I was super-charged this afternoon.
I think it’s caught up with me now as I’m all sleepy again. But I was operating at maximum speed earlier and I think it’s all down to one pony. I obviously fed off his energy and converted it into my own.
It was Ginny’s day off today, and we didn’t have any campers for most of the day either, so we got a lot of chores done on the yard. Raking the arena, cleaning all the tack (properly), putting away the newly painted jump poles etc. Done and dusted. I’d looked at the board earlier in the morning and seen that yesterday, Ginny had allocated us two horses each to ride. I was happy to have been given Cleo, and laughed in total surprise to see I also had Bobby. Adele said if I didn’t feel comfortable getting on him then I could lunge him instead and I explained that it wasn’t him I was worried about. It was me being too big for him. He’s only 11.1hh and a little welsh mountain pony. Super cute, super naughty and a tiddler!
But as we all know, I bloody love ponies, so I was kinda looking forward to hopping on board and seeing what he could do. Cleo was up first though. I tried to continue working on the stuff I’d started on Friday. Particularly my own leg. I dropped my stirrups a hole and found it much easier to wrap my lower leg around and keep my feet pointing in the right direction. I also felt better control and Cleo was more responsive. I’m always wary of dropping my stirrups and I don’t know why. I think I worry that my legs aren’t long enough, whereas I know they are in reality. Silly. I got some nice trot from her though with more leg yields (she was much quicker to listen today) and another very nice turn on the forehand. We also got some good canter transitions, and although she was still resistant in the downward transition by the end of the session she was getting smoother and more willing.
Which meant I felt happy by the end to cross over my stirrups and work on deepening my seat for a bit. We did some nice trot including a little bit of leg yield, and then had a lovely soft canter. By this point, however, I was getting extremely hungry, so I decided to call it a day as I was happy with what we’d achieved. I’d been talking to Adele earlier in the day about how these horses aren’t used to being asked to work properly, so when we jump on and actually expect them to do what we want first time, they get a bit of shock so it takes them longer to understand. They definitely understand though, Cleo proved that today. Because she was better than she was on Friday.
Adele and I then headed off for lunch, which mostly involved stuffing as many delicious rolls down our throats as we could while discussing what we could do with the few campers that we were to be supervising for the afternoon. She and Georgia then rode their second allocated horses while Amy and I completed the tack cleaning and started supervising the kids grooming horses. When they’d finished riding it was mine and Amy’s turn, so we cracked out the little dudes.
Bobby and Sparky. Whit woo! Gorgeous little ponies. I’d not ridden Bobby before, so I was interested to see what he’d be like. Ginny had said she just wanted some of his energy burned off and used up productively ready for the campers next week as he can get a bit quick and over excited about things. So off we went. Having spent so much time riding Blossom before I came out here, I wasn’t so concerned by the lack of neck in front of me when I got on. He’s so little I just hopped on from the ground and we started walking immediately. He felt quite forward, but not like he was going to be a pain. In fact he was probably thinking “what the hell is this lump doing on me!?” Poor pony.
I moved him up into trot fairly quickly so that he’d have a chance to have me off his back. He’s got a cute little trot with a nice rhythm, although it took a little while to establish. His tendency is to run, and just go fast. Obviously, this is to avoid work. Which I was not going to let him get away with, so I asked him to slow down a little. I remembered what Kelly had said to me about not interfering with their natural pace, so once he’d slowed right down I removed my restrictions and allowed him to find the pace which suited him best. I knew the running he was doing was not his natural pace, it was an escape clause, because I could feel it. And when he finally understood that I was going to let him trot his way, he fell into a nice trot, giving me some nice leg yields and rounding his back quite nicely.
He was working well, so I asked him for a canter. Oh my goodness, what a cute canter. And actually a nice balanced one. He tried to drop his inside shoulder a couple of times, but he lifted again when I pushed him forward with my leg. Adele called out to me as we went past “take him over the jump” so on our next circuit, we turned off down the centre line towards the jump that had been left out from yesterday. As we approached I could feel him wobbling, but I corrected him and kept him straight. Cheeky bugger dropped back to trot a stride before the jump though, so we got a peculiar kind of jump. Nothing odder than I’ve sat before though, so I went with him. Next time I decided to approach in trot, as he seemed happier doing that, and we got a much better jump with a clearer take off point. He’s a good pony!
I wasn’t sure about whether or not I’d do anything without stirrups on him, as he’s so little and can nip and spin with no warning. Towards the end of our ride though, I felt enough trust in him to give it a try. I already knew I could sit his trot as I’d tried that earlier. So I crossed my stirrups for the second time today, and off we went again. We established a steady trot again, and due to his small size I could wrap my entire leg around his body, my feet almost touching beneath his belly. Which made getting him to move off my leg a piece of cake! We even had a canter like that, and I felt perfectly secure. He’s easy to rebalance in the trot afterwards too, so there is only a stride or two of big trot after the transition before going back to his nice rhythmical one.
I really enjoyed him! He’s awesome. Ginny had come down to the office for a bit and was watching me at one point as I cantered around, huge smile slapped across my face. “You’re just loving that aren’t you?”
“HELL YES” I replied. Ponies are so cool. Horses are too but you know, ponies.
Adele, Amy, Georgia and I then finished the yard in good time, announcing ourselves the A Team when we realised we’d finished everything by 5pm. Tomorrow, however, will bring on the next influx of Spanish campers. Which means crazy times again! Wuh oh.
I’m going to need to sleep well tonight to handle that lot. But after such successful rides today, that shouldn’t be a problem.
And it was mostly dry too.
In Ireland! I know!