Tuesday, 11 November 2014

All The Things

I got Ginger out for another ride yesterday. I cheated just a little because G came too and brought Bridget along to eat all the yummy grass around the ring. That counts as cheating a bit because Ginger is much happier and a bit less spooky when she's not all alone out there - company almost guarantees a good ride. It's been a while since I really put the big mare through her paces, but when I do, I'm always left humbled.
Lunging pic because I suck and forgot to ask G to take the camera with him.

The first thing I always notice about Ginger is she feels way bigger than her actual height - she's incredibly powerful feeling and rides like a much bigger horse. Not that 15.3hh is super small, but even so, she rides way bigger than any of the 16-17hh horses I've ridden. The second is how quick and reactive she is. I think I mentioned Bridget was a little full of beans the other day and putting on a bit of a show and it was really no big deal to sit quietly and stay centered in the saddle. With Ginger, I can be left feeling like I'm always catching up and just a split second behind her even just doing basic things. The third thing (that always gets me a little choked up to be honest - it's an incredible feeling) is just how easy it is when we're in sync. Ginger just floats along. Leg yield? Haunches in? Shoulders? Spirals? Extend? Sure, just think it and she's almost there before me. And oh my. That canter that I desperately want to create in Bridget? That forwardness and really coming through from behind? It's there waiting for me with Ginger, and she finds it so very, very, easy. It's not that there's anything wrong with Bridget - she's a nice enough mover in her own right, it's more Ginger is freaky athletic.

As I said to G, Ginger is all the things I've ever dreamed about riding. The trouble is, sometimes I feel like someone handed me a Ferrari when I'm used to driving an SUV :) It's exciting, addictive and fun, but I feel borderline out of control at times. Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows there's been a couple of periods where my confidence in myself as a rider was totally shot, in no small part due to just how independent Ginger expects you to be - she's a very sweet girl, but she's not going to wait around or bail you out if you can't stay with her. It's not that I'm a terrible rider even, the problem is I'm just an average one who makes mistakes. That's where the wonderful little Bridget comes in - she's wise way beyond her years and will bail you out of just about anything and be cheerful about it too. She's a super confidence keeper and so much fun in her own right. I'm incredibly lucky that she found her way to me.
Extra points deducted for picture taking skillz- the only other one I took with my phone and it appears Ginger's getting ready to pee lol

My big riding goal, as always, is to be able to REALLY ride this big mare of mine. Not to be along for the ride, not to kind sorta make her look good, but to be able to really ride and show her off. I want to build on these minutes of being totally with each other and turn them into something more permanent and entirely special.

With that in mind, I hopped on for my no stirrups November on the lovely Ms Bridget. Since I didn't bring any tack for her it was just bareback with a halter. She was a little unsure of the bareback thing at first, but adapted super quickly and we had a blast. She's got the bounciest trot I think I've ever sat, and I think that's saying something (looking at you, Checkers!). She's got really high knee and hock action so it's a bit interesting and she's one of the few horses I'd rather post bareback than sit. However, she's a wannabe kids pony and sets herself up to stay under you. I think it would be hard to really get off balance on her. Apparently I'm cheating again - this time with no stirrups November cause Bridget makes it a lot easier than it should be.

Pictures next time to prove it happened, promise :)

14 comments:

  1. That's a good goal! Know what you mean about when they feel like they're riding bigger than they are.

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    1. Sometimes you read the ads and are like "Yeah sure, rides big, that person is just trying to make up for the fact the horse's height is less than desirable", but all the cobs I've ridden really do ride huge! I'm really not that small and Ginger makes me look (and feel) tiny up there! I've had a couple of people comment on how small Bridget is, then I get on and they're like "whoa...she's actually a good size!"

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  2. Ginger sounds amazing! and your goal of being able to really show her off is exciting :) i'd love to be able to do better justice for my pretty mare too.. but it's a daunting task...

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    1. I think even with the 'easy' horses there's a huge amount of work and a bit of talent involved to show them to their best. I hear you, though....Ginger is a daunting task as well :)

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  3. Wonderful blog post, I love your honesty. And I am fantasizing again about owning a bay Welsh.

    Shopping now, from Germany where I live:

    Dappled chestnut, cheap: http://www.ehorses.de/welsh-d-hengst-4-5jahre-152-cm-dunkelfuchs-dressurpferd-freizeitpferd-springpferd-schaupferd-wildeshausen/956505.html

    Bay, 34,000Euros (ad in English!) : http://www.ehorses.de/welsh-d-wallach-6jahre-148-cm-brauner-dressurpferd-vejen/942358.html

    Gorgeous buckskin, pregnant, a good citizen, takes kids on trails, cheap: http://www.ehorses.de/welsh-d-stute-15jahre-150-cm-falbe-freizeitpferd-westernpferd-zuchtpferd-schaupferd-vilsbiburg/962398.html

    Bay with chrome, looks like a stud, 9K Euros, but kids ride him? http://www.ehorses.de/welsh-d-wallach-5-5jahre-146-cm-brauner-dressurpferd-freizeitpferd-springpferd-hohenmocker/945653.html

    OK thanks again for a trip through fantasy land. The first horse I ever knew was a Welsh Arabian cross. What a great mix. Though I'm an Arabian person, I have a real fondness for tippy eared Welshes. In bay.



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    1. Gorgeous horses! I'm such a sucker for a buckskin, but obviously I love my bay girls too! I think you'd enjoy a Sec D, the ones I've met remind me so much of the Arabians I rode as a kid - incredibly smart, huge work ethic, and a bit hotter than your average horse - also tough and really easy keepers. The downside, of course is mine at least are nowhere near as naturally fit! love your blog because the way you describe Mara reminds me so much of my girls :)

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  4. It really sounds like you have the best of both worlds with G. and B. It is great that your lesson experience led you to buying a second horse. I think she will be a tremendous confidence booster for you and it sounds like they both have their own unique challenges and rewards!

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    1. I regretted leaving home and taking that job from the first minute - no regrets though about the lessons, as you say, they led me to buying Bridget and she`s exactly what I needed :)

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  5. I totally hear you on wanting to learn to ride to show them at their best.
    Here's hoping we get there with our quadruplets ☺

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    1. We`ll get there, I know it! You have such a bond with your girls, it`s bound to happen :)

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  6. I'm not sure that I do have that special a bond, they are pretty fickle & like whoever feeds them ;-)
    I have so many holes in my eq-cation that need fixing if i hope to ever make things better. Fingers crossed for lessons & practice helping lolz...now to work on consistency

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    1. You look like a lovely rider in your pics :) Hard work and consistency are always the key, I think.

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  7. I cannot imagine what riding a 15hh Welsh would be like, because as you say, they do ride big. That would just feel BIG! They are two awesome horses. :)

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    1. Aww, thank you :) She's a big girl - nearly 16hh last I measured! I actually need to lengthen my stirrups on her and ride at more of a dressage length all the time. Because, as a former coach so eloquently put it - putting me on Ginger is "like trying to put a clothes peg on an orange!"

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