Monday, April 11, 2011

Oh Boy it's Swell to Say...

Ahh I'm back on the farm and it feels so good! The drive home from South Carolina yesterday went super smoothly, and we even arrived home an hour a half earlier than expected!

(Spring is slowly creeping into Black Brook Farm!)

(My brother and his girlfriend moved back to the farm last summer and have begun their own organic farming operation - here are their layers, looking happy in some fine spring sunshine)

Today I got to ride Dually, who felt super fresh but great! He's looking and feeling the best he's been early in the season in a long time. I just went out for a walk around the park and then did a little connected work in the ring, getting him straight and supple. Papa's done a great job with him, and so he did great. I feel so lucky to get to ride him this week!

(Dually gets down and dirty after our ride...)

(...and keeps going...)

(...and going!)

I then went for a test ride on my mom's new horse, Acorn. Acorn is a 15 year old, 14.1hh halflinger pony, and is officially one of the cutest creatures I've met in a loooong time. He is apparently quite well-schooled on the flat, and even came with his own little double bridle and dressage duds. I'm not only thrilled for my mom (who hasn't had a horse of her own to ride for several years) but am also pretty excited to maybe learn something from a well-schooled horse this summer! I was the first one on the farm to ride him today, so I wore his jumping bridle just in case.

(Too cute, right?)

(Awww - he has a great personality too, very sensible)

And I was pretty glad I did! He ended up being quite strong, and I had to work pretty hard to keep him focused even with his little elevator bit. I was a little frustrated with the ride I gave him, because I ended up just pulling back on him and getting super picky when he started pulling on me. Not the right solution to the problem!! I think he's pretty out of shape, and so holding himself without bracing against the reins is hard for him. I should have been a little more tactful and probably worked 10 minutes less (I still only rode him for probably 30 minutes total), but hopefully he'll forgive me and I can learn from my mistakes going forward.

(I'm... pretty darn big on him! But fortunately he's very sturdy, so I don't think my weight is an issue - my mom weighs a bit more than I do (though she's more petite) so if he can't carry me then we have an issue!)

Since he's so small, I really have to be conscious of my body positioning and balance, which I know can only help my riding as a whole. I think he was a little too strong for my mom today, but hopefully I can be a little more tactful and getting him a little better tuned up before she rides him for the first time later in the week. But man, isn't he the cutest?? I think we only collect adorable creatures at Black Brook Farm... and I'm OK with that!

(Acorn had to roll after his ride too - I must have really been torturing them! ;D)

I promise I have a few more thoughts about Aiken, but I have to hustle outside for a run (in my spiffy new running shoes!!) before the light completely goes. More later!


Kate said...

Did you get Acorn from a lady with the first name of Michelle?

Suzie said...

As I mentioned on FB, I used to retrain Haffies. Chances are, Acorn was broke to drive before being broke to saddle (for some reason that is very popular with Haffies, both Amish-raised and otherwise). The consequence is that they are quite heavy in the mouth. It isn't a lack of self carriage thing, just how they are. It is easier to ride them once you figure that their contact isn't nor ever will be that of a sporthorse, but is just as useful. Also, weight lifting helps, ha!

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