January 22, 2018

Riding Taran

My husband's company is somewhat loosely based in Austin, TX.  For the past two years, they've held their holiday party and annual meeting in Vegas, but this year, they decided to move it back to Austin.  The second I found that out, I texted JenJ.

Guess who we pestered?!

I ended up getting to spend an entire day with Jen, Michelle and Taran soaking up some 74 degree weather while my poor husband sat indoors at his annual meeting.  AND IT WAS AWESOME!

World's weirdest "one personal item": my helmet shoved into a Rent the Runway bag containing two formal gowns.
I've met Taran several times in the past - twice at home in Texas, once in Indiana and once in Kentucky - but I've never gotten the opportunity to ride him before Saturday.  Jen got him warmed up then threw me on his back.

I learned SO much!  Taran is really truly a confirmed second level horse, which makes him the most well-trained horse I've sat on since I started focusing on Dressage, and JenJ proved to be a very effective (and patient) teacher. 

After I got to know him a bit, we first focused on straightness using the mirrors at the other end of the arena to help me see where I was crooked.  Not that I needed mirrors to tell me that I was crooked - Taran tattled loud and clear when I did things like sit massively to the left while on the left rein or overused my inside rein to the right. And JenJ patiently helped point those things out too.

Proof that we did eventually get straight.  And then probably promptly lost it the stride after this one, but hey!

JenJ asked me on the drive home what the most surprising thing I learned was.  I had a hard time answering that because although the ride was very eye opening, nothing was surprising - Jen got after me for things I have been gotten after for before but the surprising part was feeling the effects of fixing those things on a horse that knows more than I do.  I can't tell you how impactful it was to feel the effect of those changes on T vs Connor.

T is so unimpressed with these grown women acting like 12 year old girls.

On further reflection, the most surprising thing was understanding the extent to which I allow Connor to tune aids out, and how little conviction I have when it comes to things like leg yields.  JenJ asked me to leg yield Taran, and I thought I did, and then she was like "No, MEAN IT.  Leg yield to B right now," and I did and he WENT SIDEWAYS.  And forward.  Neither of which I expect to happen when I ask C for a leg yield, even though that's what I think I'm asking for.  I've never ridden anything that felt like that.

I rode things I've never ridden before, like trot half pass.  I genuinely felt like I was sitting better by the end of the ride.  And I figured out what level of impulsion and forward was necessary for him to be on my aids and for him to be able to perform the movements well.

Oh and I rode IN A T-SHIRT IN JANUARY which felt amazing.
This is going to be one of those rides that leaves me thinking, digesting and unpacking for a long time to come.  I am so grateful to both T for putting up with me and JenJ for being willing to patiently tell me to shorten my reins every two strides for an hour.  She's done a great job with him, and I wish they lived close enough to see more often!


  1. I'm glad you had so much fun with him, and learned so much. You did a great job with him! And yeah, he is SUCH a tattle-tale. Drives me crazy because my trainer gets to know all my faults :D

  2. How fun! Sounds like a great experience. It's so fun to learn from new horses!

  3. aw so fun! i love the feeling of getting to ride a more schooled horse than i'm used to - esp that feeling of experiencing what a prompt and 'correct' response is from the horse. i got to lesson on one of my event coach's 1* horses a couple times a while back and it was really enlightening!

  4. So cool! Fun to see blogging friends and also to get such an amazing lesson on a confirmed horse :) I'm a bit jealous ;)

  5. He looks awesome to ride, what a fun adventure :)

  6. Yay! Horses that know their stuff are so fun!

  7. What a great opportunity and incredible learning experience.

  8. ooo super jealous!!! You look great on him!

  9. What a neat experience! So many awesome blog ponies out there!