One of the first people to reach out to me when I said I was going to California was L. Williams, who I met once before, when Facebook flew me out to Menlo Park for an interview two years ago. We had a great time last time, but I was on a tight schedule and didn't get to meet Ramone, so I was pumped that my schedule would allow for it this time! And I even got to ride him!
|The most majestic of Mooses.|
My poor cell phone pictures aren't going to do them justice, but I'll give it a shot:
He looked SO good, so polished, like a horse with a job that he knows well, and that job is professional hunter. He was so steady and consistent, and just made me want to stop and stare. He's also enormous, and I gotta admit I was intimidated when she handed the reins to me.
|I mean, I'm used to riding the horse equivalent of Raleigh over there on the left (THE CUTEST CORGI IN THE WORLD!), not Ramones!|
You immediately get a feel for what kind of rider L is when you get on Ramone: soft hands, solid core, rides from back to front, and uses quiet and meaningful aids. He really is comfortable shifting his weight back over his hocks, and adjusting his stride is simply a matter of sitting up and tightening your core just the slightest bit.
I have never ridden a horse so straightforward, sensitive, and uncomplicated that a trainwreck like me could get on and look reasonably competent, and I know he wasn't always that way. She's really produced the perfect amateur-friendly horse.
|Can we talk about this massive outdoor for a second, and those hills? I loved it!|
I could have ridden that canter forever, but I was extremely conscious that I am not the greatest of riders and Ramone is for sale, and I didn't want to undo anything, even though L told me I wouldn't mess anything up. And also, I had another ride waiting for me: Paige's reiner, Mouse:
Paige is tall with long femurs, so I couldn't get the stirrups short enough and was positively swimming in her saddle, but I had a blast anyway! I've never ridden a Western horse before, much less a reiner, so it was a total paradigm shift. Poor Mouse even got to put up with me learning to do a reining spin for the first time:
It was so much fun! I was so grateful to Paige and Mouse for patiently telling me to put my hand down over and over. Everyone got to experience what teaching me a new skill is like: you all but have to pick up my body parts and put them where they're supposed to be before I get something. But we got it, mostly because Mouse is really well-trained. She's done all kinds of rodeo queen stuff with Paige.
Way too soon, it was over and I was driving back to my hotel, but I was incredibly grateful to have gotten to ride two fun horses, hang out with L again, and meet Paige and Raleigh. Here's hoping I get to go back out there soon!