This is a post from my horseforum.com thread that I started when I got Max. I’m so lucky the forum is still around and I was able to go back and add it to Lipizzan Life.
Yesterday was awesome! I trotted on Max (on the lunge line)! That seems like a little victory, but it is huge for me.
We found out why Max has been so ornery under saddle. The original vet that did his pre sale told me that his teeth were fine. We’ve had some drama with that vet in the barn, so this is no surprise, but his teeth were NOT fine at all. I had his teeth floated right at the one year mark after getting him, pretty much, and the vet that did it had me feel his teeth. It was like putting my hand in a shark’s mouth. Every tooth had a sharp point. I was so mad!!! Of course, as soon as his teeth were done, he turned into a completely different horse under saddle.
My coach and I have been working diligently to get Max and me ready to pair up. She’s been working him almost every day and I have been riding almost every day, too! I switched to a great little lesson pony that jars you out of the saddle every stride. It was awesome! It really worked out my muscles and endurance. I learned to canter on that little guy.
I was falling in love with that little pony… and then he went lame.
It wasn’t my fault, although I was scared to death I had overridden him by coming by every day. Apparently he bruised his hoof a little bit while he was out frolicking. (which is kind of hard to image since he is the most sedate little bombproof pony) My coach was trying to figure out who I could ride so I didn’t “lose it” while my lesson pony recovered, and then she said “You need to ride your own horse anyway! If you can ride Rusty, you can totally ride Max”
I had a lesson back on my original lesson horse, and it was amazing. She’s got this really smooth quality to her ride, and I felt like I was floating at every gait – walk – trot – and canter! My coach said “see! You can really ride now! You can’t beat yourself up when you’re riding Rusty, that’s just silly. He’s just a really bouncy hard pony to ride!” That made me feel a lot better. She told me that if I could ride bouncy Rusty that Max would feel easy after that!
I walked Max around the ring the other day on my off lesson day. He was such a cute sweetheart. I realized just how curious he is. Usually you think of a horse spooking at something and running the other way, but with him it’s like his curiosity draws him right back to it.
Well, except for sunlight. ‘cuz that stuff’s gonna kill us all! My coach was riding him around the ring kind of late in the day, and he started getting scared of sunlight. It was hilarious. At one point, he thought the shadow from the fence was a rail he had to jump over. At another point, he thought the pool of sunlight was a river he had to wade through. He was so funny! By the end of it, he realized we weren’t all in grave danger of being irradiated to death.
So, anyways, my hubby was there in the ring with me while I walked Max around. He was watching videos on his cell phone, and one of our walk-bys the cell phone let out this screeching scream. Max flinched for a second and looked at it, so I walked him over to the cell phone and my hubby held it out. Max sniffed it and proceeded to try and eat it. We didn’t let him do that, so he sniffed my hubby’s shoe and tried to eat that. It was a really cool moment. He’s so naturally curious and explorative, and it reminds me that he’s only been alive for 7 years! There’s so many things that are new to him. I don’t plan on stopping and showing him every one of them, but it was cool to explore with him a little bit.
I showed up to ride today after having a day off, where my coach rode him, and was greeted with a recount of his bratty demeanor in my absence. She said all his old bratty habits resurfaced on their ride. I was going into my ride on him thinking “oh great, I screwed him up!!!”. I was ready for battle! I was going to learn to be more tough! Then I got on him and he was a perfect angel. He was even better than my walk on him the other day. He was relaxed and happy and did everything I told him to.
My coach and I decided I would feel better trotting him around on the lunge line. Last time I tried to trot him, I feel forward and squeezed with my legs… and we had to use the fence as a stop. She hooked him up to the lunge line and told me to do my thing. It was amazing! After riding that bouncy little pony, he felt like a smooth pleasure horse. Of course, he’s still a bouncy fancy lipizzan, but nothing like Rusty! We trotted both ways. She also had me work on my stopping, because he stops when I just think stop. If I do anything more than move my pinky, he skids to a halt. I thought that was just the bees knees. Then I had to work on not stopping, because he was kind of digging the concept of stopping and standing there while I loved on him.
So there it is! After months and months of self doubt and writing an endless stream of checks, I’m finally riding my own horse! One thing I learned along the way is there is no scrimping in the horse world. If I want to make progress, I just have to work more and write bigger checks. But… it’s worth it in the end! Sooo worth it!
Hopefully I will have videos and more updates soon.