My barn family is the best barn family out there. I might be a little bit biased, but ever since Miles got put on the disabled list, I’ve had numerous boarders offer up their horses for me to ride. So while it’s sucked not being able to ride my own horse, I’ve been having a blast test driving some new-to-me horses. Last week I introduced Coal, whose claim to fame is being the best OTTB trail horse on the planet. This week you get to meet Dax!
I’ve known Dax, a teenage warmblood, for a really long time — his former owner is one of my good friends, and we actually showed 4-H together (on different horses) way back when. About a year ago, Dax sold within the barn to another good friend of mine. These two are perfect for each other because Dax is a steady eddy type of guy that can do it all. From hunter paces to combined training to jumpers, he’s game for just about anything. So when Dax’s mom offered him up for me to ride, I enthusiastically said yes!
The only catch was following his strict recovery routine. Dax suffered a suspensory injury that he’s still coming back from, so following his prescribed 15 minutes of walk, 15 minutes of trot and 5 minutes of canter was very important. Luckily, Dax’s mom trusted me to follow his instructions to a “T”, which is easy enough. I mean, you can really got a lot done in 30 minutes of walk/trot, plus 5 minutes of cantering. So I rode the Daxasaurus (his nickname because, obvi, he’s HUGE) twice this weekend, for exactly 35 minutes. I had a ton of fun both days, focusing on some of the same things I work on with Miles, like stretching up through my core and looking ahead, plus getting to play with Dax’s more advanced buttons.
Even though he’s huge, Dax is really athletic and flexible. He has a super great dressage foundation, so while there are a bunch of buttons Dax has that I don’t know how to use, he has a few that I can push. To start off we worked on the basics: bending, maintaining the connection and a consistent rhythm. Once I remembered how Dax felt (comfy. omg so comfy), I was able to do a bit more, focusing on myself by stretching up through my core and looking ahead — way ahead. I even played around with stretching, because Dax has a wonderful free walk. It’s really easy to get him to stretch way down and swing his hips in the walk and it’s a really cool feeling to ride.
Plus, Dax is very in-tune with your seat. You can turn and adjust speed all by using your thighs and seat. This is something I’m working with Miles on, but sometimes it’s hard to know if I’m asking correctly because it’s a difficult concept for him. So I practiced with Dax and it was loads of fun (also, a great confidence booster to know I have SOME idea of what I’m asking for, hah). We finished each ride with a hack outside the ring, which is Dax’s favorite. He loves to go out on the trails, so I knew he’d enjoy some time plodding around the grass.
All in all, I cannot thank the generosity of my barn family enough for allowing me the chance to ride so many fantastic horses! It’s been a really big confidence boost to remember that I can ride different types of horses… at least on the flat. So thanks Dax and Dax’s mom for two really amazing rides <3