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.
Moiya, despite officially turning 18 on January 1 with all Thoroughbreds, has felt better than ever lately. She’s moving wonderfully, really working over her back, and has really embraced the stretchy walk and trot. Her lateral work is excellent and continues to improve the more I work on the precision of my aids. She comes out of her stall happy and willing to work every single day, and while she’s still not into pricking her ears for photo shoots, she’s quite the snuggle bug and cookie hound.
This week I’d planned on just flatting — interspersing some work with ground poles with long and low exercise to keep Moiya fit and happy. On Sunday, our Barn Manager set up a nice course of jumps and convinced me to pop over a few. I hadn’t planned on it at all, but Moiya was feeling good so I said “Oh, I’ll just pop over something small.” That quickly turned into jumping a 2’3″ line each direction because Moiya just felt so light, responsive and incredibly happy.
Our jumps felt really good, and I was grinning from ear to ear. It’s truly awesome to ride a horse who enjoys her job so much, and I’m forever grateful to have the opportunity to ride her.