Over the winter (and into early spring), Moiya is my main ride — she we hack 3-4 days per week and take one jumping lesson. Our rides are never long, usually 20-30 minutes tops because Moiya pretty much is what she is. She comes out with different personalities sometimes, but there’s not a whole lot to be done to change it that day. If she’s hot and spicy, you won’t work it out of her that’s for sure, so you just roll with it. Honestly though, our rides are usually super short because she’s just so damn good. And ever since we’ve been able to consistently ride outside, Moiya has not only been good, she’s been just plain happy.
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.