Last night was gorgeous. It had poured rain all day Tuesday but yesterday the sun was back out and there was a cool breeze. I ignored the fact that the saturated earth plus blazing hot sun made the humidity sky rocket and the world turn into a sauna. It’s late August in SC. It’s just the way it is right now.
I really wanted M to try Gem out. She hadn’t matched well with Eeyore and I see no point in making either of them struggle through that. Not when Eeyore and I are starting to finally click and M will be leaving in June. If she was a permanent member of the family, maybe. Gem is a much different ride than Eeyore and she needs the exercise anyway. Plus this way we wouldn’t be sharing and could ride together versus one then the other.
M requested that I hop on Gem first. I’m not sure she trusts my descriptions of my horses after her experience with Eeyore. As soon as I got on Gem, it felt both familiar and foreign at the same time. My butt knew her so well but it had been 15 months since I last climbed on her and a lot has changed in that time. My first thought was “have you always been this narrow?! I can nearly touch my feet together under you” which was quickly followed by “awe look at those beautiful black tipped ears” and then by “ah yeah. now I remember. screw this crap. I want Eeyore back”.
We did some walk and trot work. I didn’t bother to canter her. Once you let Gem canter it’s over. That’s all she will do from then on out and after sitting in the pasture for 15 months I wasn’t really wanting to school her all that much. This was a test ride to see if M and Gem would be a good match or not. Though honestly I pretty much knew the answer going in. You have to try though, right?
It’s probably a difference in riding technique across the pond. M rides well, her hands are quiet and her position steady and solid. The thing that keeps biting her is that all her aides are very strong. There is no whispering. She clamps with her legs and gets very heavy with her hands. I’m not criticizing her, but it is the reason that every horse I’ve seen her ride gets tense and goes flying off in a canter when all she wanted was a trot. Or trots when she wants to walk. Or backs up when she wants to halt.
Everything is very loud and heavy. Eeyore isn’t that sensitive of a horse and even he got wild and wooly under her. Gem is a very sensitive horse. After nearly a decade with her, all I had to do was think trot and she would. She needs a whisper. When M was yelling at her with her aides, things got out of hand. Nothing scary mind you. Gem is incredibly safe, but she did hollow, get a giraffe head and canter around on the forehand. That’s not very fun to ride.
All this to say that it wasn’t a good match. She mostly walked and tried a few trot transitions but that turned into a canter and that scared M. I assured her that if she just let go with the reins a bit, gave Gem the ability to move forward in the trot after she asked, she would settle and trot nicely but it was a no go. That subtly wasn’t going to happen.
I felt bad. I wished I had a beginner friendly, easy horse for her to ride. A horse who won’t do more than is absolutely required. I know she desperately wants to ride here. I know she was really looking forward to that and it is falling apart for her. But I don’t know what else I can do really. Her style of riding isn’t a good match for the style of horse I’m attracted to and hence have at my farm.
I was texting with Bette and she may have come up with a solution for us. She works at a summer camp and those horses need a home for the fall and winter. Generally they go out on a care lease type situation. I believe pretty much all the favorites have been spoken for but there is one gelding left who might fit the bill.
He is a senior Arab with a sway back, a good brain and a heart of gold apparently. He can w/t/c, hit the trails and do small jumps. All things M wants to do. He has given kids lessons and takes a lot of leg to go which sounds just about perfect for M. I’m not excited about another horse on the property, but if it does work out then I’m goinG to put the extra work on M. If she wants a horse of her own to ride, she is old enough to do the chores required to have said horse.
I’ve reached out to the lady in charge of this and I am waiting on a reply. If it pans out, we can sneak up on this three day weekend to try him out and see how it goes. There is an apple festival going on near where he is, so we can also hit that up and get some apple cider slushees and apple cider donuts while there. Maybe go back the next day and pick him up. He’d need to go back to camp come May and she leaves in June so the timing is almost perfect. We will see how it goes but I do think that if he doesn’t work out, her days of riding with me are probably over as I don’t think her on Gem on trail in the open is a good idea anymore. I’d worry that I wouldn’t see them ever again and that they would be found in the next county or even state.