Just today, Avery learned that he is, in fact, a Thoroughbred. My lazy, perfect hunter pony who I trust to carry absolute beginners suddenly became a spastic racehorse. I blame the weather. 13 degrees is not riding weather.
Avery has always been the easier of my two horses. He’s stiff and resistant, but Doesn’t do anything too challenging. He’s a homebred Thoroughbred, which means he never raced and wasn’t even bred for racing. He was bred to be a hunter, and was a rather decent one for the first eight ears of his life. We tried eventing, which didn’t go well. The dressage stuck, and we do a lot of that now. He’s a pretty solid First Level horse capable of some higher movements. Every once in a while he’ll have a “Thoroughbred moment” and try to run out of something, but he gives up pretty easily. He enjoys lead changes too much and still occasionally throws in some of his auto changes from his hunter days. But he mostly goes along, doing what I tell him.
Not today. Today, we had some fire. Granted, he had been stuck in his stall for the past two days because it was officially too cold to work the horses. That would make any horse wild.
I knew it was going to be interesting when I took him to the arena because I didn’t have to DRAG him all the way there. He was marching along in front of me. That has NEVER happened in the six and a half years I’ve owned this horse. I always have to coax him out of the barn, then watch everyone and their grandmother pass us on the way to the arena.
Next clue: He wouldn’t stand for me to get on. This horse never moves without being forced to, so spinning around and walking off should have been a real clue that I was in for a RIDE.
As soon as I got on, we were trotting, Okay, just stretch him out and go easy. Nope, now we’re cantering. The arena footing is frozen and I can feel the concussion traveling all the way up from his feet. Okay, let’s half-halt. Okay, what was THAT?! Suddenly, we’ve changed direction and are flying hollow-backed around the arena. I’ve no place to sit, his head is in my face and we’re about to crash into the other pair riding with us. Fortunately Jenny got on the microphone and talked me through it, because there was not a single thought in my head. I’m pretty sure I was too busy cursing him to ride properly. We worked in the canter for a good ten to fifteen minutes before he was ready to trot again, and as soon as he trotted we started our lateral work. We went form fifteen meter circles to voltes and back in both directions, riding shoulders-in and haunches-in. Then we schooled our circles counter bent. When his trot finally became slightly less than bone-jarring, he was allowed to stretch.
Man, that horse can run. There was nothing to sit on when he took off. Lucky for me I was wearing my lovely leather full seat winter breeches instead of the crap Kerrits pair I own because that’s the only thing that kept me in the saddle. I was stuck there, for better or worse. As sucky as the ride was, I’m pleased at how it ended. I got some good work out of him, and from the worst state of mind he’s ever been in. I honestly didn’t think that horse had it in him. I was prepared for his usual brace-and-run deal, but this was leagues above that. It was that much worse for his stiffness because he used that to his advantage to pop me out of the tack. So while I was busy trying to find a place to sit, he could zoom around the tiny indoor. Wow, dude, please go back to being my pleasant hunter pony. Like tomorrow. I have a mare for when I want crazy. P.S. No more treats until you calm down.