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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.