I am not sure how an Irish Huzzy up from the countryside is going to mix with upper class English TBs but I do know that DiDi was bred out of a Connemara mare by an Irish Draught stallion to compete. The area in which my wife and I presently live is in many ways a paradise for horses. Woodlands abound and quiet country lanes lead up from the paddock in which DiDi was kept to the surrounding hillsides but the sad fact is that DiDi was not bred for hacking out, just her and me, she is too highly strung. The pheasants, rabbits and deer to be found in those woods gave cause for many a shy. Sadly, where she now resides, there are no such woods but there is a brand new Olympic sized arena.
As a pensioner long past his prime, I recently have had to relearn to sit her properly despite the fact that I have been riding for 35 years. DiDi is nothing like any horse I have ever ridden before. She is alert, sensitive, sharp, intelligent, powerful and very forward going. Her docile manner in hand belies her true nature. One sits on this horse and she senses your heart beat. She moves off at all times with impulsion and there is never any need to urge this girl on. Put her into a trot either slow, working, collected or extended and she’ll trot until you instruct her to walk. She’ll go rounded on the bit or long and low on the buckle. If you know the buttons to push she’s quite a horse and as such she is probably wrong for an old man like me. But young Claire has the measure of her and it is a delight to watch the pair of them work out.
For me to exercise her in the arena is a hard exercise routine. Realistically I have to develop more muscles around my centre core. All that trotting, and the required action from the under thigh muscles puts strain on my aged frame. Maybe I ought to attend a second Pilates class each week.
Where are we going with the horse?
Well soon Claire will be taking her into first dressage competition. Then perhaps later we might see exactly how she can jump. Her broad muscular rump certainly gives her the power to do well. Sooner or later I am going to have to accept that she needs a younger owner than either myself or my wife especially as neither of us are in any way competitive. I am well aware that at my age it would be foolish to buy another horse and for this reason I am loathe to let DiDi go. However if she does show promise then if the right competitive home comes up then, for her sake, I must consider passing her on.
As it is, I miss her being in her paddock over the hedge at the end of my garden although the benefit has been that DiDi has lost some weight. She is not getting the treats she used to under my regime. The outline of her rump is becoming more muscular and her belly is lifting. She is quiet and relaxed reflecting the tranquillity of her new home amongst the farming community. She doesn’t seem to miss the outside world but it will be interesting to see how she reacts to the hustle and bustle of a horse show.
It is now Claire’s job to set DiDi’s daily routine and not mine but I still sense that when I turn up on the yard that DiDi recognises me. As I approach the gate so she walks up and lowers her head in greeting. She gives me a little nuzzle but in truth it is to see if there is a tidbit in my pocket. I certainly miss those early morning trail rides I used to enjoy with Joe, my stubborn hairy cob, but that never was DiDi’s scene. However life goes on and I must accept change.
I suppose this is all a bit like a parent sending the daughter off to college.