Riding the GIANT horse

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.

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Giant nose for a  giant horse…

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!

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It’s not the angle, he really is that big…

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.

Weekend Trail Rides (or, Batts and Bailey take on Fair Hill)

Nothing too exciting to report. We had a really nice weekend weather-wise (in other words, unseasonably warm), so lots of trail rides. Saturday, I took out a nice couple down at Marsh Creek and on Sunday, Batt and I explored Fair Hill with a friend of mine.

Saturday was just my usual Marsh Creek excursion. I didn’t bring Batts down due to the warm temps, not having clipped him yet, and 2 new horses who had arrived the evening before from auction. I figured they needed some quarantine before I exposed Batts to them. So, I took out Sam instead. (For those of you who don’t remember, Sam is the 17.1 Belgian-TB cross who is pretty much dead quiet despite being 6).

For size reference refresher, here’s Sam…

Anyway, I like taking Sam out on trails as he’s slow, steady, and keeps up with his slow and steady buddies Poe and CT. Batts has no issues leaving CT behind… Despite his long legs, Sam doesn’t actually mind moving at a snails pace…

Needless to say, Sam was less than impressed by the whole thing. But, it was a beautiful day and he was a good boy. Hunting season has started in the park so we all wore our neon vests, but thankfully no hunters were hidden in our path. Nothing like a 17 hand fraidy cat jumping in place… We only did that once, walking back to the barn when we spooked at the barn pickup truck pulling in behind us carrying grain. How can you spook at dinner?

Sunday morning I finally got around to clipping Batts and Jiminy. Batts has been super fuzzy this year and Jiminy is always fuzzy. I hate  how sweaty both have been. I decided to try a bib clip with Batt and a chaser clip with Jiminy. I may end up with a chaser clip on Batt and a full clip (minus head/legs) on Jiminy, but we’ll see… Thankfully, both are good about clipping, unlike a certain other chestnut… (I’m pretty sure Jiminy has never seen a pair of clippers before but like a good mini, he takes everything in stride).

Instant Pony Weight-loss Technique! Batty, on the other hand, was less than impressed…

Later that afternoon, Batts and I headed out to Fair Hill to meet my friend Terry and her horse Bailey for an afternoon trail ride. She leases one of the barns out in the park, but despite that, we rarely ever get out to ride together. We were planning a short ride as Bailey is 28, but we sort of got lost and ended up staying out for a good 2 hours. They horses had a good time though. Unfortunately, while Bailey knows the park really well, we can’t give him his head as he’ll take us back to Fair Hill Stables as that was home base for a long time for him. As for Batt, Batt never likes going home so he’s no help. We eventually just turned around and took a longer route back and were find, but our cross country efforts were interesting… Bailey decided hills were meant for galloping up (seriously, you’re 28…) while I’ve learned that Batty is seriously the most incredibly amazing trail horse every. I’d have no issue with him galloping his hills or really anywhere, but I know Terry isn’t necessarily comfortable and was just trying to keep Bailey in hand so I figured I’d help out by NOT cantering up those hills, as tempting as it was for both of us. Bailey was good for Batty as well. All our bridge issues we faced in the past when out alone? No issue! He followed Bailey over without hesitation.

I seriously love this horse!

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Best Batthorse Ever!

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Batty and Bailey returning home

Does this horse make me look short?

Led out a nice, low key trail ride yesterday afternoon. Sun, temps in the 70s, no humidity. Really nice afternoon ride. Took Sam out– he’s really just massive.

door frame for size reference


massive mounting block for size reference


sam standing downhill next to 2 draft crosses for size reference


Overall, really nice ride and grateful that Candace lets me take out her big 6 year old baby. He’s definitely a nice complement to CT and Poe: the gang of slow, slower, and slowest.