After I’d written my Friday post, Genevive texted me asking if I was sure I’d like to ride since it was a) supposed to be the hottest weekend yet and b) she didn’t really have a horse for me to really jump on. Which is no big deal at all – at least the horse part haha. The heat is a definite factor, but I’d been excited for that lesson since I’d made it three weeks prior so I wasn’t going to cancel! As much as I have really enjoyed riding Amber this week and she’s been great, I have missed lessons. And, I ended up jumping a little anyway, so it all worked out. Plus, she offered to let me ride TWO horses – how in the world could I say no to that?!
I will admit I was terrible and got pretty much no media. I forgot my helmet cam, and it was hot as hell out, so I focused a lot more on hydration than media lol. But, I absolutely love the two I got to ride. The two she had were a Lusitano cross gelding named Rooster, and a TB mare named Ellie. I was super excited to ride the TB mare – especially since I’m following a lot of OTTB pages as a possibility for my next horse. We were getting an early start too – lesson at 730 and 930 to not get too caught in the heat. So I drove up armed with a giant jug of cold water, a whole Pedialyte, tech clothes and my really airy helmet.
Unfortunately, shortly before arriving, there was quite an odd smell coming from my truck engine, so when I parked I popped the hood to take a look. I couldn’t see anything at first, but then noticed liquid all over one part of my engine, with it bubbling on top of the battery. That was reeeaaaaallly not good. So I called my dad and proceeded to my lesson.
I rode Rooster first since he was more of a kick ride, and had an absolute blast on him. It helped that he liked me haha! He was such a super chill dude, and being a Lusitano good lord his canter was so lovely and lofty. So rhythmic and steady – at least, once he realized that breaking to a trot was a no lol. His trot was lovely and so steady too, and even Amber gives me a little more up and down push than he did. It was just so nice to ride. He’s green, but green as in merely uneducated. He does want to do what you’d like, he just doesn’t know how to do the fancier stuff yet lol. But G has done a fantastic job with him, and even though he’ll probably get sold for dressage, she’s educated him in some jumping! After a good warm up so he and I could get used to each other, we hopped over to the second arena , picked up a canter and headed to a little crossrail in the middle of arena, set up exactly like the crossrail in my previous lesson with Wyatt. Rooster does have a left drift, but he popped over the little jump so steadily and never once tried to run through my left leg or rein. We ran into a little bit of a hiccup when I asked him to land left lead, he landed left lead, and then just as I was steering left he switched to his right lead lol. So we sorta ran into the fence lol, but he was all “oh, okay? Sorry? I guess we carry on? K cool” haha. He was super chill about it, and we nailed two other passes at the crossrail before calling it a day with him.
I really liked him. He was super brave, very willing, and while he is a bit lazier, when it came to jumping I liked that feeling. Despite only have a bit of jumping education, he was steady, and I felt confident enough to actually work on my position a little. I think biking at home that whole week really helped my legs, and riding Amber in my jump saddle also really helped me be more aware of my upper body so that my shoulders didn’t collapse so much when I went to jump. So that lesson was successful! G had a little girl in between my two rides, but it was great to cool down and rest up before I rode Ellie.
Rooster was really great – he’s nosy and cheeky and has personality and is steady and sweet and I loved his gaits. But Ellie. OMG Ellie. I loved her. She’s not as outgoing as Rooster, not as confident, but you could just tell she was so sweet. I was a bit intimidated since she’s a lot bigger than I’ve ridden recently (maybe she’s about 16.2-ish?), but after grooming her and brushing her it just melted away. Maybe it’s just because I love mares, maybe it’s because her energy felt so reminiscent to Whisper – I don’t know. But I really like her. I even rested my cheek on her forehead and stroked her nose, something that I do with Whisper a lot when I feel she needs it. And Ellie just sighed, and it seemed to have the same effect on her as it does Whisper. She really just seemed to be that way the whole time I rode her too – I recognized a lot of Whisper in her, but she had the easily accessible go that Amber has.
By the time I had Ellie tacked and warming up it was about 108 degrees and 10 am. Just ICK. But the rest and water and Pedialyte had done its job, and I had energy to ride. It was so different though hopping on Ellie right after Rooster! Maybe it’s just me, but as much as I feel at home on Amber, I love feeling the differences in horses. It’s just so cool lol. Anyway, I walked with Ellie, and while she constantly had an ear flicking to the excitement going on, she was constantly coming back to me with an ear too, listening when I’d talk to her, listening when I’d pet her. When we trotted, she started off super fast – there was definitely a lot more OOMPH there than with Rooster! Amber has done that plenty of times, so it was a bit amusing for me to feel something so similar in such a completely different horse. (Maybe it’s that mare factor….? lol) But, this is another reason why I love riding with G, and riding her horses. Some of our cues may not be the same, but our philosophies for working with horses are, so when I sat tall, got a firm hold on the reins and tightened my leg, she came right back down to a lovely, steady trot. It was such a nice trot, but I needed to be firmer and steadier with my lower body, a cool difference since I didn’t need to be as on top of it with Rooster since his trot had less upward momentum to it.
This girl had a lovely lovely hunter canter as well. Again, such a difference from Rooster. It was just so cool to get to feel the differences back to back, because their movements were so different from each other, but I liked them both equally. Even though Rooster was a little lazier and required me to be on top of it before he broke gait, Ellie required more body control and subtlety from me. Super cool.
After we had a good warm up, we ventured back out to the uncovered arena to pop over some poles and crossrails. Ellie is a lovely hunter-in-training, but boy when I first pointed her towards the poles she was all OMG JOMPIES and she was SO EXCITED guys lol. The first time we cantered through the poles she was okay, but the second she was like NOPE HANG ON, WE’RE GOING, I HAVE THIS. And the half halt was non-existent and we had a very bad, unbalanced turn haha. So, note to self – we do not pull on reins and push in stirrups. I am not too sure why I always tend to do this initially, because I don’t do this with western, so maybe it’s something I never fixed in English? Either way, I gave myself a silent reminder to sit down, then sit up, then leg support, THEN we balance with the reins. We did a quick trot circle – a half halt to a halt and then back a few steps. Pause, back a little more. Just to reinstate Ellie’s half-halt.
So we made a pass again, this time cantering to the inside of the first pole jump and aiming to the second. I did all of my little reminder, just with a little too much pull, and she broke to a trot, but we picked the canter up again, and had a great stride over the poles. Half-halt success! We came the other way, and this time we got a super half-halt to re-balance to end with a great pass over the poles. G put that one up to a cross rail for us to trot, and Ellie totally clunked over it the first time lol. And it was totally my fault because my freaking shoulders hunched at the last second. Curse my hunchy shoulders haha. Either way, we popped over it two more times, with Ellie being awesome and me not being as terrible with my shoulders, before I had to call it quits. I wasn’t at my limit with the heat, but I was getting there, and I knew if I kept going, I wouldn’t physically be able to support Ellie the way she’d need. It was still a great point in the ride to finish the lesson, and a lot of good things to think about!
Unfortunately, my truck still wasn’t fixed. We weren’t sure what was wrong with it aside from the fact that for some reason it was not charging my left (main) battery at all, and diverting all power to my right (auxiliary) battery. Which meant it was pumping 18.5 volts into that battery, when batteries should only be charging around 13 to14 volts. Yikes. That’s certainly a fire hazard. The sulfuric acid from the battery that I’d tried to rinse off had still corroded through a few cables, so those would need to be fixed. We didn’t leave the property until about 130, I took a much-needed nap from 2-4 before driving back up north to see if we’d fixed the problem. Apparently not. So, we finally got back around 730 pm, and I finished up horses before getting a ride home. I was definitely feeling the effects of the heat – which, go figure my truck decided to have this issue on the hottest weekend projected for July. It got up to 114 (with the historical average only be 104), and was still 105 at 8 pm, despite the sun having gone down around 730.
The next day my dad and I were back at the property, troubleshooting my truck. We were there for a few more hours, and still nothing. It climbed up to 116 that day, and Amber was definitely having an issue, so I spent a good thirty minutes outside continuously hosing her down and giving her an impromptu bath. She was certainly much better for it! But boy it so miserably hot that when I went out to hose off Amber I could literally feel my brain swelling inside my skull. At least it was breezy, so once I hosed Amber, I hosed myself down too.
Monday morning saw me back at the property to meet the tow truck. At this point Genevive and I were joking that I really should’ve just brought my riding gear for the past two days – I could’ve had two more rides lol! I’m glad I didn’t end up having an episode from the heat, but I certainly came close a few times. I’m pretty sure Aleve and Pedialyte were my saviors. So now my truck is at a dealership to hopefully fix the problem. From browsing forums and speaking to a few Firestones and Ted Weins, it seems like it’s a pretty common problem in the PCM for my year of truck. Go figure. Hopefully that is the issue and it’s an easy fix, but I’m not super positive. When we first asked about the PCM part on Saturday, the dealership said they don’t make it anymore because my truck is too old. Womp womp.
So, it was certainly a very busy weekend lol.