March 13, 2011

Rematch with Bella the Wonder Pony

I headed out for another impromptu trip to Cincinnati this weekend (which included a trip to The Tack Trunk, omg!) and had a rematch with Bella the Wonder Pony, but this time we took it outside.  It was a beautiful spring day, and besides, there was a herd of Brownies (the Girl Scout kind) in the barn doing their pony merit badge, so we needed to make ourselves scarce.

I found out just before I got on that Bella has been sold and was leaving the barn soon.  And by "sold", I mean they gave her away to an area trainer, ostensibly as a prospective flip.  After my last two rides, I would have chuckled at the idea of her ever being good for anything, but I have to say, today's ride changed that.

She still tried to walk off when we mounted, but didn't try to squirt out from under me.  She still was rushy and blowing through my aids, but she came back to me after she blew off some steam.  With lots of voice and steady aids, she actually calmed down through the course of the ride.

The best part, though, was taking her over this little exercise that someone had left in the arena.  There were three ground poles, then about a two stride to a partially dismantled jump that had a ground line and a pole leaning on one standard.  It was perfect, because I didn't know if she actually jumped and my jumping confidence, especially on unknown horses, is, well...low.  But I was pleasantly surprised when she willingly went through it and popped a teeny tiny little jump over the last "fence".  So smooth, so quiet!  We trotted in and cantered out on the correct lead, and I was extremely impressed with the little devil.  She appeared to enjoy it, and we did it several more times without incident.

Afterward, we hacked out around the Dressage arena, and despite the fact that she had never hacked out before to anyone's knowledge (or even been ridden in the outdoor before!) she did very well.  She was a little nervous, but clearly has developed some trust in me and was submissive despite her constantly swiveling ears.  All in all, it was a fantastic last ride on Bella the Wonder Pony.  Now Austen has to find something else as exciting for me to ride next time I come out there.

The other nice thing about today was riding in my saddle again!  I forget how nice it is to sit in something that actually fits me and my leg properly (16" seat), when nearly all of the saddles I've ever ridden in for lessons and shows are too big for me.  Its medium-wide tree is perfect for cobs and ponies, which are my preferred mounts, but doesn't fit shark-finned Thoroughbreds so well, so it will have to stay unused for a while.

I did forget, though, how Bevals are not meant to actually be sat on - that seat felt like concrete after riding only in Dressage saddles for so long!

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