September 18, 2020

First Ride

I haven't gone into depth yet about how reactive Aeres is. She is...very reactive. But by the fifth day of having her home yesterday, I knew enough about that reactivity not to confuse it with 'stupid'. She's sensitive, but thinks through things and quickly makes a judgment call through her anxiety on whether or not to trust a person/situation.

Even still I had asked someone to be at the barn with me last night for my first ride, but she forgot. I thought about not riding for half a second, turning over everything I knew about this horse in my mind, and then decided I understood her well enough to know she wouldn't be bad. After lunging, of course. I'm not that stupid.

How bout that non-orange forelock? Ehhhh? Mary did a great job!

Before I even got on, a few things became apparent. One is that she is used to a very specific form of lunging: walk trot canter, in order, and then turn into the center to come in to your human after that. Sigh. The coming in is a pet peeve of mine, but probably something I won't prioritize fixing in the short time I have her. 

The next is that at the trot and canter, she very obviously has a headset mindset: "This is where my head goes and that's that." I assumed that would translate into a pretty frame with no relationship to the contact under saddle, and I was not wrong.


The last is that she steps her hindquarters away from the mounting block, an evasion I will be correcting. I had to put her against a wall to get on, although thankfully once I eliminated that preferred evasion, she stood like a rock.

But how was she under saddle? In short: absolutely amazing. Her movement feels enormous compared to Connor, with so much air time in each trot stride I joked that I didn't know what you're supposed to do with all that air time: bake a cake? Call my mom?

Seriously though!

All of that reactivity leads to an extremely sensitive and fun ride. She's in no way spooky, which is awesome and I feel very safe on her. But she also has a lot of anxiety under saddle. She went from 10% anxious on the ground at all times, to max anxiety under saddle. (Yes, she started ulcer meds yesterday).

So the bottom line is that she's going to be a blast both in terms of movement and in terms of what she knows, but I'm going to have to take it slow. Both for her body's benefit as she builds up strength, and for her brain's benefit, as she hopefully starts to understand she doesn't need to be anxious about anything I'm asking her to do.

Lots of neck scratches and releases in her future

No cantering yesterday - she was sticky to pick it up on the lunge and when she did she launched into it with her head up (and then immediately dropped it "where it should be"), then when I asked under saddle just to see what would happen, she rushed in the trot like she was going to do the same thing, so I didn't press the issue. Mainly I wanted yesterday to be short and positive and I think we accomplished that. I only rode for about ten minutes or so.

Good power-walking pony


  1. She sounds sensible, even if she is anxious. I think you're going to have a lot of fun with her!

  2. Sounds like she's the smart over-achiever mare type. Always trying to be two steps ahead of you to show you how awesome she is!

  3. I can't wait to read all your progress posts :)

  4. She sounds so lovely. I really wish I could find something of her quality near me (I mean, I love my new girl, but another Welsh D is still my dream pony 😁)

  5. She sounds so similar to Katai! Good practice for when you can visit and hop on her for a ride ☺️☺️

  6. So fancy! You're going to have a lot of fun with her, and it'll be nice to have two horses ;)

  7. very cool and steady and slow is the way. So glad you hopped on her (and are treating her for ulcers) poor girl! :) she is lovely!

  8. AHAHAHAHA Bake a cake or call your mom, that is awesome lol.

    She sounds really cool, I'm glad you have her to play around with while Conor is at boarding school.