Recently trainer and I decided to take me off of my friend the giant giraffe horse in order to build up some confidence and inject a bit more fun into my lessons. At first I hung out with my favorite (other) red schoolie, but due to a scheduling conflict one evening I was placed on an older grey thoroughbred gelding. Since he’s been around this area a lot doing a variety of jobs, I will respect his confidentiality and call him C. Ironically all of our current schoolhorses (save one) have a C name. Anyway, back to topic.
C is maybe 16hh? It’s hard to tell because he wears one of those giant wither pads. He’s a flea-bit grey, and doesn’t really have any classic beauty to speak of. Typically he’s seen dragging his lesson kids around, while they kick-kick-kick to keep him going. I’d only ridden him one other time, schooling him for a horse show.
I tacked up the old man, gave him some loves and extra curries, grabbed my stick and headed to ride. Flatwork was exactly what I figured on. He bulged thru his shoulders, and refused to go in a straight line. Also – what is canter? Why even try?
Then we started jumping. My lesson mate is a catty little jumper mare and her owner. So the courses are usually focused on technical details and winding courses. To my shock, after seeing where we were headed, C’s little grey ears went forward and he never looked back. He did little bounces, we wound around the outdoor, jumped little boxes, a sort-of flying change, and he even bothered to shake his head at me in mock wildness about a distance. It was adorable. He has obviously had significant amount of quality training done over fences, and his rhythm and pace were the easiest things to just set – and let him go. We even came around to a higher end of a little funny shaped standard-less jump and he bounded over it like he was a teenager again.
I literally laughed my way around the whole course. And he was ready to do it again, and again. We ended on a high and he got loads of cookies and pets for being such a stud. I mean I’m still smiling thinking about it, like two weeks after the fact. My trainer said that while he’s an old man now, he was “pretty cool” in his day, and I would agree, and say that he’s still pretty cool now. Just another reminder of how much the older horses, schoolmasters really have left to contribute. It feels good to look forward to lessons again, where I know I’ll learn and be able to have fun as well.