Today I had an epiphany about my years of riding, a fairly major one. I realized it's been a long long time since I rode a horse that was just a horse. Let me back track my riding career for you. These are the horses I've ridden fairly full time over the years back tracking from my current horse.
Indy - a sweetheart and has become family. A horse we'll never part with. When he was so sick about a year ago I was sure there was a reason he lived, I'm now sure that reason was to make me smile every time I lay eyes on him. But, he's as athletic as a tank with no power steering in a stall. While he's broke and sensible he's large and hard to maneuver, and that's something about him that won't ever change.
Annie - my dream horse. We bred her ourselves, I hand picked her lineage. I wanted a fancy hunter/jumper and while I wanted a bay gelding and got a chestnut mare she was my fancy horse. But, she was HUGELY high maintenance. She needed to be ridden a minimum of 4 days a week and you really never got to relax while riding her. She went to a much better home, she's in a program being ridden regularly and is very happy.
Kinsley - Annie's mom. How I wound up riding her full time I'll never know. The most athletic horse I've ever had the pleasure of riding. Versatile, could win a jumper round then smoke a decent barrel run. But, VERY volatile. VERY. She was a difficult horse to manage in any situation. She lived out her days with us and passed away several years ago.
Prior to Kinsley I was teaching professionally and had often 3-5 full time horses of my own. All projects, often re training involved. Jamie, athletic but high strung. Chanti, sensible but often disjointed and strung out. George, willing and sweet temperament but very large and heavy on the forehand, difficult for a small rider to handle. Hoka, my childhood pony who I rode for 25 years. Very versatile, steady, willing but as he aged became more and more herd bound.
I'll finish here as far as listing horses goes. I'd estimate this to be about 20 years ago, possibly 25.
See a pattern? I do and it hit me like a ton of bricks today. It's been a very very long time that I had a horse that was just a horse. A decent mind and body that had no real quicks to manage. Just ride. Now let me be really clear I've been blessed by the horses that have come into my life over the years, there have been dozens I've not listed here and they've all taught me a lot. They've made me into the rider I am today. But, I realized today as I sat on top of Redman the sorrel gelding in the top photo. I've not gotten to just ride for a very long time.
Fast forward to yesterday. I gave my husband a mini lesson on Redman. I watched him trotting around the ring with a lovely long and low trot. Trot over some cavaletti's not really batting an eye. Something wiggled it's way into my brain, and it was want. Big, juicy WANT. I wanted to ride that horse, just a horse.
So today I did. Redman and I spent a summer together in Alberta about four years ago. I put his basic start on him. I'd forgotten how simple he was. Give him a job and he's happy to do it, he'll try his best. You may have to show him a couple times but once he gets it he's got it. It's rare he argues much, he just wants to be ridden.
Today took me back about four years. While Redman hasn't done much over the last several years. He worked on the lunge line fairly well, getting confused a few times but settling in once he remembered how it all worked and what I was asking. I mounted up and while he's still fairly green for his age I just rode. RODE!
No bucking, no super athletic maneuvers, no leaping, no trying to steer while in a stall, to pins and needles waiting for the next spook.
IT. WAS. HEAVEN.