I feel a bit like a spoiled hunter princess when I say this out loud, but having a “practice” horse is the best thing ever. It’s wonderful to have a horse you have no goals or expectations for — one that you can simply do whatever you want, whenever you want and just enjoy. I know I’m so lucky to have this option available to me, but it’s really changed my riding for the better.
I’ve been riding Moiya since late Summer 2015, and officially began my half-lease in January. I first fell in love with Moiya when I rode her during the summer last year. Miles was lame and resting, and she saved me from sitting on my ass while all my friends took lessons and went to horse shows. She was a gem from the get-go, and we just clicked (albeit inexplicably, because no one was more surprised than me). Over the winter, she was a bit difficult, especially over fences. But during my lesson last Monday, I got a glimpse of the mare I originally fell in love with.
The temperature dropped here in Central Ohio this week, in addition to getting a little bit of snow. Lessons were cancelled, so I’ve spent some extra time mulling over a few recent rides on Moiya. I’ve come to the conclusion that Moiya is a counter-intuitive ride, which is one of the things that makes her so difficult. Well, that and the fact that she’s sensitive and opinionated. But today I want to focus on some of the things that I’ve learned over the last few months about riding Moiya that seem… well… the opposite of what I would first think to do.
I’m at a point in my riding where I know a lot of the basics. For example, I know what a half halt it, how to perform a half halt and the general circumstances in which I should apply a half halt. But what I’m still learning is how HARD to apply a half halt and how often I should half halt. These are more complicated questions because the answer is fluid: it depends. It depends on the horse, it depends on the day, and (most importantly) the answer can change throughout your ride.
Lots of updates are overdue, including one on baby Moiya (that cute little bay OTTB mare). She spent the last half of the summer carting me around, helping me regain some confidence. We had lots of really great rides, but this fall her future was uncertain. But, I have a great trainer (and I can’t say that enough!) who has taken on Moiya since her owner fell ill and passed away last week. And… after much discussion with DH, we decided to half-lease her!