I have never been “the little guy” in any group. I’m an easy 5’10” and wear heels for work a good portion of my life. And I was almost 5’8” in 7th grade, so being the giraffe was always in the cards. In line with that, since I can remember I’ve been riding large horses. To some degree it was the hunter/jumper complex that bigger is better. The rest was simply finding a horse that my 36” long inseam didn’t miniaturize.
My history is a series of 16hh+ horses. As follows…
17hh+ hand gelding
PC: She Moved to Texas, her wonderful Simon
I remember that buying O, at 16hh was considered “smallish” for me. You can see in the picture just above that obviously the mare was plenty big. But it’s a culture thing in Hunters. People seem to love the giant, rolling stride horses.
Then I started riding this mare. Dee is just over 15.1hh (I think), and while I love to call her shorty/mini/pony/hony there is nothing this little horse can’t do. Our lessons do nothing to challenge her; she’s sporty, clever and cute on the flat.
And in being so, she has totally changed how I see horses. How I see any future horses. I’m not going to shrink anytime soon, so being tall will always factor into my rides. But, if that means that maybe I just need to be more careful with my upper body at the fence-I don’t see any problems with that.
So for the first time in my 20-odd years of life, I’m the little guy. Or rather, we are. I’m choosing to embrace it, laugh at it, and then continue on my merry way. I have no great ambition to challenge the bigger is better hunter complex, except in my own mind…and perhaps those who love this little horse as much as I do.
Lately our lessons have been less like a marriage counseling session-and more like a team effort. I know what buttons Dee has, and usually how to push them. She has responded so well to being in a more intense program and is fit as a little bay fiddle. Lately I’ve been riding with two jumpers, but feeling more and more like we look like the hunters we are supposed to be.
Lead changes? Sure.
Comfortable jumping a large variety of obstacles? Sure.
Getting the step? Hells yeah-Hony has a great stride.
We’ve been spending a lot of time working on making a decision and then smoothing it out. Making a choice is hard-making it look like you did it on purpose is even harder.
And guys, we’ve been jumping things with a little more height and I have to say that I’ve so missed that little moment, where you collect them back before jumping forward? You jumping people get it, it’s just this perfect little launch sequence. Plus Dee is such a little boss that I get to do what my hunter soul truley desires, which is to stick my butt up over the fence’s arc and pose. Ha!
We’re working hard, and things are coming together. December horse show-I’m coming for you!
…getting to know all about you! Or rather Deedee.
In the first month of my lease I’ve learned quite a bit about this little mare, and had a really good first few weeks as a pair. Like awesome actually.
Fatty mare can fancy prance
Having something nice to ride, enjoy and who doesn’t give a rats about what we do everyday is great. Want to walk around the property and play in puddles. Dee says sure. Want to work on upward transitions? Dee says sure. Let’s jump today!? Dee says, which one is first?! She just does her job, and is happy about it.
Some fun facts:
- She’s still got a little too much junk in the trunk, the saddle slips badly. I had to get off twice to reset my saddle in my last lesson.
- She hates the wash stall. As a horse whose owner tormented her with roughly 1000 beauty sessions, I have no idea how this mare still hates baths. Or maybe I just answered my own question?
- Deedee is barefoot and I love it!
- Because she’s on a fat pony program she had to switch turnouts. She is not taking it well, and still screams for her friends almost 2 weeks later.
- She gives zero rats about the baby stroller or my squealing, screaming occasionally slapping infant.
Horse on one side, baby on the other.
- She jumps a bit like O did. Very round. So at least that part feels old hat!
- She goes around like a much, much larger horse.
- She drools ALL THE TIME. Oh my gosh. Such a mess everywhere we go….Drools.
- Thanks to an idea from her owner, she has her own hashtag. #DoubleDee. Ha!
So the first month is in the books. Cheers to month two!
“Although she be but little, she is fierce.”
Most people will be wrapping up their yearly goals pretty soon, but since my goals for the next few weeks include:
- Having a baby
- Surviving having a baby
- Learning how to life with a baby
I figure I get to go ahead and skip ahead a bit. While I am doing the above 3 things, O will be most likely get training rides from trainer, and hacks either from other adult ammies or the assistants at my stable. We want to be sure that we give her every single opportunity to start with a clean slate, and to prove to everyone that she can be reasonable. AKA, not a dirty-stopping ride like she was being this spring.
Looking at 2016, I see lots of smaller shows in our future. If she comes back ready to work, we may hop back in at 2’6” and see how she feels. I’m not willing to pay to ship her out somewhere if I don’t know if we are going to make it around a course, or, God forbid, if we were to fry her brain again. Prior to her mental meltdown we were looking at the 2’9” and 3′ classes, but I am more than fine with taking it easy.
Also on the agenda:
- Trail rides
- Western outings/rides
- Learning some tricks
- Anything else fun I can weasel my way into
More western rides (in English bridles). Because why not?
Derp derp horse missing a bell boot.
As you may have guessed, O is still doing great at the ranch. She’s gotten better at dealing with cattle, and has been a good girl for all her rides. Mentally I feel like she’s better too. I can’t wait to get her home and see if we can continue on this really great streak with her. The countdown is on people!
Also, her mane is super long. She’s going to hate me puling that!