I figure this is the best place for this post - I weigh in at 301 pounds at 5'7". I figured if anyone here would understand the need to just talk to someone who has the same kinds of issues, it would be this group!
I had a good ride today – though everything around us went wrong.
It started with my daughter’s filly getting hurt – see “filly won’t walk” thread if you want to read about it.
Then, it was time to work with my gelding. I haven’t been riding in six weeks because he was complaining about saddle fit, and I have not had the money to get a new one. Today we gave up and I just brought out the saddle we have been using for the last nine years and apologized to my gelding. Before I got on, my daughter was going to ride him down for me. The plan was to have her put him into his Saddlebred gaits so I could film them. Someone else brought their daughter-in-law out to ride – and she CHASED that mare about the arena trying to ‘lunge’ her… which freaked out my gelding.
As my daughter rode towards the arena, my gelding started rearing and just totally being a butt. She did an immediate rapid dismount as she was riding bareback. Realizing that the idiot was not going to leave the arena any time soon, my daughter took my gelding down the road for a gallop. Apparently that did not go so well either and he continued to be a butt.
At that point, I saddled him up with the intention of reinstalling manners. I have found that about every two or three years, he needs to be reminded of them, and it has been about four years since the last time. So I mounted and right off the bat he wanted to rush into the barn to the arena.
It took me a bit of convincing to get my daughter to give us some space as she kept wanting to grab his bridle, but once I got her out of harm’s way, my gelding and I had a discussion…
We walked forward, stopped, backed up, forward, backward and when he went to freak out, we side passed back and forth towards and away from the barn. It took maybe three minutes of this and he went soft in my hands.
The other people standing around, just sort of looked on with terror in their eyes. They are used to my Shaman being the perfect angel who never does anything wrong under saddle. My comment was that there was a reason I don’t call him a beginner’s horse!
Once inside the arena, he wanted to act up again. He was rushing the bit. His back was completely hollow. His attention was everywhere but on me. The stable owner walked up with his granddaughter asking if it would be safe for her to ride with us. I assured him Shaman, though acting up, would put the kid in no danger.
So, Shaman and I started in on some figure eights. It took about three before the light went on in that fuzzy brain. He softened, rounded, and suppled right up. I did not get him to gait, but he had already gone for an hour gallop down the road. What I did get was beautiful rounded movement at a trot with shoulder in. As he quit being a butt, and just relaxed into the collection, it was like a month’s worth of stress just faded out of my body.
The stable owner had his girlfriend (the stable manager) ride the kid’s horse for a few minutes. The girl is terrified of horses so the manager shows that she can walk around with her hands on top of her head. This prompted me to show off… I dallied my reins about the saddle horn and Shaman and I worked on tight figure eights just off leg pressure. They were happy to point out to the kid that horses can be controlled just by legs. It made me feel good.
All told, I rode for about an hour today. I really needed it. It really felt good to be able to take my horse from brat to beautiful.
So, if you got this far, thanks for reading. There really wasn’t any point to this point. I just wanted to talk about my horse.
This is us a couple months ago