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Discussion Starter #41
Still looking for my own companion, but Jasper and I are coming along. He is, however, a madman, and I am a fool for not recognizing this consistently. Storms passed through last night, leaving a number of small trees down across the trail. All big enough and awkward enough that we need to go around them. On the way back home, though, we'd just finished a canter down the pipeline corridor and come into the woods at a trot, down to a quick walk, and I intended us to go around the deadfall, like we'd done on the way out. Jasper, however, decided to tighten his buns and hunker his hind-end and launch himself over a chest-high (for him, at 16.1) obstacle, something I did not anticipate at all. We're both fine, thank god, I didn't fall (just came forward very ungracefully), he seems okay - I was just terrified he'd hurt himself somehow. And I felt horrible for not exerting control over our shared brain cell, but I just - I didn't think "jump the trees" was in any way an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Due to my own lack of competence, Jasper jumped the deadfall again on Wednesday, this time at a canter. I just couldn't slow him down. I love that he's got the Happy and he wants to run - I do not love that I felt like I was getting taken along for the ride. If I could take a jump like that safely, and it was my choice to do it, it'd be fun, I think, but it's too big and too scary right now. So, we're going to ride with my instructor on Monday and probably a few more times to work on reminding Jasper which one of us has opposable thumbs and binocular vision and therefore controls our shared brain cell.

I will say, from outside my disappointment in myself, that his physical abilities are remarkable. When I think about him taking a obstacle as tall as his chest, from nearly a dead stop, and clearing it without a scuff, I am in awe. That would be like me doing a 3-foot box jump at the gym. Even clearing it at a run is just ludicrous to imagine - not a pause or a sniff, he just flew over it. I know professional riders take entire courses of jumps like this (even regular amateur riders), I just still think a 25-year-old horse who half the barn thinks can't/won't even canter (sneaky old man) bounding a deadfall like he does it every day (he does not) is still pretty impressive.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Yikes that does sound a little scary since it wasn't your choice to do the jump... but glad you came out of it okay! Sounds like you are enjoying Jasper a lot.
No, it definitely wasn't! But I didn't fall or even lose a stirrup, so I suppose that's something. I despaired to a friend of mine, and she reminded me that it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a willing horse, which is true. It does mean if I ever learn to ride a bigger jump, we'd be alright. It's not at all his fault for jumping - it's mine for not having enough control to hold him back. He just has the Happy, and ultimately that's better than when he was sore and trudging and sad.
 

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Is scary when it happens unexpectedly. And then to happen again, at least you recognize your limitations and are making an effort to regain control. My child rides a freight train and it has taken and still takes a reminder to the horse that he's the engine and not the caboose.

Goes to show how much you have improved and love reading about your rides. Jasper sounds like he makes you happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Mehbee you ought to buy Jasper(y):cool:(y):cool:
Ah, believe me, I'd consider it. One, I don't think the barn owner would sell him - he's the largest horse on the line, and he's versatile. Two, he really is in his mid-twenties, and he could be full sound another 5 or 10 years, or ... not. It's hard to say, which is maybe a little harsh of me to say. What I want is Jasper, fifteen years ago, or a time machine, but neither of those things are in my price range. A twelve year old horse that does what he does, with the build that he has, is probably - around here - more than $8000.

(I want Jasper to live forever. Almost as much as I want my instructor's horse to live forever.)
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Is scary when it happens unexpectedly. And then to happen again, at least you recognize your limitations and are making an effort to regain control. My child rides a freight train and it has taken and still takes a reminder to the horse that he's the engine and not the caboose.

Goes to show how much you have improved and love reading about your rides. Jasper sounds like he makes you happy.
It's scary, but it's also good to know that it's not so absolutely terrifying that I never want to get on again. Like, a couple of years ago, if Toby had run out on me, I would've been scared to death. Now, Jasper does it, and I think ok, I need to solve this problem, so we can keep riding and not die. And maybe sometime, if I get better at it and we both want to, maybe we'll jump another fallen tree or two together.

I do love him. He's a madman and possibly a forest spirit in horse form. I feel oddly privileged that he canters for me, since half the barn seems to think he won't or can't, and he doesn't for a lot of people. Although, as noted over the last week or so, we could stand to, perhaps, not run quite so enthusiastically. :lol: I think he feels comfortable and happy (insofar as horses feel happy) enough to do it, and that makes me happy, too.
 

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Well, here’s my Pearl of Wisdom:):)

As a child, mom was always having to tell me “A Watchpot Never Boils”. It took over a year before my granddad found a horse he felt was safe for a 12 year old but also had enough “motor” to keep me happy:)

Jasper seems to connect to you and you have a great light hearted-after-the-fact-manner of handling his “sins” and relaying the adventure :cool::cool:

Maybe you should stop actively looking for your own horse. You have REALLY grown as a rider/handler and I’m pretty sure Jasper recognizes that and prefers you over the people who can’t make him canter:)

Sadly you will never find another horse like Jasper - you might come close but he can never be replicated.

There are those of us who truly have been blessed to have that one special “once in a lifetime” horse come into our lives; and we don’t always recognize that heart horse early on. I have loved each and everyone of my horses to the depths of my soul but it was Bonafide Genius, aka Duke who stole it for the 24 years I was privileged to care for him.

There will never be another Duke, there will never be another Jasper. I understand the risk of buying a horse his age when you are so young (I’m 73, that makes you “so young”).

Maybe you could convince the owner to give you an exclusive lease on Jasper, stating all the reasons why he is a better lease horse for you and you alone - he won’t canter for others for starters:)

Besides, we love hearing about the “Adventures of Red Badger & Jasper“ 🐎🐎
 

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Discussion Starter #52
@walkinthewalk - I tell you, if Terry (the barn owner) would sell him, I would buy him. He does canter for other people, just not all the time, and I probably ride him the most of anybody, even his other leaser. I mentioned it to one of the young women at the barn and she said if it was just me taking care of him and he wasn't on the hack line (6-7hrs a day of the public in summer), he'd be happy as a clam for a long, long time yet. But I just don't think the barn owner would ever sell him, even if I leased him back. (Granted, I haven't asked...)

Due to weather and work I had a long (week and a half) time off, but we went out yesterday and it went alright. We went with my instructor and another woman on Baby. Baby is a spicy old Arabian gal who needs to go last because she is a proper lady who doesn't like anyone within sighting distance of her backside, so I ended up taking the lead. It was just walk-trot, and Jasper mostly behaved himself with care. No major obstacles, just a nice meander through the woods.

After we got back, there was enough light for a little bit of time bareback in the ring. It was only my second time, and I'm still ENORMOUSLY nervous - but I mounted up all by myself this time! We are still closely supervised by my instructor, but she said she wanted to give me some space to try on my own at least to mount up. I got better when I started singing my riding songs to him (I made them up to sing on the trail) and calmed down. We even did some serpentines around ground poles. It's fun, once I don't panic - and very interesting, just to feel how his body moves without the saddle and the pads. I hope to get better at it. I don't think I'll ever be as brave as these guys:

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But I can hope. ;D
 

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Ok, @redbadger, you need to watch Stacy Westfall win the 2006 tackless reining championship:):)

I have watched this a hundred times and can never watch it without having a box of Kleenex close by. Partly because of the elegance and “oneness” between horse and rider, and partly because she lost her father 24 days before this ride and dedicated it to his memory.

I am (make that was) a way better than average bareback rider. I started out at nine or ten, riding bareback behind my older cousin, at breakneck speed, thru our grandmother’s woods. She could ride like the wind and somehow always managed to hang onto me, if I started to slide going around a turn on the trail:).

More than one person has asked if I had Velcro on my butt after sliding down a muddy river bank and digging up the other side, or digging up a steep power line with arms wrapped around the horse’s neck and hoping I didn’t slide off its rump before we got to the top, lol. I can say, I was never anywhere close to the bareback rider Stacy Westfall is:)

She also has a website and I think a podcast.


I think you have one marvelous trainer to give you the freedom to try new things with Jasper. Once you get your confidence up and find your seat, you may never want to use a saddle again:)

You have talent and good sense/instinct - I hope the money is always there for whatever riding level you want to pursue:)
 

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I love riding bareback. There is some discomfort for me -- Pony is as flat as a board and three times as wide, so without a saddle my legs tend to get cranked out at an odd angle, and Teddy has a bony spine (I just use a bareback pad plus two saddle pads now LOL), but I still love it. I think you could grow to really like it if you did it more. Just take it slowly!

Plus, frankly, the less tack I have to deal with, the better. And the less you use in the way of saddling, the less time you have to spend cleaning your horse off before riding! Oh, and also, in the winter (I'm sure you've noticed, given where you live) it's nice to be sitting on something warm!
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Jasper, being an old man has quite the prominent spine, as in, it seats precisely into my backside. It is ... awkward? Like, he's not a sofa, unlike some of the horses. He's also comparatively high-withered.

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(That's Toby in front of him, relaxing)

So, without a pad, I wouldn't want to go for more than about 20 minutes at a walk, but that's about where I'm at right now. Last week, the terrain was ... rough, that sort partly compacted, slippery snow, and I'm nervy on ordinary ground at a walk so, while I did think about taking a bit of bareback time, I decided against it. We did have a nice ride at a walk, though, on the trails. I don't want to make it sound like I don't enjoy bareback time! I really like it, actually, it's just the underlying lizard brain panicking, even though consciously I know full well it's not the tack that keeps me upright and balanced, it's me. It will just take some time. The weather is supposed to hold til Wednesday night, so I'll try again later in the week. Perhaps I will finally get my chance to ride in lush, deep snow. (I have been angling for this since autumn).

I don't mind tacking him up. I wish his saddle fit him better, but from my admittedly untrained eye he's somewhat difficult to fit and I haven't yet won the lottery to buy him the perfect saddle.

A client of the farrier is selling her horse, a handsome percheron cross who is 16.3 and 16 years old. Much cheaper than the sales barns. Unfortunately, weather has gotten in the way two weeks in a row, so I haven't even met him. Perhaps in the meantime I will win the lottery.
 

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Honestly I'm mostly here to report we're having a good time. Yesterday and today my watch clocked Jasper at 12.3 and 12.5mph respectively (I wasn't trying to push him, either), and he's wanted to make some extra turns that give us more time, so my sense is he's feeling pretty good. Speaking of turns, we've made some turns at the canter (intersections on the trail) and not fallen off. Yesterday, I was thinking well, I'm feeling pretty good myself, pretty balanced, why not try a little canter without stirrups? Last time I'd tried the trot in the ring it had been rather ... humbling. But that was early in the pandemic, and we've been riding a lot together during the least. So I tried, actually I did it twice (near the end of the ride) and it went nicely. Same thing today - a little more wobbly the first go-round, but I was probably thinking too hard.
I am so happy you are enjoying Jasper. I bet he can go much faster than 13 mph, and can probably hit 20 mph. Most horses can hit between 20-30 mph at the gallop, and my Icelandic horses have definitely surpassed 20 mph racing up hills, while my stallion has been clocked at pace races going 29+ mph (the fastest Icelandic recorded in the pace was going 32 mph).
 

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Discussion Starter #57
I am so happy you are enjoying Jasper. I bet he can go much faster than 13 mph, and can probably hit 20 mph. Most horses can hit between 20-30 mph at the gallop, and my Icelandic horses have definitely surpassed 20 mph racing up hills, while my stallion has been clocked at pace races going 29+ mph (the fastest Icelandic recorded in the pace was going 32 mph).
My watch tagged him once at 20mph, and if he's feeling good and the terrain's good it'll pick him up at 16-18mph. I'm told he truly flies on the beach - in the woods, obviously, we have much less space to get to speed and slow down safely.
 

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@redbadger - Ooooh sounds like you may have a promising lead on a horse! Can't wait to hear about him after you get a chance to go see him!

I am the weird one as I DON'T like riding bareback especially on trail... I don't mind tooling around the pasture every now and then with just a rope around the neck... but I just don't feel comfortable on the trail to do it... When I was young I would do it much more but now just don't like it.. and forget trotting ouch! lol
 

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My pssm mares started losing muscle there before anything else. Ground work and driving kept it built up better than riding. There just came a point where I couldn't keep up with what was needed and rode in a saddle or with a thick saddle pad that had shims and was sticky. Not meant to be a bareback pad and I rode with just that, no trying to girth it down. Worked fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
My pssm mares started losing muscle there before anything else. Ground work and driving kept it built up better than riding. There just came a point where I couldn't keep up with what was needed and rode in a saddle or with a thick saddle pad that had shims and was sticky. Not meant to be a bareback pad and I rode with just that, no trying to girth it down. Worked fine.
I cannot say I'd want to go bareback on a whole trail ride, but it's a learning experience. It's fun in small doses.

Jasper's around 25 (we don't really know, but that's the vet's guess and based on how old he probably was when the BO bought him), he just kinda has an old man build. He was probably never much of a couch to begin with - he's likely always been high-withered. But he is healthy and strong.

@lb27312 - so far, the one ding on his prospect is he has "mild ringbone", which I am a bit leery about. But, the farrier has worked on him a long time and never noticed any issues. I gather his owner's daughter rides him but wants to do hunters but that'd be hard on him. I've talked to several people who say for what I do - enjoying trails a few hours a few days a week, an occasional longer adventure or the St Patrick's parade, he'd be fine for many years yet.

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He is quite the handsome chap. Obviously it also depends on how we get on - he may not be "mine".
 
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