Well not quite fancy dressage but hey we won’t complain. I think it’s important for horses to get out of the ring as much as possible both for mental and physical health. We were invited to ride out with Jim, Pat and Patty yesterday. Jim and his wife Pat bought Areutrue from me and are in the process of considering Bling to add to their crew of horses. Jim has ridden him once in the ring and once out on trail but asked if he could have another ride. Of course! There is absolutely no better way to know if a horse is a match than seeing them in action in your intended discipline. It also helps me to make sure horse and rider are a good match.
Kurt and I loaded up Letterman, Junior and Bling. The trails we were riding had a ton of jumps on them. Jim really wanted to see how Bling would take the jumps as that was our main question about how he would handle the hunt field. He has just been a horse that is unsure of what to do about the jumps. He doesn’t refuse in the sense that he won’t go but he wants to slow down and look. Then he goes over 🙂 He is very relaxed about this and doesn’t seem to get flustered so I told them that I really strongly believe it is a matter of mileage. We know he is quiet, he leads, he follows, he isn’t spooky and he is a really easy ride. Could he figure out what was expected of him?
I find that it is fascinating to take one of these group rides where everybody is jumping in a row in the woods. It is absolutely like hunting and gives you a very good idea of how your horse is going to handle themselves. We all switched places throughout the ride but as we expected Bling went from not quite sure about the jumps to happily jumping even some pretty good-sized jumps with interesting groundlines..log oxers and even several logs right in a row. What impressed me so much was that he never rushed, never got nervous, never cared about the other horses and just got more confident as we went.
Kurt has never jumped so many jumps and Junior was having an absolute blast. Junior is not a fan of following but he will do it if you make him. Kurt said that when he jumps behind other people, Junior just wants to go. Ha, yes he sure does 🙂 I was so impressed watching Kurt sail over the fences. Kurt really likes jumping now and he had so much fun. Junior is worth his weight in gold for being the best hubby horse in the whole wide world!
Letterman has never really been in a group jumping situation and he hasn’t jumped in many months. Let’s just say he was very happy 🙂 He was jumping everything 2ft higher than needed and often leaving strides out just because he could. He would jump the little sticks on the ground just because he could. I had to really work on reminding him of not landing and running up the other horses butt. Good practice for hunting!
I can’t tell you how many times I got right up on Bling’s butt. Not to mention Bling was trotting and Letterman was cantering along making a bunch of noise. Bling was not at all bothered. Bling also went in the back and went in the front. He can lead and he doesn’t care a bit about following! Letterman typically can handle both roles as well but it takes a bit of time into the ride for him to chill enough to be happy about going in the back.
Pat was riding Areutrue (former horse that I sold to them) and she gave us a lead over some of the bigger jumps as well as past some scarier things. She said that he has gained so much confidence and she has so much fun on him. He is happy to just trot at one speed and he is really great to the jumps. It makes me so happy to see Areutrue in such a great home with people who really appreciate him. Areutrue really loves his new life!
We moved along quite a bit for the whole ride almost like a fast hunting day. It was good to see that all the horses could handle going fast and then relaxing. We even stopped to prune a tree so that we could jump. I was impressed that Junior managed to stand quietly! Kurt said that when we all backed up to go over the jump that Junior was like a horse coming out of the starting gate. Too funny!
I was very happy to see how well Letterman handled himself. I would say he was pretty darn perfect but…always that but. We took Junior, Letterman and Bling in while Pat and Patty made another little loop. Jim and I were just walking along talking and I think that Letterman went to itch his leg and then when down there he saw a scary bottle. He jumped straight up in the air and I was on the buckle so it startled me. I caught him with my spurs and he gave one big buck and off I went. Fell right off the back. It was pretty darn funny but I am still healing from my last fall so it hurt. I can’t really fault him because it was just a dumb thing but lord that horse is athletic! I think Jim didn’t even know what to say 🙂 Leave it to me to provide some entertainment.
We all had such a good time. I think the horses are a bit tired today. Our boys are fit but we moved along pretty good and it was hot. It was a nice workout for them. Paper chases start-up soon!