Chase the Wind - I Will Ride - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 36 Old 06-07-2019, 05:30 PM
Yearling
 
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Love reading your updates! You and Sundae look very cute together. :) I know what you mean about being a little nervous when Sundae's owner is watching you ride, it's hard not to - but you look like you're doing really well and it's great that you have such a good relationship with her!
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post #22 of 36 Old 06-08-2019, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavigatorsMom View Post
Love reading your updates! You and Sundae look very cute together. :) I know what you mean about being a little nervous when Sundae's owner is watching you ride, it's hard not to - but you look like you're doing really well and it's great that you have such a good relationship with her!
Thanks! I'm pretty lucky - I can't imagine a nicer person than Sundae's owner is.
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post #23 of 36 Old 06-14-2019, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: New England
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Six

I know they canít all be wonderful. As with any sport, there are great days, good days, so-so days, bad days, and terrible days. I would rate yesterdayís lesson as somewhere between so-so and bad. The weather was cold and rainy, not at all like a summer day, and after an exhausting week preceded by a weekend with no down time, I wasnít in the best mindset.

I was pleased to see Sundae, though, and for my weekly chance to ride. While brushing her I noticed she was a little sore on one side, where she didnít even want to be gently brushed. She also seemed particularly moody. I encountered this before with her and Iím pretty sure she was having ovulating/cycle pains. (I did let my trainer know just in case.) I tried to bribe Sundae with some hay and gentle petting, but her mood just worsened with girthing.

After I finished checking her girth one last time before mounting, she reached around and bit my upper thigh. She does often get a bit rude during girthing from years of being a lesson pony, but usually I keep her under control; I just missed it this time. It hurt, but I was more embarrassed than anything else and didnít want to let the other riders in the arena know what happened, so I just gritted my teeth and mounted. I have a nasty bruise today, but no broken skin.

No jumping yesterday - probably for the best between my mindset and Sundaeís moodiness. We worked on leg yielding from the quarter line to the wall at trot. My trainer noticed I lack some flexibility in my legs making it difficult for me to reach back with my inside leg to ask for the leg yield, so she had me stop and do some mounted leg stretches, which were interesting and eye-opening. The hardest one for me included stretching both legs from the thigh away from the saddle at the same time without leaning forward or back. I struggled a lot with this exercise, which made me feel a bit incompetent, but reflecting on it I can see the value of the stretch.

We added canter so that the exercise became 1) trot down the quarter line 2) leg yield to the wall 3) pick up the canter at the wall 4) canter down the other side of the arena 5) transition to trot before the quarter line. I do enjoy technical exercises like this, though I had a lot of trouble with my canter transition - it would take me until I was about halfway down the short side of the arena to pick it up, whereas it was supposed to be instantly once I hit the wall from my leg yield. Partially I think itís because I had Sundaeís head turned a little to the outside when leg yielding so I knew I needed to re-position her to get the correct lead, and partially I just felt unbalanced and slow. Sundae needed my ďA gameĒ with her discomfort, and I just didnít deliver.

When leaving the arena, I was having some trouble with getting Sundae moved over to give me enough room to close the gate behind me. My trainer became a little critical that I was being too gentle with her, and ended up having to come over and push her over because I was taking too long. After feeling like I was receiving so much criticism during my lesson, and ending with even more criticism once dismounted, I just felt so down on myself.

Iím glad for this journal giving me a chance to reflect on the positives from the lesson and also the ďwhyĒ behind not feeling so great, as I can see that all of the not-so-great stuff is both useful and things I can and should work on.

TL;DR Takeaways:
  • They canít all be great; this one wasnít.
  • Sundae was feeling mare-ish, and I was stressed from an exhausting week.
  • I will be working on some mounted leg stretches to improve my flexibility and balance.
  • I need to ask for and get good behavior when dismounted (respecting my space, standing, moving over).
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post #24 of 36 Old 06-15-2019, 10:45 AM
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It's a good ideal to do regular stretching to help with riding. Works for me.
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post #25 of 36 Old 07-05-2019, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Seven

Hello again, readers! I admit Iíve been off a bit from my reliable weekly update, but it was for an excellent reason. My husband and I took a vacation to Iceland, which exceeded all of my expectations. From waterfalls to craters, hot springs to the midnight sun, the entire trip was breathtaking - but one element of the trip surpassed all others: the Icelandic Horse.

My heart has been captured; Iím completely enamored. Horses in every color graze on acres and acres of tall green grass across the entire country. I lost count. And theyíre somehow both strikingly gorgeous and utterly adorable at the same time. Fortunately, I had scheduled a trail ride that ended up one of the most fun experiences Iíve had in my life.

Our trail ride was with the company Hella Horse Rental, which I picked specifically as many positive reviews noted this wasnít a nose-to-tail trail ride (which I had once through an Italian vineyard and, while lovely, is dull for actual riders.) The trail ride group consisted of myself, my husband (inexperienced), and another family of 3 who owned horses years ago, but hadnít ridden recently. Our guide was an Icelandic horse trainer from Denmark, who is spending some time working with and learning from the family who owns the stable.

After learning I was the only experienced rider in the group, she paired me with a bay gelding named NjŠll (pronounced NYALT). I later learned that while NjŠll is considered saintly and usually paired with beginner children, he had been off-work for 8 weeks and I was his first rider after the break. After a brief demonstration on rein control, we mounted from the ground. Although NjŠll is well under 14 hands, this was a bit amusing and challenging for me, as my leg really lacked the proper strength to lift the rest of my body up. It took me about 3 or 4 bouncing tries but I finally managed. And oh the saddle! The Icelandic saddle had the closeness of an English saddle with extra secure and cushion-y leg rolls - I could live in it!

While the other riders mounted, NjŠll started to call out to one of his friends in a nearby paddock and started to jig a little impatiently. I walked him around in the limited space we had. When we left the gate, though, NjŠll decided to balk and tried to turn and walk back - showing distinct herd-bound behavior. The rest of the riders made it a good 25 ft ahead of me as I worked to get him turned back around. He wasnít sensitive to my leg pressure at all, and I had to resort to kicking him forward, which took a deeply embarrassing minute or two. Finally, we rejoined the group and I found he was more willing to keep moving forward towards the front of the group.

We didnít have to stay in a line - the only rule was to not pass our guide, so we had freedom to change pace and steer. The landscape was interesting and varied, with lava fields, flowers, small water crossings, and hills. By a few minutes into the ride, NjŠll was forwarding and willing, although he did occasionally call out. I could tell he is a strong, excited boy.

About ten minutes in, after making sure everyone was comfortable and confident, we got to try the tŲlt. If youíre unfamiliar, this is a gait unique to Icelandics. Similar in speed to a trot, the tŲlt is a four-beat lateral gait and extremely comfortable to sit to. I canít describe it well enough to do it justice, but let me say I absolutely loved it. We walked and tŲlted intermittently, and up one rather steep hill, even galloped for a stride or two (my first ever gallop!) The hour ride went by oh-so-fast, and dismounting NjŠll was heart-wrenching.

So. I canít stop thinking about Icelandics. I didnít have cell service during my vacation until I got to the airport for my return flight, and the first thing I started Googling was how to import an Icelandic and Icelandics for sale in America. Iíve convinced myself I want an Icelandic.
  • I know this is impractical. (I like to show hunt seat; no trainers within two hours would know how to train for riding Icelandics. Iíve just started jumping; Icelandics arenít really jumpers).
  • I know this is rash. (Okay - not really rash; it would take me at least a year and a half to save for a very well-broke, safe riding Icelandic, which would also give me plenty of time to continue to think it through.)
  • I know this would be a huge life decision (Due to the time and financial commitment of a horse, it would mean choosing to stay in my current career path instead of going to grad school and transitioning paths).

But, on the other hand, I just got the biggest promotion of my career so far effective July 1st. While my income is still humble, I may be able to budget a horse if I switched to a cheaper barn for boarding.

Anyway, I have no answer on if this obsession will amount to anything. Maybe Iíll look on this post in a few years and laugh at the absurdity.

I leave you with a few pictures from my trail ride.
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post #26 of 36 Old 07-06-2019, 12:00 PM
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I know there was a breeder here in California. It would at least be fun to contact any breeder here in the U.S. You never know what may turn up. There are a few Icelandics around here, but they are pretty rare.
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post #27 of 36 Old 07-06-2019, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whisperbaby22 View Post
I know there was a breeder here in California. It would at least be fun to contact any breeder here in the U.S. You never know what may turn up. There are a few Icelandics around here, but they are pretty rare.
It certainly would be fun! I'm following several Icelandic farms in the New England area on Facebook now just to keep tabs. There is a precious gelding up for sale just a year or two too early for me. (Also, I've always preferred mares.) I also might need to stop by Equine Affaire in November - Icelandics are always represented at the breed pavilion.

I'd have a whole lot of other things to do to prepare if I decide to go this route now, such as learning horse care and some basic training skills (I wish there were a Pony Club for adults!), and finding a lower priced boarding barn and making connections there (I wouldn't want to jump right in with a new horse without taking some lessons there and getting to know them).

For the past couple years my horse experience has been limited to grooming, tacking, and riding, so I'd want to start becoming an all-around horsewoman.

Clearly I've been thinking about this a little - haha. I'm an obsessive planner, and I'd want to do it right.

Another thing about choosing a gaited horse - I wonder if it'd be difficult to ever part-lease or allow the horse to be used in a lesson program if I wanted them to get more exercise or for financial reasons. While this wouldn't be my initial intention, I'd like knowing it could be a possibility, but with gaited horses being rare around here, I wonder if that'd be a barrier. (Overthinking...?)
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post #28 of 36 Old 07-06-2019, 04:34 PM
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Cute Icelandics! They are fun aren't they. I rode one on a horse trek too (not in Iceland, just NZ, your trek in Iceland looks amazing). I love their manes and forelocks and the tolt, it just made me laugh out loud it was so fun.
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post #29 of 36 Old 07-06-2019, 05:35 PM
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You probably are already aware of this place. My friend spent a week there and had a wonderful time. She said all the horses were fabulous and she had so much fun.

https://www.icelandichorses.com/aboutus.php
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post #30 of 36 Old 07-07-2019, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
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Location: New England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeditativeRider View Post
Cute Icelandics! They are fun aren't they. I rode one on a horse trek too (not in Iceland, just NZ, your trek in Iceland looks amazing). I love their manes and forelocks and the tolt, it just made me laugh out loud it was so fun.
I bet the trek in New Zealand was amazing! I can imagine riding an Icelandic through that landscape would be stunning as well. I had the most massive grin on my face every time we got to tŲlt - I probably seemed silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
You probably are already aware of this place. My friend spent a week there and had a wonderful time. She said all the horses were fabulous and she had so much fun.

https://www.icelandichorses.com/aboutus.php
Thanks! They were one of the first Icelandic farms I was aware of near me (I think they come up first in Google :) ) - I had actually considered going on a ride with them before I even knew I loved Icelandics. They have some mixed reviews so it's great hearing your friend has a good time. I'll definitely have to make it over there.
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