Saturday, March 7, 2009

In which I giggle like a school girl

You know how sometimes it's the little things that make everything come together beautifully? I've been working Gabe on the ground, attacking every little thing I could think of before I climbed into the saddle. I wanted to be sure everything was solid and in place before I got on.

Some people would say I spent too much time on the ground with him and I would kind of have to agree. I wanted to be on him months ago, but winter and mud got in the way. I don't have an indoor or an all-weather arena so when it's muddy, it's MUDDY and I didn't want to risk injury to either of us in the deep, slick mud in case things did not go smoothly.

Gabe has learned well, he's a quick learner and really seems to look forward to whatever I can throw at him. I've yet to find something that will spook, startle or bother that beast.

Today it all came together and I climbed aboard. I was nervous, yes, my heart was pounding and my hands sweating just a bit. Every OTTB I've been on has this tendency to take off as soon as you put a foot in the iron and I was prepared for him to do the same. You just never know how they will react. He stood like a rock and waited as I settled into the saddle, all while talking to him and patting him. Robert, my dear husband, helped me out by standing at his head with a lead rope in hand, just in case all the "whoa!" work we did on the ground didn't transfer to the saddle.

It did. Beautifully.

OMG. All I have to say is WOW! Years ago I rode a Hannoverian dressage schoolmaster and I learned a lot from him. He was trained up to grand prix and had the most powerful, incredible stride I've ever sat. He was not an easy ride and I ended my lessons on him with burning abs and chafed thighs because he just required so much work to sit.

I can honestly say Gabe comes pretty darn close to that power, and that's just not a proud owner talking. He strides big, he strides powerful. He walks with purpose but not anxiety. I felt like I had endless power in the engine and all I had to do was ask for it.

And now I'm asking myself "Why the heck did I wait so long? Holy cow!" But, I'm glad I did. He knows voice commands, he understands the pressure of my legs and turns fairly easily. Is it perfect? Naw, but he's not confused by what I'm asking, and that's what's important.

I did cheat a little bit. Kayleigh and I took Chief and Calypso out for a ride before I got on Gabe. I knew Gabe would run around and buck like a nut while we were gone. I wanted him to take some of the edge off, just in case. And he did. He wasn't exhausted, but he was mellow. But I tell you what...getting off Calypso and getting on Gabe was a whole like going from Ford Escort to Ferrari. Seriously. What a world of difference!


  1. And the photo of this auspicious occasion is ... where?

  2. Whoopie! That sounds like a great first ride. There have been many times when I've gotten off one horse and thought, "I think Gabbrielle is ready for her first ride today" but I chose to wait. I want to make sure I am consistently doing ground work with her before putting a foot in the stirrup, and the weather has prevented that so far. I also want to get the okay from my vet. She still looks so petite. Gabe is probably going to end up being your dream ride. He's so gorgeous and such a good boy.

  3. A powerhouse, huh? He's going to be a total addiction when you start him over jumps!

  4. congratulations! sounds wonderful.

  5. Now that is worth wading through the mudd and gunk for!! Fantastic Jenn! I would love to see some pics and video of the power you speak of..I am sooo happy for you!
    What a Handsome dream he is~

  6. Awesome!! I believe that you will be forever thankful that you did do all that wonderful groundwork and did wait until "the right time" for both of you. Freaking fantastic!! Remember those famous words..."The slower you go, the quicker you get there".
    Ray Hunt

  7. what fun! can't wait to hear more.

  8. I think you waited just the right amount of time. Things went perfect! Congrats, Jenn! Sounds like an awesome day!

  9. So much of life with horses gets rushed. I think you made the right decision! I remember reading about a guy who didn't have to break his mustang because he worked him into the saddle so slowly.

    I'm new here and can't wait to dig in!