have an understanding. Anyway, after about a month of riding Harley, Rough Hands Princess came to watch my lesson. *Gulp*
Anyway, the instructor asked me to put Harley through his paces - walk and trot both ways of the arena as a warm up. When we were ready, I asked Harley to pick up his left lead. He went right off my leg, on the bit, engaged, and as damn pretty as anything you've ever seen. I took him across the diagonal, switched his lead effortlessly, and rode off.
I caught a glimpse of Rough Hands Chick out of the corner of my eye and her mouth was wide open.
I loved every minute of it.

4Horses&Holding said...

Um, just in case you think that *I* am 'Rough Hands Chick' that NYCowGirl was talking about.....

I'm not. :D

I've always had good hands, and when I mentioned fighting with my mare to get her to pick up her lead, I meant that I just kept her on the circle, and cuing her to pick it up. Nowadays, I'd know better, and to incorporate turns & balance into getting a reluctant lead.

*phew* I had to clarify.

JDK - Let us know on the training forum how his check up goes! It's way too easy to miss posts in the blog format.

SkyHigh said...

susan-

I'm not sure what you mean by "He looks like a gelding". I didn't know that a castarated male horse looks any different than a still-intact male horse, except, of course, for the obvious difference. However, since you can't see the "obvious difference" in her photos, do you care to elaborate?

Whoa Mare! said...

Hmm..I don't really remember much about riding when I was young except that I really enjoyed it. I don't know that I necessarily did anything "right". The most fun I had though was with my mare Baby. The first time I got on her was when I was probably 11. She was in a little corral because she'd just had a baby and lost it and was injured during the ordeal. I lead her up to the platform that was part of a porch for a trailer which the corral was built around (ok, that's kind of hard to explain). Anyhow, I climbed on her bareback. I had no idea if she was even broke (yeah kids act first and think later). I just sat on her while she walked around the corral just loving on her. That was when she became *MY* horse. Baby was maybe 3 years old then. For the next few years we were inseparable. For a young horse she was exceptionally bombproof. It was just too much effort for her to spook, I guess. We rode mostly bareback. She was truly a joy to ride. I used to like to jump logs on her. She probably wasn't very good at it, but it was fun. She stood ground tied better than any horse I have ever met in my life too. Now that I think about it, I can't think of one thing that little mare ever did that would be considered bad. She was just awesome in every way.

In recent history however, I think my greatest accomplishment has been learning how to do a rollback on a cutting horse I take lessons on. OMG- that was so much fun! He is also an exceedingly awesome horse.

My own mare needs work though. She's young and green and just doesn't know anything so I am learning so that I can teach her. The main thing I am trying to work on with her is just getting soft. She's a very tense horse...

bettylion said...

Oh, Fugly. Don't tell me that after all this time I've been reading your blog, and all the great horse sense and common sense that you have... is that YOU in those pictures riding "the colt" without a HELMET?

rockymouse said...

I had a little ray of sunshine just today.
I went out to the pen with She Who Will Not Canter. It wasn't pretty, but we got a couple strides in one direction and a faster trot in the other. Progress!

quietann said...

My "high point" as a teenager was when my instructor allowed me to ride her horse in a bridle with a bit, as opposed to a jumping cavesson. "Valentine" had an exquisitely soft mouth, and only people with the quietest hands could ride her with a bit. She was a lovely, widebodied QH/Morgan cross, very well trained for dressage.

More recently, realizing that I can sit Feronia through a big spook without getting tossed is pretty impressive. She's just testing me (as all good Morgans do, I think) but this is a horse who can move sideways at the speed of light.

NYCowgirl said...

Hey 4 Horses-

Ah. We all have our moments and, hopefully, learn from them. It definately isn't you to whom I was referring. This chick had her own issues and took them out on poor Harley. Unfortunately, I think there are far too many folks out there that ride so that they can feel awesome for bullying a thousand pound animal around. And this woman was one of those. I think it made her feel superior to cowboy Harley around.
Anyway, I know that I don't have perfect equitation, the softest hands in the world, but I seem to connect with them there ponies...especially the ones off the track.

ellen said...

I will never forget the last show I had with my first Morgan -- I had been doing a series of little club shows, and a young man and I had been 1-2 in one order or another in WP, HP, and Eq of both kinds in the whole series of shows all summer -- this was an equitation class for all the club marbles.

It came down to a rideoff betweeen the two of us, and the judge was having fun playing with us and our horses -- we trotted without stirrups, we backed down the rail, we hand galloped, and finally he asked for canter from a halt. Right lead, my horse's least favorite. All I did was gather him up, think real loud, and he rocked back on his haunches and went -- absolutely perfect, and right in front of the judge. End of rideoff, end of class, big trophy for us, big tears running down my face because of the way he read my mind and flowed like water. Have had a few other moments like that, but I'll never forget that one.

CowardlyCowgirl said...

I love this blog! I'm so glad to realize I'm not alone and somewhere between child 1 and child 2 I also lost my nerve. Or maybe it was somewhere between 25 and 30 years old!

Anyway, back in "the day" I would ride anything I could get a saddle on. When I was 10, I convinced my mom to buy the truly FUGLIEST little horse I had ever seen. He was a weanling at that time - half BLM mustang and half QH. You can see where this train wreck is going!

Fast forward 3 years and it seems like a good idea to let the 13 year old who thinks she knows everything break out this horse to ride. Looking back, we actually didn't screw up too bad with the ground work and such.

We get to around ride number 8, and he gets to a deeper part in the sand in the arena. Apparently, this looks like a good place to have a rodeo. He begins rearing and bucking - back and forth like a deranged rocking horse until I lose my grip and off I come.

At 13 I didn't really have the sense to be scared - I was pissed. So, I climb back on. Walk once more around the arena, get back to the same spot and it's a repeat of what we just did. We did this about 8 more times. And by this time, there's a crowd of the neighbor kids hanging around the arena to watch the show.

I finally did tire him out and was able to manage to "win" the battle. Except being as stubborn as he was, I refused to "not" make him go through that part of the arena even knowing what he would do. I wasn't smart - just stubborn.

The most recent thing I'm proud of is when current mainly pasture-pet, sometimes ridden gelding reared with me 2 years ago quite unexpectedly and I bit the dirt for the first time in many years, I got up and got back on. (After getting over that dazed and confused, "What the hell just happened and why am I on the ground?" stage. It happened just that fast and I think it actually scared him as much as it scared me).

FourHoofKO said...

My best moment?
Accidentally galloping (For the FIRST time ever) across a huge open pasture on a teeny tiny Haflinger and then going right OVER a jump, at a full blown this aint no fat haflinger, this is a bloody racehorse gallop. I managed to stay on with no previous training, and I had only loped about 2 times before in my life.

When I got off the horse, the lady commented 'Wow I've never seen a Haflinger run that fast in my life'.

However, instead of being sore for a few days my joints took a few weeks to recover to where they didn't all throb daily. Still don't know what is wrong with me but I'm getting tested for all sorts of terrible things.

Anywho, I sure am proud of myself for not bailing and riding it out.

smalldove said...

I have a friend who rides Grand Prix jumpers (she is amazing and not half the wuss I am). Anyways we were schooling together one day when low and behold she got dumped, hard, at a fence. She threw out her back and couldn't get back on but was insistent that her horse get put over the fence so up I went and over we went. I loved it so much she ended up schooling me over the entire course...what a high. I can't believe I was ever brave enough to jump stuff that huge!

Hairybeasties said...

I have had a few greatest moments for different reasons....

Listed from number one down:

Riding a piece of fast work on one of the top sprinters in Europe upsides my hero Steve Cauthen....(dream come true)

Winning a dressage championship on my TB. He was given to me off the track as a no hoper, and we made it by ourselves without a 'trainer' gasp .....

Riding Freddy (my 'unmanageable' OTTB) in his first cross country event. Freddy was badly abused on the track, ridden in a citation bit and was considered (and still is) dangerous. He just soared over those jumps in his plain sweet iron snaffle, and we loved every minute of it.

So despite getting older, more decrepit and more chicken shit as time goes by, I have some great memories, I love my horses and they seem to trust me. It is all good.

Latigo Liz said...

As I am returning into the arena at a clinic, the comment from Buck was something to the effect of "With a seat like that you should be riding jumpers." My horse had reared us backwards, VERY HIGH, out of the in-gate. Mind you she was not tipping over, just getting VERY vertical, much like those Endo videos. Another clinic participant recalled only seeing horse-titties from the opposite end of the arena.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

These are great! Keep them coming. Ellen, you're right, it's so cool when they NAIL something in an equitation pattern that you know doesn't come naturally for them. I used to have this little appendix mare, a polo pony, who was very quiet so I used her for the tiniest kids. At one show, the judge wanted a right lead canter from a halt. Same thing. I thought, NO WAY is this mare going to do that for that kid. Well, what do you know...loped right off on her right lead. I was such a proud horse mom/instructor!

JustSamson said...

Okay - it's not a real big one, compared to making Rodeo Buckskin pick up his lead. My 4 year old home-bred mare was out for training, and let's just say she was a little spoiled. Like so spoiled the trainer brought it up every time I talked to him. Oh yeah, and she was lazy. So naturally asking for a lope was like asking for, well, I don't even know what. Anyways, he rode her for me, and she loped fine in the big indoor arena. Then I got my turn (she'd had 45 days on her at this point). I got on, did the walk trot circles thing, then asked for a lope. She picked up the wrong lead a couple times, so we kept starting over at the trot, and then we got the right lead. I guess my internal yippee translated to a loping bucking fit, and off she went down the wall. Now the trainer had warned me that because she was lazy, when she was bad we didn't whoa - we goa! So as she bucked I kicked and off we went. I got a little bit of a dead run out of her, and then she settled down and loped nicely. When I was finished and dismounted (VERY SHAKILY - I might add), the trainer said to me, "You're a better rider than I figured." I 'bout near floated out to my car for the drive home.

sellefrancais said...

I leased a Thoroughbred when I was in between horses. Ex- grand prix jumper, 4th level dressage horse. For one of our lessons my trainer had us tie our reins in a knot and jump without them and without stirrups. It helped us balance and it was especially great on a horse I could totally trust. I know I have a picture somewhere...

Ah, the only picture I could find was a cross-rail, pre- vertical and before we dropped our stirrups. But it was still a really, really good moment:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c21/chelseaanne05/fly.jpg

gorillakeeper said...

Ages ago, as a kid, I took my OTTB to our first "A" show. We were really just schooling, and only showing in 2 flat classes, equitation and english pleasure. My horse had been doing well at low level shows in hunters and jumpers, so he knew the drill. Well, he decided to jump, buck and spook at everything during warm up. My trainer came out from the back of the van with a syringe, ready to tranq my horse. I refused (I was all of 15). Trainer said "suit yourself, you go make a fool of yourself...I won't even watch." Off I went to my class, alone. I came back after, and the trainer angrily wanted to know why I had a stupid grin on my face. He couldn't see the huge red ribbon trailing down over my rust breeches. I'd beaten all but one of the big gun, expensive pushbutton pleasure horses with my self-trained, cheap OTTB.

robyn said...

I think it had to be when I was at a lesson on my TWH. We were in the roundpen due to mud in the arena, so I was working with a stick, using it to turn the horse, back up, etc. My horse was responding so wonderfully to it, that I reached over and slipped the bridle off and tossed it to my instructor. She was sensible enough to see the magic happening, and she just quietly stood and let it happen, let my horse and me work bridleless for truly the first time. I've ridden him bridleless many times since, but that first time was really amazing.

Truthseeker said...

What a fun topic!

4Horses mentioned being a great horse catcher. I'm not infallible in that dept but am also quite good at it. Seems like I can usually just walk right up to horses that take off running from other folks.

My 'glory day' was in the late sixties. I wanted to be the 4-H county fair horse show champion so bad that it hurt. My folks were working people and do-it-your-selfers. Lessons? Huh????? I trained my horses myself and studied books and magazine articles. 4-H was some help but not a lot.

I decided that what I could do to be the big winner would be:

..DRUMROLL...
Work my ass off. Ride even when it was cold and I was tired. Ride even when I didn't feel like it. Work harder than anyone else would think of working. Work so hard that no one else could possibly work harder than I did.

I knew no one else would even think of working as hard as I was thinking of working and that I would have a tremendous competitive advantage because of it.

In those days, I suffered terribly from fibromyalgia (for which there was no diagnoses...had no idea why I felt like shit all the time) and depression. I was like Carrie without the psychokinesis. I HATED school and the thought of going home to my horses kept me alive.

So, I would suffer through a nearly unbearable day of school, go home and put my aching body into my coveralls, and go out and ride until after dark, no matter how cold and in spite of snow and ice. I would quit when I couldn't feel my fingers and toes anymore.

Then I would force myself to brush the wooly horse for and HOUR, vigorously all over, and even on the hard to reach places.

As a consequence, at the fair my horse and I won the championships in Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Showmanship and even Halter. Back then, the 4-H horse project was huge and that was quite an accomplishment.

A rumor got started that I had kept my horse with a professional trainer all winter, LOL.

Didn't do so great at the state fair, though--at that level, I really was in need of professional coaching.

However, that experience of setting that goal and carrying it out was one of the defining experiences of my life.

I believe that a person can accomplish amazing things if they are willing to 'pay the price.' The price is WORK. Everyone thinks they are 'working...' but there is always more and better effort they could put forth.

It is easier to bitch about the judges and how unfair everything is than to WORK.

I also scoff at most 'grooming' demonstrations. Unless they're really putting some elbow grease into it and getting their heart rates up, they're not really grooming!

Of course, these days I am not so focused...I work a third shirt night job that I love, digitizing art work for embroidery machines at a sportswear company. In the daytime, I do freelance programming and web programming.

I also give riding lessons. I stopped taking outside horses for training when I got the 3rd shift job.

I would love to focus 24/7 on my horses now, but the economy scares me and I think I'd better keep my other jobs.

DelightfulR said...

Well very large colt, I have the little filly. She's only 14.3 and she's not a tank. And we are at the same place you are. Getting on. The left and right brain are always arguing. She's calm as can be, but after a few pyscho horses, my brain just won't stop.
Now, is that a bitleess bridle you are using, or something else. Mine is not taking to the bit at all. I've tried a few, and molasses. She's very happy with training halter, but i'm just not feeling secure enough with that.
How's what you are using, working for him?

wolfbitch said...

I don't have any dramatic stories to tell here, sorry! But I've ridden off two runaways, one headed back for the stable as fast as he could go, and the other headed out down a trail I'd never been on, fast as she could go and while I didn't fall off, I did get a tad lost!

I'm lucky in some ways - I have femoral torsion in both thighs, which makes me walk pigeon-toed but also makes me sticky as hell on a horse, so I can ride out a spook or a bolt and even one of those creepy 90-degree turns these damn animals can make at full speed (totally against all laws of physics, far as I can see).

But the best thing is..... I think I've found a stable to ride at. It's closer and less fancy than the one I was looking at, but I actually went so far as to look it up on the net and find out where it was... tonight I'll get directions, as they encourage drop-ins! What I like about it so far is that there's no "audition" for lessons as there would be at the fancy stable, and while I'd have to buy a six-pack of lessons at a time, there's no iron-hard law about a mandatory three hours a week or you're out, like there is at the fancy stable.

I think I chose the "fancy stable" at first just to give myself another excuse NOT to ride!

Like I said, that's not dramatic, but for me is huge. Baby steps, but at least moving forward.

DC said...

I beg to differ on the presence thing. I think it is more the way they develop.

You can usually tell a stallion from a gelding in the same way you can tell a steer from a bull. They are just different.

Molly said...

My moment
I was visiting one of my horsey friends who only had one horse at the time. We were dying to go for a trail ride so we called up her neighbor to see if they would let us borrow one of theirs for the afternoon. I ended up with this super cute little arabian gelding.
Off we went, and man was this little arabian great. I never had to ask for anything twice with this guy, and He took me over anything. I had a really great ride. One of the best trail rides I've ever had to this day. So, we get back home, and I'm ready to buy this horse on the spot. We are unsaddling, and my friend says "Wow, I"m surpized you stayed on him, he usually bucks off his riders by the time they leave the driveway and bolts for the barn."
Me: "HUH?!?!?!?!?!?!"
Needless to say, his owners wouldn't sell him to me. They figured that If I stayed on him, maybe there was hope for them after all.

SolitaireMare said...

Hi VLC! I know I've had a few "greatest moments" throughout my years in the saddle but only one comes to mind right now.

It was at a H/J show with my OTTB mare. She was in her mid-late teens at the time. After many years of working through the unpredictable behavior OTTB's are known for, I was enjoying her relative quietness. At this show, the ingate area was very crowded and close. We were moving up closer to the ingate to take our hunter round when mare decided she had enough of people and horses moving into her personal space. So mare calmly reared straight up!! She hovered there for a second as people and horses scattered out of her way, then she slowly turned to one side and came down. All the while I was relaxed, leaned forward with an opening rein and clucked her forward a step (I had dealt with her nonsense for so many years that nothing surprised me with her anymore, I think back to it now and say, WTF?!? - I'd be shaking in my Ariats after a stunt like that!)

The gate keeper was quite shaken up. He asked if I was okay and said he thought I should go next. (LOL) I said yes, entered, picked up a canter and proceeded to quietly canter my drama queen horse around the course as if nothing happened.

We knew the judge had seen the whole thing and we were shocked when we won the class. My trainer still shakes his head and says the only reason I won is the judge gave me extra points for the "freestyle exhibition" prior to entering the ring.

I have no idea how I'd ride out the same situation today. I'd probably get through the rear okay, but have to get off and get myself together for awhile before I could go back in the ring and compete.

hmm...and I've been saying, after the horse I have now, maybe I'll rescue/retrain an OTTB...am I crazy??

said...

'Ello.
I'm only 13, so I don't have a lot of greatest-moments.
I used to lease a devilish little pony named Dublin. He was sweet and I loved him to bits but he would buck and bolt all the time [especially before I started riding him :)]. Well, I ride hunter-jumper, and he had gotten much better in the 6 months I had leased him, so I asked my instructor if I could take him to a local jumping show. Took him there and even after 10 minutes of lunging he was freaking out. I rode him around in the training arena and he would take off in fits of crazy bucking. Everyone else in the ring on their perfectly-trained ponies was watching me probably thinking "Who the heck is this little girl riding the crazy pony?!" It was a really fun show though, and I won a few blues. :]

By the way, I just want to say that I'm fine with bucking/bolting horses. However, I am dead afraid of getting on a rearing horse. That scares the crap out of me.

Diane said...

Not at all a training accomplishment, but my best moment came when I unloaded my 24 year old hard keeper at the new boarding barn. As he was halfway off the trailer the barn manager (holding my mare so I could get the gelding) said "Well, someone hasn't missed any meals, have they?" It was a shining achievement in my eyes, as we'd been working hard for several months to get him up to a good weight. He wasn't fat, but the BM was used to seeing racing-fit TBs, not aged pleasure quarter horses. To this day, it's my favorite memory of that BM, who was a really nice guy. I don't think there were any words he could have said that were more certain to endear me to him.

icepony said...

I have several, which I cling to in all my current chicken-sh*ttedness, lol!

When I had my old, fat Morab gelding, I showed a lot of local schoolig-typle shows, usually losing to some random horse and ALWAYS Girl X on the big, shiny pushbutton QH. The day finally came in an equitation class where the judge asked us to SWITCH HORSES, and as Epona was smiling, I got Girl X's horse and she got my gelding. (I'd secretly been dying to ride that horse for years, lol!) Needless to say, we mopped up the arena and left with a purdy blue ribbon, and the judge came 'round after to tell me he actually wanted to prove a point to Girl X, as it was obvious to him that she wouldn't have a clue how to ride anything but her own horse, and I could easily outride her no matter what I was on. May not have been true, but I was sure puffed!

Fast forward to buying tiny fugly pinto filly of unknown pony breeding. Took her to her first show as a yearling, and totally blew everyone else out of the water in "Baby Trail" - halter class with all kinds of trail obstacles to be taken in-hand. While that felt really good, the icing on the cake was that one of the local "instructors" (and I use the term loosely) actually accused me of drugging my filly! LOL, no, it's called TONS of groundwork on a daily basis, lady!

Last but not least, this was more recent...went on a "pauper's cruise" to Mexico, wanted to fulfill my dreams of riding on the beach while we were there. Chose/got handed a tiny little chesnut mare, maybe 3 years old. She was difficult on the way out, but not impossible (very green, I think), but on the way back she cut loose. I not only lasted the 8 seconds, I rode her to a standstill and got a round of applause from the construction workers watching, lol! I also had her full attention at that point, and we enjoyed a very nice ride back. At that point, the story came out that this mare had bucked off EVERYONE who had been on her for the last month, including our guide and the mare's "experienced" owner. Felt pretty darn good about myself afterwards (and really wanted to take the little girl home...she might have been lovely with proper care and training).

dp said...

jdkdressage: My mare was like this when she first arrived. I just stuck the mounting block in an open area and hauled her in 4 or 5 circles around it (I never got off the block) every time she swung out. I had to do it for about 10 minutes the first day, 5 minutes the second day, and she was standing nice and quiet after about the 10th day. Not sure if that would work with your knee, but it sends the message of "I'm not getting off this damned block, and you're going to have to work either way". Good luck!

bb21bfs said...

My big moment in time was a great pay off. I went to work for some people that had eight Peruvian Pasos that they needed exercised awesome the more the better. When I arrived they introduced me to all the horses. Everyone was sweet natured great horses my question was were is the eighth horse. They told me he was at the fourth trainer who had decided he was insane. His favorite thing to do was rear and bolt. I thought ok well I had a baby 4 months prior I wasn’t going to mess with that. I went about working with the other horses until the day Rico came home.

I approached him on the ground; he seemed quiet enough he wasn’t affectionate but he wanted to trust and be around me. I asked if I could ride him. I am 20 hear me roar I can ride anything . What was it I told myself when I heard about him…..he is a bay ( my most fav color) long flowing mane and lots of fire.

Anyway our first ride was interesting to say the least. I rode only English back then silly me. I had him all tacked up and ready to go. I put my foot in the stirrup and went to swing up; I was half way there and he took off like a big bird I came off and he stepped on my fingers with his back feet. Later I found out he had stepped on my fore arm also but not sure when that happened. After I caught him his owners said to put him up. Me being the big horse person I was “I cant let him get away with that” they said it was not worth it he was going to auction in 2 weeks. I got on him anyway. He was good as gold after that.

The next day I decided to ride him bare back that went well until he decided we were done and I said no we weren’t. He reared straight up in the air The Lone Rangers Silver would have approved. I stuck with him and he was as surprised as I was. I felt something that day though I thought maybe I could save him. I asked that they give me the winter to work with him if I could not ride him in the spring they could take him to auction then. For some unknown reason they agreed.

I went out every other day and rode in the barn I gained his confidence and trust he still reared from time to time but I started trying to control it. When I felt he was going to do it I would give him a cue. Anyway to make an already long story shorter that spring I rode him out of the barn with a lead rope around the base of his neck and bare back. I rode out to where his owners were and did figure eights, circles, we walked ,we gaited, we even jumped a small log. Of course when I stopped him he wanted to keep working so I circled and stopped and I cued him to rear. Remember there was nothing on his head. His owners were in tears. After that I trail rode him that spring and summer. There are a lot of stories in there but needless to say I had saved him.

His owners 2 years later were getting a divorce and were trying to get rid of all the horses; I could not afford to buy Rico so I had to sit by while people test rode him. He was never very good for them but he tried. Finally they said I was the only one that would forgive him for his mistakes and not kill him. He was given to me. We had many adventures together in the 10 years we were together.

DoubleDiamond said...

Let's see...I was probably about 16 or so and my sister, another boarder and I were supposed to bring in 4 horses from the back field. We were discussing who would ride who back to the barn. My sister (who had barely ever ridden) got the oldest and calmest horse there. Our boarder friend got on her horse and ponied my unbroke 2yr old filly with her. She turned to me a said (with this wide HeeHee grin on her face) "well I guess you get to ride Snoopy!" Snoopy was a tiny little 14hh Arabian with a puppy dog personality. So I proceed to clip a lead to his halter and hop aboard (something I would NEVER do now!). I was halfway up when he took off like a shot across the field. Thinking nothing of it I just rode him right up to the barn and proceeded to ride him around the indoor until the other two caught up. But I noticed as I was riding him around that I was getting these wide-eyed stares...so I asked Snoopy's owner (after they finally showed up) why I was getting these looks. To which she replied "Oh your only the third person to ride him bareback and your the only one who ever stayed on!" She thought it was a great joke. Apparently he was fine under saddle but ride him bareback and the poor little guy just lost his mind!

readytoride said...

I have many more humiliating moments in public then glorious moments- At home, riding by myself we can experiemce amazing moments of lightness and brilliance- As soon as I am in a group of other riders, however, I become all heavy legs and hands. Especially picking up leads, I ALWAYS pick up the wrong lead when others are around. At home,, it seem effortless to get the correct lead. I think I must be doing exactly the opposite of what I do at home.

Other people then feel inclinded to give me really obvious and basic advice.

Sigh, I am not destined to ever ever look cool on a horse. However, I like riding enough to accept this as a reality and to just ride any ways....

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Readytoride - if you can do it at home but not in front of an audience, you know it's very simple - you're letting others distract you. Take a breath and pause before you ask. Do you have the horse aligned the way you want? Are you concentrating on your horse, or being watched? You can do it. Just take your time.

(I know...I used to rush transitions in the show ring until someone finally told me, um, you don't get marked down for taking 3 seconds to think before you do the gait that was called. You know what? YOU DON'T!)

These are such great stories. As to the mare who reared before entering the arena, I had a mare who laid down and rolled IN the arena...but the gate wasn't closed, so the class was not technically started. We got 2nd. :-)

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Another show ring tip for those of you just starting out...it looks so much better to begin the trot sitting and then start posting on the correct diagonal (learn to feel it, nothing looks more uncool than looking for it) than just launch into a posting trot and have to switch when you realize you're wrong. Again, just take your time a bit. No judge penalizes you for taking a few seconds and doing it right and "pretty."

SquirrelGurl said...

My crowning moment was at our county fair, we had a shared wash rack at our fair and I had her tied at the far end of the wash rack. At the very other end was a week old dairy calf... she looked at my mare (who has always lived with cows) and she sits back on her butt, snaps the lead rope and goes tearing through the fairgrounds suds flying and executes a perfect sliding stop in the center of the horse barn. We went through this 2 more times and I was shooting sparks b/c she knew better. It took 4 people to hold her so I could hose her off. The big time trainers daughter started a rumor that I beat my horse to make her behave and wanted me DQ'ed.

We finally got to the show ring and we cleaned up in the halter class. She was a dream and we soundly beat the girl spreading the rumors. Then it was time for the under saddle portion, dear old Buttercup reverted back to her morning craziness- she tried to jump the in-gate, spooked at a jump standard, dumped me then bit the judge when the judge caught her. I was beyond embarassed at this point b/c we were like a ticking time bomb.

Finally it was time for the line up and the judge announced that there was one person who deserved the blue more than anyone else but since it was a pleasure class she couldn't award it to that person. She looked directly at "rumor girl" and said you win b/c your horse did all the work, you did nothing but go along for the ride. This girl over here (me), has a WONDERFUL seat but her horse is giving her hell today. On a good day there would have been no competition. I placed last in the class but I was grinning from ear to ear cause "rumor girl" got just what she deserved!!

OutRiding01 said...

I was in high school and starting to do some Medals in prep for trying to get on a college riding team. I had been doing mostly jumpers and pony hunters until then. My jumper decided he'd rather join the circus than set foot in a ring with scary white jumps and no bright colors so I was stuck trying to find an equitation mount the day of the show. I was only doing the 3' children's medals so I didn't need anything special and a rerider lady at my stable said I could ride her horse. He was a 6 year old 17.1hh Argentinean TB (or something like that) and sweet as pie for her in the long stirrup division. Well, my asshat trainer decided that he needed a tune up because he hadn't done 3' in a while and proceeded to school us back and forth over the same jump for 20 minutes until I could feel the horse about to explode and told her in no ucertain terms
I was finished.

Went into the ring for the junior equitation division and spent two rounds trying not to get bucked off by the very large and now pissed off gelding. When I came out of the ring, my trainer said she was going to the office to scratch us for the rest of the weekend. I told her she would do no such thing.

That evening, I took him in the Charles Owen Medal, absolutely ignored everything my trainer said and had a beautiful round. I got called back to test and nailed it. Ended up winning second, over my trainer's star equitation rider and Haylie Jane. You can bet I was happy as hell. The horse ended up getting drug tested, I'm sure because of the huge difference, but of course he was clean.

Sagebrusheq said...

Neat stories ladies. What always made me feel best was when people liked my horse. I value the business cards given to me by instructors interested in my horse more than the (very) few ribbons I've gotten. When good horsemen like your animal it's a real rush, even though you suspect they think she's being wasted in your hands. But the compliment I treasure the most was direct and said publicly. It came from Michael Page at a TDE clinic who said during the jumping lesson, "This is a useful horse." High praise indeed.

As to rides that have been really special there's one in particular that sticks out in my mind. I was schooling the dressage test the night before a small unsanctioned HT. It was all but dark and no one was there but me and my mare. Just walk, trot, and canter, but it was a great ride. The magnificence of it has probably grown in my mind but I remember thinking at the time, " It can never get any better than this, I should just quit forever now."

It can always get worse though. Phase I was a disaster the next day, the worst score I've ever gotten, and it cost me 1st place. I went home with a bottle of glycerine instead of a nice rug. Oddly though I got a very nice compliment in the 'comments' from the judge. 'Nice horse and rider combination.' Maybe she thought I needed some cheering up.

Sagebrush eq

Jackie said...

Well...not about riding....but for a while I was taking care of the horses next door when the "trainer" (cough cough, another story)needed me, and I got a call when I shopping that the horses had gotten out, the people who were there couldn't catch one (he was having a blast running around!) and could I come and catch him as they were out of town for the day.

Well, I go to the barn, get out of my car, and there is Pete running around like a nut. I walk to the barn door, hollar "Pete, get in your stall" and he stops, puts his head down, calmly walks into the barn and into his stall! Everyone was stunned (I think I even heard "horse whisperer once), and I did not let on I was just as surprized as they were!

casual observer said...

When i got out of high school, I got a job at Bay Meadows race track as a 'pony girl'. It was during the Quarter Horse meet. (I won't say what year). The trainer I worked for sent me out for my first session of night racing.

Of course I didn't like HIS saddle so I put mine on his roly-poly 'pony horse'. Messed around letting cinch-latigoes down and all the rest of the adjustments that go along with a western saddle..

So here we are, warming up this race horse...my fingers are through his bit, (no, I didn't have a 'lead strap')his head is in my, lap and the jockey says "lets blow him out". Which I learned very quickly that this means to FLY around to the backstretch with this damn racehorses head almost in my lap and my pony horse galloping as fast as he can for about an 1/8 of a mile.

After dropping my 'charge' off at the starting gate, us pony riders wait behind the gate for the race to start. One of the other pony riders pointed down and said "hey look, your cinch is hanging".

Apparently I had not looped the off-side latigo around correctly and heavens only knows how long that cinch had been hanging there.

To this day (30 years later) I think of this episode and thank the good Lord that I didn't end up underneath both sets of flying hooves on the racetrack.

My hands shake just to type about it...

icepony said...

Sagebrusheq, I'm lol about your comment from the judges...I still have my very first dressage test paper somewhere, and I clearly remember one comment on it: "Circles don't have corners." giggle

Sagebrusheq said...

icepony;
"circles don't have corners"
Then there's the opposite extreme. I was in the LA basin visiting friends a few years ago. I was feeling homesick and my friends don't ride and noticing what appeared to be a hunter barn in their neighborhood I wandered over. It was a lovely well kept facility with some nice horses at board; but the schooling ring was rounded off into a long oval. Dummying up so as not to appear critical I asked the instructor why there were no corners. She told me, 'We've found our students don't like them.' My mother would have been proud of me because I just nodded and said "Oh. Do mind if I wander around and say hello to some of the horses"

Sagebrush eq

mattsontraining.net said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mattsontraining.net said...

Mine would have to be when my horse Podesta and I were competing and made all the horse magazines about the speculation that I would be the youngest rider to compete at Rolex. That was also the year I turned down $150,000 for him.

Later that same year he won horse of the year and he ended up getting a tendon injury. Then the next spring when we were to compete again I had a young horse flip over a cross country jump, land on top of me, dislocate my shoulder, brake a couple of ribs, fracture my tibia, and my ankle was busted so bad it was turned backwards.

So my next 'moment' I am hoping will be when I get my 2 youngsters up to Prelim by this fall.

Sagebrusheq said...

PS: Icepony, it's encouraging to hear that you save your tests. A very nice English lady from the Seattle area, whom I scribed for last year (very patient and understanding too), ruefully told me that some eventers don't even bother to pick theirs up. Incomprehensible.

Sagebrush

readytoride said...

Thanks fugly-
I have been over evaluating what it is I am doing wrong and rushing the transitions in public. This is probably the main culpret.

I need to slowly ask for the transition with out getting tied up in a knot (you know "you veeel be flexed, ya, you veel pushing da shoulder to da outside and da hip in to da center of da arena to get zee perfect canter depature form"- that is supposed to be a German accent)

It doesnt help that I know we are on the wrong lead even before we start cantering, then franically stop him and ask again even more tied up in knots.

At home, it is all relaxed, we go arround untill we are at the perfect point any ways, then slowly cue (inside leg to shoulder), cue (outside leg back) and smooch and he usually picks up the correct lead- when he doesnt, I don't make a big deal about it so things do not get frantic.

Am going to a riding session this afternoon with a lot of people and will try out a more relaxed and slow approach

fraidykat said...

I took English lessons. One day it all came together as I was posting and the instructor called the other riders in the center of the ring, She told them to watch me trot along on Amber if they wanted to see what a perfect post looked like. Amber's owner later thanked me for making her horse look so good.
I can feel that rhythm sitting here over 30 years later.

naina said...

I was riding Ty (the Welsh pony in my avatar) in a group lesson one evening, and one of the other students was having trouble with her releases over a jump. Our instructor had her practice them at a trot over tiny X's for a while, and she got better. When we took a short break, someone else asked about the automatic release. The instructor turned to me and said, "Take him over that line of verticals, they'll see how it's done."

So I cantered Ty in a circle, down to the far side of the ring, and *pop* *pop* *pop*, over the three verticals, easy as you please.

My instructor said those three jumps were absolutely textbook perfect. To me, they felt perfect, too - the pony going up and over in a smooth bascule, my heels down, eyes up, everything as it should be.

This was seven years ago, and Ty has passed since then, but I'll hold on to those minutes forever.

Redsmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redsmom said...

Sorry for the delete. I wanted to edit. at age 35 or so, I had been away from home a long time, but had been taking lessons weekly and riding with a friend in Texas. While visiting home, I rode my cousin's green broke gelding. They had someone put, I guess, 30 days on him and he was just back from that. I overheard my cousin (who's been riding since she could climb on) tell someone, about me, "She'll ride that green horse! She's not afraid to ride anything!" It was one of my proudest moments, since I have always been kind of chicken and she was always the fearless one. I had a great seat in those days! That's the same horse that everyone thought I was magic because I could bridle him. They went up to their old dead broke horses and brideled them striaght from the front. I stood to one side of greenie and under his neck and did the 2-hand method, no problem. They thought I was the bomb!

blondetherapy said...

I have a few to chose from... all were many years ago.
The youngest was when I was 15 years old and I had a bay QH mare. Beautiful, smart, athletic mare. And she got bored easily. We showed in 14 different events and won or placed second in them all. But the best was the day we were not in a show but playing around at homebase. We had a few racers in the barn for training and they needed a sprinter to help compete with them. So my mare and I saddled up and went out to get them something to race against for the 1/4 mile on the track. My 12 year old mare wiped the track with these hot 2 and 3 year olds... horses who were winning in races. I was so proud of my mare and how hard and fast her starts were and how she showed so much heart and drive to beat them. She was Doc Bar/ Poco Lena bred, so more cow horse than race horse... but she was an amazing english horse as well.
We also did eventing and I remember riding her bareback one summer and doing a nice canter through the fields and decided to do some jumping... round bales lined up in the field. Yeah... stupid teenage decision, but we could do anything right? Well... we did... we cleared those round bales bareback.
Then there was the summer of night storms. We had severe heavy rain and there is a creek that cuts the pastures off from the barn area, with a rise on the other side. I went out to check on the horse herd and realized they were on the wrong side. All the horse were on the other side of the creek, with waters rising (creek had grown to 25ft. across and rising) and the Arkansas River was on the other side of the herd. I whistled for my mare and she crossed the creek to me! I hopped up on her, rode back through the creek and rounded up the herd, driving them back across and into the dry barn. None of the other boarders helped round them up, but everyone helped rub them down and give carrots out.
I really miss that mare... she passed away many years ago. But she will never be forgotten. She made me the rider I later became. Now if I can only get back some of that! okay... thanks... I got myself all weepy now.

Shadow Rider said...

I have had a few that were memorable.
My horse Shadow was 5 yrs old, and I had just started riding her after retiring her mother. I used to hack over to the Pony Club grounds for lessons with the instructor (a cert. Pony Club judge) One day the ring was full of jumps for a show, and she asked if I wanted to do some jumping. I said sure. I had hopped Shadow over a few logs, etc. so figured we could hop over a jump or two. She had us jump one, then two, then a line, then gave us a complex pattern to do. Shadow and I had a blast, not paying any attention to the height or complexity of the jumps, just having fun. After the last line, the instructor told me except that I had 'crossed my line' in the pattern, I had done as well or better than any she had seen on the local circut, and with work Shadow and I had real potential to move up in jumpers. Of course my fractured leg put an end to those dreams, but if only..

A few years later, (after the broken leg) a friend and I were trail riding, me on my 16 h 1300 pound Shadow, her on her 15.1 cute little arab. There had been a storm, and some of the trails were washed out, so we were being careful. Not careful enough though. We crossed a bridge of I-beams with railroad ties and while her little guy trotted across no problem, Shadow got half way and one of the ties collapsed, with her falling part way through the bridge. I rolled off, and looked back and Shadow scrambling, and said "whoa, Shadow!" She froze, and just laid there. Any other horse would have seriosuly hurt themself, but she listened, and never moved again except when we told her. She even rolled on her side when I told her to, and pushed on her neck, and I have never asked her to do anything like that. Because she listened, two women, miles from help, without even a lead rope to help,managed to get a 1300 pound horse up out of the bridge. I have never had such trust from a horse, and it saved her life.

But probably the moment I am most proud of was recently when I had the vet out for Chiro treatment. I had her out for my OTTB, but I asked her to look at Shadow (now 21) because I felt she was stiffer on one side. (I had always felt I didn't do enough for her after her injury falling through the bridge. But back then chiro wasn't as available.) The vet worked her back, adjusted her hip and neck, and said 'I can't believe how great your horse looks. Her back is perfect, she is in great shape, just some minor adjustments needed. How wonderful to see a horse this age still in work and in such wonderful shape.'

That was my moment, to hear from an expert that she was ok, I was doing the right thing, and taking proper care of my girl.

yatima said...

My eighteen year old Arabian taking second and fifth in his first ever dressage tests, under a strict judge, against TBs and warmbloods.

Oh Alfie. There will never be another you.

Malarkey said...

oh.. I have a few moments. Jumping 4 ft in a lesson with my old trainer, getting to the point where I could "see" distances and nailing every distance during lessons & while riding a course (and on a difficult horse to boot)... staying on when I should have come off at a show :-z Ah, youth! Other highlights: Having a former Olympian compliment my riding. (many high moments in lessons with this individual, doing things I never thought myself capable of!) Finally learning what having a horse "between hand & leg" felt like...

Malarkey said...

Oh, another. coming in 2nd to my trainer in an equitation class ;-)