In an attempt to make some money this weekend, I took a few trail rides for friend/part time employer in additional to my usual Saturday barn lesson stuff. With good weather, I usually take out a trail ride most Saturdays, but I added in an extra on Sunday as well.
The past couple of months I’ve been riding Peter, our 25-27 auction rescue who isn’t actually quiet enough to put any clients on. He’s quick footed (though wonderful and will NEVER move beyond a nice, forward walk unless you ask him to), but has a pesky habit of not standing and well, hopping when asked to stand. And we have to stand quite often to wait for CT, our PERFECT trail horse, to catch up. His feet barely leave the ground, he’s not trying to rear, but it certainly would freak out any beginner. He’s getting MUCH BETTER and if I ask him to turn and face the other horses, he rarely even does it anymore. But, nonetheless, he’s not client approved… Still, he’s a great trail mount for me, especially at a compact 15 hands… (well, he also doesn’t yet stand for mounting without being held, but that’s improving as well–he’s especially as he’s beginning to be used for light lessons). If it weren’t for his teeth, you’d have NO IDEA he was an old man!
Good old Peter!
So, imagine my surprise on Saturday when I looked at the board and saw my 3 person trail ride has a 5 horses and I had the options for Heidi (our hafflinger mare who I adore, but she’s NOT relaxing), Seairra (No, just no. A TB who gets ridden 1x/year. NO. Not my ride anyway.). And Sam, a boarder’s belgian/TB cross who stands a whopping 17.3/18 hands at 6-7 years old. I chose Sam. A friend of mine joined me and ended up taking Peter (why he wasn’t on the initial list, no freaking clue).
Sam is actually pretty awesome so I took him out again on Sunday. He has issues that are pretty much user error. He’s big and stupid, but generally wants to be a good boy. But his ground manners are atrocious. Which is why, when the first girth a grabbed didn’t fit, my saddle ended up crashing to the ground. I was NOT HAPPY. I ended up needed a 56″ girth AND girth extender. Holy crap. He had some time off while his owner debated selling him…? Not his fault. But, I really want to play with him in the ring because he’s so freaking fun.
Anyway, Saturday we stayed in the back of the pack while Peter led the way and just had a ball hanging out with the slow pokes, chatting and meandering around. He’s such a good boy. It was chilly and the wind was blowing, Sam did NOT care, even when a bicyclist almost ran him down…
Sunday he led the way of our 3 client trail ride and was happy to lead. He was bold and brave and forward. I worked on leg yields and bending on the trail and he went from being an 18 hand board to flexible and fabulous. I can’t wait until I can play with him in the ring!
Today my arms hurt. I could barely reach to get the saddle on his back or his bridle on (I need a step stool). But, I had fun with Sam! If only his ground manners were better! 18 hands of baby horse… Oy. He’s actually not bad, just … annoying on the ground.
Sam pictures from last summer, he’s not any smaller, but normally the 54″ fits. This weekend it was a 56″ AND girth extender… So I guess he’s rounder and/or grew? He’s still young… Damn.