I've been having a joyous time riding weekly (plus the occasional trail ride) for the last four months. I've also been lurking here, watching CRK training blog videos, and reading a few horse books ("How to Think Like a Horse" and "Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage" by Cherry Hill). Any other good recommendations for a new-ish young adult rider?
Including the "trail" horses, I've now ridden 6 of them. 5 geldings, one mare. Is my sample size just really small, or are geldings more common for beginner riders? I see a lot of discussion here about mares being "mareish", is that really true of most mares?
One of the trail horses was a very sweet gentleman. I was told that he was a quarter horse, but he was HUGE! Can't say how tall, but a wiiiide barrel. I doubt my legs were even halfway down his sides. It's hard to translate photos into what a horse's presence is like in person! I read that there are a couple of "types" of QH. Could he have been the "bulldog" type? He had a very soft mouth (the tiniest wiggle of the rein to get him to turn left or right), which surprised me for a touristy "ride on the beach" type place. He was such a sweet horse, and was happy to receive forehead scratches after the ride.
Had my first fall, which wasn't too bad although the sandy arena was basically soup from the previous night's rain so I got drenched
. Bless kind lesson horses that slow down under an unbalanced rider instead of letting them fall off. I now understand the difference that makes.
I noticed that some horses like to look at me with two eyes (and forward ears)- I read that as curiosity. There's another type of "look" that seems to be out of the corner of their eye, kind of a relaxed/indirect look. But there's a third look that I've seen on one horse. She likes to make unblinking STARING eye contact with one eye. I think she doesn't dislike
me... she will accept scratches on her neck/shoulder and sniff my hand "hello", but it feels super strange to be stared at like that. What does it mean???
Last question- of behaviors that are "ok" to allow. Some horses like to interact with things with their mouth. I've offered my hand to inspect/lip(?), but is this a behavior to avoid encouraging (teeth and biting being a big risk to fingers and all)? It's just so cute to have a horse be so curious back and very fun to be interacting like that. (Not that I'd do it with an unknown horse!)
Thank you for listening to a newbie's ramblings. My friends all cannot escape my daily excited horse ramblings, and it's nice to have another outlet.