Since he is apparently going to stick around the blog a bit longer (no one seems to ride him on my lesson days) the red giraffe, formally known as Cooper needs a bit more of a bio.
Cooper was purchased by my trainer in 2016 (I think) from his home where he was doing the equitation stuff at some of the rated shows. I actually rode him right when he arrived and where I sort of blundered through our ride. However, he was perfect, and didn’t put a toe out of line. After joining the lesson program, a teen rode him and fell in love; so while he is technically a lesson horse, he only “teaches” randomly. He’s a OTTB standing 16.2+ but all withers. Very giraffe-like in appearance, but has fabulously easy canter to ride. He’s quiet, but can get a little heavy. Until last week I carried a stick just in case I needed back up.
My first lesson was all peaches and cream. Second lesson is discussed here. Third lesson, this past week, oh HOLY HOT MESS. Cooper’s teen has been traveling this month, so his 5-6 days a week of exercise has ended up being more like 2 times a week.
Everything was so exciting! Trotting circles, passing the broken arena door, the barn cat – the whole thing was pretty exhilarating to Coop. Points to my Roeckl’s for still sticking with me after the giraffe just went around and around. I was also in tights for my lesson, which I almost never do (it was so humid) and I felt like my butt just slid everywhere in my saddle.
We made it through our warm-up, and at the trot, I actually had a few moments where I didn’t have to peer around his giant head to steer. Yay? I did have a big issue with the “whoa” this week. It wasn’t much there. Half-halts were turning into pulling fests, and I was losing ground.
We were both sweating extensively by the time jumping came around. And even then, I couldn’t regulate his pace to save my life. By the 2nd or third try to quietly canter a 18″ single I was pretty angry. I know, anger has no place with horses and all that. BUT. It wasn’t that I was necessarily mad at him, but I was so angry that I couldn’t ride him. Sure, I did call him some…names…but what was most difficult to swallow was that I could not ride this mostly level headed, lesson horse who I have seen less experienced riders waltz around on. Enter internal self-esteem tear down.
Was he rude? Yes. Was he dangerous? Definitely not. Was I so embarrassed and angry and wanting to scream? Absolutely.
It’s been a long time since I felt as bad about a lesson as I did last week. I know there were good moments, but it really did shake me up. Change is hard you guys.