Thursday, 7 April 2016

Riding Other Horses

I don't ride many different horses.

Yesterday though, I took a kid that I volunteer with on a guided trail ride and I rode one of the place's regular trail horses. She was a very sweet chestnut mare who clearly knew her job and could've carted around even a complete beginner with no problems.

I've had Kachina for a year and a half and in that time I've only ridden three other horses (two lessons on a schoolmaster, one time where a friend and I switched mounts for 20 minutes, and yesterday). Before that, I had the same horse for 14 years and rode even fewer other horses!

Not my usual ears!

I love the relationship and feel you can build when you work with the same horse consistently. Yet, I feel like I would be a more capable rider if I had more experience riding other horses. Specifically, different kinds of horses. Both of my horses have been hot and sensitive. I know ways to deal with that personality (somewhat), but it means I can have a tendency to ride defensively and with very quiet aids.

My showing friend has a horse who is almost polar opposite to Kachina. We joke about the differences all the time. When she was talking about needing spurs and a whip, and having canter being such a workout to keep her mare going, I realized that is a totally foreign concept to me. I have literally never needed to work on getting a horse more sensitive to my leg.

Dramatic Sky, Dry Prairie

Do you feel like you have any holes in your riding experience due to the horses you have or, maybe more importantly, haven't ridden?

Also, how do you ride differently when you ride someone else's horse compared to your own?

For myself, I find that if I am just borrowing a horse for a ride, I tend to be a less proactive rider (less worried about details of bend, contact etc.). I think it's because I don't know what is normal for them or how they were trained and I don't want to mess with them too much. However, I'm also a braver rider on other horses. With my own horse, I don't want them to buck me off etc. because I know I'll need to deal with it later. On other horses, I'm more like "go ahead horse, do your worst". I particularly found this when I was test riding horses when I was looking to buy. I really wanted to know what would happen if I made the horse go into the scary corner, etc, to judge the horse's personality, so I pushed any issue I came across. I was honestly surprised to find I had that kind of courage in me as a rider and I've been trying to harness it a little bit with my own horse since then.

All my other photos are of the kid, which I probably shouldn't post,
so here are some deer exploring town instead

1 comment:

  1. I love riding other horses. It highlights both my weaknesses and also my horse's weaknesses. If the horse is well trained I don't demand as much because I lose confidence in my ability. On greener horses I'm more willing to push buttons. I like hot horses with a bit of sass so I don't necessarily do as well with ones that need more leg.