25 March 2008

Something For The Southwinds Alumni

Night Wind... she liked to jump. A much more pleasant experience than riding Lemon, the half palomino, half appaloosa of a previous post. Lemon was lazy, devious and had to be reminded to do his job, because if you let your guard down, you ended up in a heap on the ground. I found out you can be launched like a projectile right between horse ears, and end up on the ground holding the reins, while the horse looks down with an expression of utter equine innocence.

"Whatever did you do THAT for??"

I don't have any pictures of those moments. Luckily. But they are burned into my memory. Night Wind, on the other hand, had to be held back, or she'd go bombing around a jump course full tilt, with little regard for propriety. Perfect for an English 'cowboy'. I wasn't very good at Hunter courses, where you have to look good while jumping, smooth, consistent, downright pretty. Avoid even ticking the fences. The horse is judged on performance, manners, and pace.

So not for me. I liked Show Jumping, where you have to balance the need to get around the course as fast as possible, turning between fences as tight as you can, against the horse's ability to make a clean jump and not knock any fences down. It was a puzzle, and I loved puzzles. You also got to walk the course before hand and figure out your strategy. In Hunter courses, you just had to eyeball things from outside the ring, and wing it.

Don't even ask about equitation. I'm too short to look elegant on a horse over 14 hands--equitation and dressage are all about looks. Leggy thoroughbreds, and fine-lined standardbreds.

I think I recall Night Wind as being quarter horse, but whether she was 100 percent, I don't know. (I'm sure Nonny Moose will funnel corrections my way if needed.) I like the above picture, because it appears I have a clue as to what I'm doing, looking to the next jump. Of course, without my brother gunning his dirtbike past my horse, I actually had a chance of maintaining composure. Or with that many people watching, I was reluctant to screw up. One of the two. I miss jumping. Riding Western is fun, but it's just not the same when the horse drags his nose on the ground and ambles, instead of looking forward to the next jump as much as I was...


Gabriele C. said...

The Throw You Over the Head horse - I've know one of those, too. Servus, a a 17 feet black half Hannoverian, half Thrakenian whom no one else in the stable wanted to ride at all. He was a starlooker as well, the moment you came near with the headgear. I learned to harness him with one hand, hanging all my weight on his neck from the other arm. :)

Constance said...

Hey, at least you could reach the horses head without standing on a box. *g* Same goes for mounting. In my younger years, I could actually vault onto the horse. No more, mounting block or fence leg up for me.

What is a Thrakenian? Have any pictures??

Gabriele C. said...

Ouch, I muddled the spelling, it's Trakehner.

17 hands, not feet - that would be a bit large even for me. ;)