Rider Up!: First Ride on a Green Horse
Now that summer has finally decided to show itself, things are taking off here at In the Night Farm. The garden is getting greener and the root cellar deeper, and some serious horse training is finally underway.
Consolation (2002 Barb mare) continues to do well under saddle. I rode her three miles along the road Monday, then brought her back for some trot work in the round corral. Until a horse is well started, I like to be sure coming home means more work rather than rest and feed.
Alternating Current (aka Acey, 2003 Barb mare) is coming along in Con- solation’s wake. As you can see from these first-ride photos taken a couple weeks ago, she’s a tiny thing. Luckily, I’m only 5’3″,and I think we make a cute couple. As a bonus, there’s not far to fall!
The bad news is that tack for a horse Acey’s size is hard to come by. Sadly, my Stonewall endurance saddle is too wide for her, so I’m using my Wintec Aussie instead. The shortest girth I have is still a bit too long, so I suppose I’ll be buying another of those–along with a pony-size bridle, breast collar, and other miscellanea–before long. Adding extra holes to my cob-size tack just isn’t going to work this time.
Unfortunately, it seems most tack manufacturers assume that if you’re riding a pony, you’re 1) a little girl who loves rainbows and bling, and/or 2) doing children’s hunter/jumper. Surely someone manufactures pony-sized trail or endurance tack, such as beta halter-bridles and high quality wool saddle pads. If you’ve found a source, please clue me in!
But I digress. Acey’s sticking point during her first few rides was moving in a straight line. She’d disengage her hindquarters. She’d circle. But it took a few extra ground driving lessons — and switching from the too-big-anyway bitless bridle to her (weanling size!) rope halter to get her going forward. That hurdle overcome, we’ll move on to trotting later this week.
And so, we carry on, toiling upward in the night.