All the Ponies, Everywhere.

D and I were driving home from a local city on a road we rarely use (which I found out that I've been mispronouncing and now can't remember the correct pronunciation for) and noticed a brand-new sign for a barn.  The name of the barn struck something in me and I realized that I'd see it before, in some of OR's IG photos.

For those new to the game, OR (the Other TB Rider) boarded out with me for a while and we had some fun adventures and then she changed barns about a year or a year and a half ago.  I contacted her to see if I could come out and see this other barn with her.  I offered to bring my camera, because who doesn't want pony pictures?

Romanticized a bit due to my massive mare crush.
And then she said I could ride.



I haven't ridden a horse other than Archie since that time I hopped on that pissed off chestnut quarterhorse mare and pushed her until she stopped being an asshole.  It wasn't a very long ride.  And that was a really, really long time ago.

Not this chestnut mare.
After driving the whopping thirteen minutes from my house to her new barn,  I met her in the open aisle way and met the BM and started what would be about four hours of talking ponies.  We grabbed two of her three horses from their respective pastures, pausing to take a few photos and to talk with the BM about how the ring hadn't been drug in about three days - for which she was very apologetic.

While tacking up her gelding and her new mares, we talked about saddles and personalities and random stories about horses there.  She offered to switch half way through, allowing me to ride both of her horses.  Considering how rare it is for me to offer Archie up to people, I'm extremely flattered and grateful.
I didn't catch the brand, but this was an amazing saddle.  
The horse I rode first was her new liver chestnut Quarterhorse mare.  As she was pulling Sug from the pasture, I commented that, by golly, her brand sure looked a lot like the Arches at the University of Georgia.  (Go dawgs!)  Derp, derp.  Wonder mare was bred at UGA.  OR purchased her from a lesson program and this mare was dead broke.

We put her super fancy dressage saddle on the mare and I mounted up.  And proceeded to ask OR to double-check my girth tightness, because the last time I cinched up a dressage saddle was probably a good two years ago.  Better shamed than sore and broken, right?

Took a photo to memorialize the moment.  
We probably rode around for about half an hour to forty-five minutes.  She said both horses were a little out of work, given that she's undergoing the huge strain of building a facility on a new property. I couldn't really tell it, though.  Sug didn't believe my leg, didn't believe she had to move forward, but once at a speed had that magical quality of maintaining everything until I told her the next step.  I fell in love with this little mare.

I asked her to canter and promptly pulled out my phone because I wanted to capture video and felt so incredibly, so fucking comfortable and trusting that she wasn't going to do anything stupid.  OR made a seriously solid purchase of this horse.

My video failed, here's OR's.

After cantering both directions and doing a little, tiny bit of trot, we traded horses.

I've seen her OTTB gelding, Bu, go a lot more than the mare I rode first.  I've seen him buck and flail and tell her nope.  So I was a little more apprehensive about riding him.  He needed to work on the right lead canter, which is my horrible direction (thanks, Archie), and which is the one more likely to make him do his crow-hop flail.  I asked, he flailed, I shortened my reins and growled, and he picked it up a wee bit nicer.  OR even commented on how cute he looked.

Not the OTTB you're used to.  Check out the tiny birdcatcher spot on his left ear.
After riding, cooling, grooming and feeding, we headed out for Mexican and promptly talked about picking up heavy objects, which is a new interest of hers.  I've rarely been able to talk to other women about my abhorrence of the bench press or what it's like to work out and have it not be cardio.  It was great!

And after we ate and talked more, I headed out to see my own pony.  I'd forgotten that the days are shorter and pulled him out of his pasture by light of the big lamps.  I groomed him a bit and put on his bridle and just walked figure 8s for a few minutes, before oiling his hooves and shoving beet pulp in his face.  Both of the horses that OR has are dead-broke, happy, non-crippled ponies and an absolute breath of fresh air.  But I still appreciated that my gimpy monster felt the left rein pressure, the touch of my left heel, and immediately spun (slowly, at the crippled walk) right around his haunches.  I still can't get over what a gratifying feeling it was to hop on to a well-broke horse and be able to ask it questions and not get a temper tantrum or bucked off.  It was so amazing for my confidence as a rider.  New year's goal:  get some lessons on some non-Archie ponies.  And some lessons on the Archie pony.

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  1. Yes! Go Dawgs! I graduated from there in 2004. Would love to see a pic of that brand! Sounds like a most fun adventure!

  2. Riding other horses is a great treat. Sounds like that little mare is a gem!

  3. that really sound like the most fun ever - i really want to ride more horses too, they all have so much to offer!! (tho obvi our own horses are always the best). also - fwiw i always ask other ppl to tighten my dressage girth if they're around. it's just not that easy to do myself on a horse that doesn't stand still haha

  4. I am LOSING MY MIND trying to figure out if this was Lacy's barn or if all GA barns look identical to me. It wasn't Mossy Oaks, was it?