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First Ride

I had my first ride on Trial Horse (TH) last night and overall it went pretty well. I felt pretty comfortable on him, considering it was only my second time ever riding him. I’m going to describe the ride in ridiculous detail, so here are the highlights for those that don’t care to read the entire post (which I don’t blame you!)


  • Doesn’t stand stock still in cross-ties, but it’s not as bad as I remember. Verdict: Livable
  • Very narrow horse, so I will need a new saddle (which is not shocking). Verdict: Livable

General Demeanor

  • TH is inquisitive and likes to look around at everything. Verdict: Livable
  • He is a sweet guy, likes to petted and loved on. Verdict: Like!
  • Not spooky, adjusts to new surroundings quickly. Verdict: Like!

On The Flat

  • He has smooth gaits, easy to sit both the trot and canter. Verdict: Like!
  • Likes to be straight. Knows how to bend, but is inconsistent. Verdict: Workable
  • Calm, will stand still in the middle of the arena with other horses going around. Verdict: Like!
  • Needs work on left lead canter — lacks impulsion. Verdict: Workable

Over Fences

  • Refused a few times, but it wasn’t dirty. Verdict: Unsure
  • Round jump, but smooth. Verdict: Like!
  • Very adjustable in the line. Verdict: Like!
  • Forgiving. Verdict: Love!

cute bay hunter

The Play by Play

Started out with a quick rinse of TH’s legs to get the rest of his poultice off. He walked right into the wash rack no problem and stood fairly well. He wanted to move around a bit and stick half of his body out (I suspect to see what was going on around him) but he was less antsy in the cross-ties than I remembered. By the time the ride was over, both Sam and I almost didn’t notice that he was moving around a bit anymore.

He stood fairly well in the cross-ties for grooming and seems thin-skinned and sensitive, especially his belly. I opted to just use the soft brush because I have a pretty stiff hard brush, and I didn’t think he’d like it. He was good for the grooming mit though, which I was happy about. TH was patient with adjusting tack, but it looks like I will definitely need to purchase a new saddle if I buy him (which is not a surprise considering I bought my saddle for the widest horse that ever walked the earth. No seriously – my saddle is 7″ dot to dot).

Unfortunately it rained all day, so we had to ride inside. Obviously, TH has never been in the indoor arena, so I tacked up and decided to hand-walk him first. There are mirrors at one end, a small door on one long side and then a big door plus a viewing hut at the other end, so it can be scary. Luckily, TH didn’t care. Strolled in, looked at himself in the mirror and thought “gosh I’m good looking!”

When I mounted up, he didn’t want to stand still at the block for very long, so that’s something we would need to work on. One of the other students was finishing up her lesson, so TH and I putzed around, and nothing phased him. Other horse jumping? Don’t care. Standing in the middle of the arena on the buckle? Cool. He wasn’t super thrilled with the liverpool, but didn’t do anything naughty.

We walked and trotted all around, and he was honestly kind of lazy. I guess he did just finish a horse show though, so we’ll have to see how the rest of the week goes as far as that is concerned.

TH is definitely weaker to the left, so his canter that direction was almost a lope. I am stronger to the left, so this is good for me. Overall, he could use some fine tuning on the flat. He knows a lot of things, but just isn’t consistent. I like this because it gives me an opportunity to contribute to the horse and feel like we learned something together. To the right, we got the wrong lead at first and he had a five second tantrum about it, in which he tossed his head and got a little hopped up with his front feet. Then he promptly switched his lead and cantered on like nothing happened. I was glad his “temper tantrum” was something I could handle, and that he didn’t hold a grudge. Obviously we need to work on our leads, but I didn’t have trouble when I tried him before at his barn, so I think we will get it sorted out.

After warming up and figuring things out on the flat, we moved on to trotting cross-rails. Trainer had a small line set up, but we started with just one. We trotted up towards the mirrors to the second fence in the line and he refused. It wasn’t dirty, he just slowed to a stop in front of the fence and looked down at it. He did that two or three times, so I grabbed a crop and waved it as we were approaching the jump, and he popped over. I got left behind and I’m pretty sure I didn’t release at all, but he didn’t care. We continued over the jump a few times until he was smooth.

Then we moved on to the other cross-rail in the line. It was a natural (the other fence was green and white) and coming up to it he sucked back a little bit, but I clucked (loudly) and kept my leg on and over he went! We did the line a few times, trotting in and cantering out. The first couple of times we did the line in six, with a few tough chips to the second fence, but he was good, went over and wasn’t upset. He even gave me a few lead changes! They weren’t nice, but I wasn’t helping at all, so I’m sure once we did them more, they would improve.

We ended the lesson jumping the line set at about 2′ (verticals). I was happy that I felt confident enough to raise the jumps on my first ride! His jump is round, but very soft, and so far I think it works well for me. I’m a little put-off by the refusals, but trainer said it could be due to a number of factors, and he might be a horse that just needs to school when he’s at a new place. Overall, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it — it’s good I have lots of lessons scheduled during our trial period!


  • Tuesday – Hack
  • Wednesday – Off
  • Thursday – Lesson
  • Friday – Off
  • Saturday – Lesson


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

8 thoughts to “First Ride”

  1. So far so good, and agree when I had SH for a week I rode him every day almost to get a really good sense, and then the trial dragged out as we couldn’t get the vetting right away.

  2. I’m weaker to the right and so is Wiz- so that’s no good! Good thing you all are compatible in that way. And as for the stopping, could be you just need to figure each other out. But if it continues to be a problem, may not be something you want to continue to work with, since there are plenty of horses out there with no stop in them :)Then again, you could be up for the challenge and sharpening your riding skills. But then again, there’s the safety factor… so many things to consider!

    1. I think its mostly up figuring each other out. Hopefully now that I know, I can ride with more confidence to the fences and it won’t happen again!

  3. All of that sounds super workable, but I agree with you on the ‘hmm’ over fences. Hard to say if he stopped because you may have been a bit nervous and non committal or if he has a real stop in him. God luck, keep us posted!

  4. Sounds like lots of good and a little hmmm…

    Not sure if you read my blog back when Henry was a stopper. He was DIRTY tho… slam the brakes on at the last min and drop me as fast as possible (i have one video where he slammed the brakes on and i flew over his shoulder like a rag doll, but landed on my feet lol). It sucked, but we worked through it.

    It’s all what you and your trainer think is best for you 🙂

  5. Everything sounds pretty darn positive so far. The stopping could certainly be an issue but once you get to know each other and develop some trust that could easily go away too. Good luck!

  6. Sounds positive!! Every horse has a weak side. Hue is a million times more comfortable (to me) tracking left – which also happens to be my stronger direction because I are much stronger on my right side so more capable with my outside aids.

    It is great that you took the time to break it all down. This will help you to be able to reflect clearly if/ when you make a decision on him!

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