I like to think I’m like most of you out there: A/O rider with reasonable goals and aspirations. I’m a little different in that I don’t find the green one to bring along, I breed my next horse to bring along. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not for everyone and it’s a long process not to be taken lightly. My foray into breeding began nearly 20 years ago when I just decided I was tired of riding the crazy horses, the ones with a ton of baggage and the ones that would try to kill you without any warning.

I’ve been bringing along my Escapade baby with lots of professional help. The warmblood brain is new to me and lets face it, we don’t bounce like we used to after a certain age. He’s taught me a lot of things on the ground and in the irons so far. When he was younger, I really thought he was going to have that insane work ethic of 5 days on, 1 day off or lunge before riding like his grand dam – which I was not looking forward to.  But as he’s grown up I’ve realized those moments when I’m trying to turn out or bring in a fire breathing dragon are because he’s cold! I’m slow, but it took me 5 years to figure this out. He’s not body clipped at all, he grows a decent coat for our winters. Apparently he just HATES to be cold. If he’s well blanketed and warm, he’s a perfect gentleman to handle.

The last baby I brought along, Oliver, always takes care of me, but he was a little slow to bring along. He never missed a swap in lessons, yet always missed his right to left at the horse show. My poor trainer often would apologize to my husband. “He never misses them at home,” she’d say. Oliver’s other go to was to gallop down to the base and then sneak another step in. I’m not perfect by any means – I’d see it and take my leg off. He’s a lazy beast, and the spot that was there is now the super man distance and, well, thankfully one of us has some self preservation skills, even if I ended up on his neck Every. Single. Time. This earned him the nick name of “Lord Chips A Lot”. He knew the gig, he just was going to make me work for it.  As we grew together most of that evaporated; I learned to sit up and ride to the base and not take my leg off. He learned to stay in front of my leg and take me to the jumps. Forever the learning process.

I’m trying to concentrate on me learning to ride Lego this year. I’ve been “leaving it to the pro” for the last 18 months, while I sporadically jump on him when she can’t make it out to the farm.  I decided my goal for the year was to learn how to ride him and stay out of his way. Thus far, I’ve pretty much figured out he can take a joke really really well and not hold a grudge – hooray for Ammie Friendly Horses™!

Lego has got a big stride, but he is much scopier than Oliver. I find myself going down lines riding as if I’m on Oliver, nagging him to keep going to that distance I see. Lego just says “ok” and easily closes the gap, and then I second guess myself. I see it, it’s right there but is he going to squeak in an extra step? And … I get left in the tack. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that Lego has a big step on a good canter and even though we aren’t galloping, he’s happy to jump up if I ask him to without wanting to add a chip step. Lego gets really funny – I swear he gave me the side eye today and wondered if I could count.

So now I guess it’s my turn for nicknames. I’ve dubbed myself Queen Sits A Lot, until I get my eye right on poor Lego and trust him to leave the ground. I need to strap on my big girl breeches and start jumping him at home until I find it. Hopefully my next post will be an epiphany!