On Saturday I hung out with L. Williams. Dante’s barn is only 35 minutes from Aria’s barn so we decided to make it a baby horse riding day. We headed out at 7am because the weather promised to be hot as hell and because I must really enjoy never sleeping in. Actually, between looking for my helmet and not knowing where exactly the Park & Ride we were meeting at was (thanks Apple Maps…) I’m sure we left later than that but I made up for it with my lead foot. 😉 We dove right into conversation and didn’t have any of those awkward moments of silence. The perks of having a lot in common!
The facility where Dante is at is nice. As soon as you enter the gates you’re greeted by mares and foals on all side, which is probably the worst thing ever for anyone with baby fever. I’m in love with the stalls, wood on three sides and the front is stallion paneling. Love it. L got Dante tacked and warmed him up in the round pen. He’s a tall drink of water. Monster walk, slow lofty looking canter, a trot with suspension and snap, and it certainly helps that he’s big, beautiful, and dark bay. I definitely have a crush. I even tried to trade Aria for him.
You can head over to L’s blog for a recap on her ride which I’m sure she will post this week. Unfortunately I’m so used to not taking any media when I ride that I didn’t think to take any of L riding. 😦 Fail. Next time! From an external perspective I have to admit that Dante is going to be a very fancy hunter considering how much he naturally moves like a dressage horse.
After we finished up with Dante we headed over to my lesson on Aria. We got there super early so we chilled on the bleachers and watched the lesson ahead of me for a bit. I introduced L to P which I think shocked P because I never bring horse people to the barn. Lol. Then we went to get Aria who greeted me pretty sleepily but perked up when she realized there was someone new. L helped me groom which was nice because once again Aria had half her shavings in her mane and tail. I may have to consider keeping her braided all the time when she comes home so I can spend more time riding and less time looking like a monkey picking all the shavings out of her thick mane.
By the time I was tacked up and lunging it was hot. L got lucky with her early morning ride but once I was in the saddle it wasn’t so bad and we worked mostly where the arena had been sprayed down. Aria warmed up on the lunge nicely but she seemed to have a little twinkle in her eye that made me wonder if we were going to give everyone a show. Because of that P started us working along the fence with some lateral work, using turns on the forehand to keep the side to momentum. It worked really well to get Aria and I synced up and the rest of the ride went really well. Looks like we’ve figured out how to mitigate the drama.
There were a few times that Aria tried to get away with bulging and pulling her normal stunts but I’ve finally gotten comfortable correcting her and anticipating her antics. One technique I’ve learned that usually can be used subtly but needed more oomph on Saturday was bumping her at the girth with my outside leg to help stop her bulging. However I had to use the cue much louder than I wanted before she would listen so I switched gears. I put my ‘whip’ at her outside shoulder as we circled from F to K and that really helped improve our shape. It’s a crutch but something I plan to work on until we’re on the same page when it comes to geometry.
My timing isn’t perfect yet so she still managed to scrape me along the fence from time to time but I’ll take it considering we’ve finally sort of figured out this circling thing. It also looks like I’ve been using too much leg or possibly not enough outside rein. Easily HAHA fixed by applying less leg and more rein. It’s something I will have to keep in mind for all my future rides. Overall it was a great ride and I feel confident that when I bring Aria home we’ll be successful when we ride. I couldn’t have asked for a better ride while a fellow blogger was watching.
After my ride we went into Norco proper were I picked up some feed for Valeria/Catalina and then we hit up In-n-Out for lunch before heading back to San Diego. It was fun and I can’t wait until Aria and Dante are ‘home’ so I can get pictures of them together because the size difference is hilarious. This was an adventure that I definitely would not mind repeating (and not just because my gelding crush is Dante).