February 17, 2011

Bella the Wonder Pony

I knew something was up when the barn rats at Kubicki Equestrian Center giggled when I told them who Austen had put me on for the day.  They immediately started trying to count how many times each of them had come off of her.  I started wondering what exactly I was going to be riding.

Don't let the cute face and pricked ears fool you.  She spent most of the ride trying to kill me.  Oh by the way, I'm 5'0 105lb - yeah, she's tiny.
What's one part cow and rides like a sewing machine and a bucking bronco had a baby?  Bella the Wonder Pony!  Bella hadn't been ridden since June, and I quickly found out why.  The second I sat on her back she tried to shoot out from under me.  It took a good minute or two of me going "Nope.  No.  Not going to happen.  No. NO!"  for her to settle down and pay attention to me.

What followed was one of the most fun rides I've had in a long while.  Don't get me wrong, riding a predictable old schoolmaster like Dillon is fun too, but that's working fun.  This was tooling around on something ridiculously tiny that tried to go 'up' more than we went 'forward'.  I'd ask for the trot and get one upward step before going forward.  I'd ask for the canter and have to ride through several bucks.  She wasn't even close to being in good enough shape to actually get me off, so it was just entertaining more than anything else.

I did feel a little sorry for her - out of shape, sour and misunderstood.  I tried to make the ride as pleasant as I could and didn't get after her too badly for misbehaving - though I sent her forward when she did misbehave and that seemed to be punishment enough.  She went forward very willingly, but was clearly unhappy about it.

I didn't think we rode her that hard, I did heavily consider how out of shape she was, until I came back the next morning and one of the barn ladies said, "What'd you guys do to Bella yesterday?  I went over to her stall an hour after you left and she was flat out on her side sleeping!"  After I stopped laughing from that, I pulled her out of her stall for another ride, this one mostly walking and trotting.  I ended the ride by riding her bareback, which started, as usual, with her trying to bolt out from under me the second I got on her.  That was the only time she almost got me off, and I ended up hanging on by an arm and a leg clamped around her side.  It's a pity she's such a spaz, she was what I would describe as the perfect bareback ride: round, no withers to "get in the way", flat gaits and comfy.


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