It’s true. Vicki is fearless when it comes to horses. Every horse that comes on our farm is a target. She isn’t satisfied until she gets up in a saddle on top of the horse. Today, she finally got to ride Echo. I started by working Echo in the arena; it’s not that he needed me to work anything out, but rather, we needed to work together. Anna sat in the corner barking instructions “Support with your inside leg!” “Inside leg to outside rein” “Thumbs up! You have piano hands!” “Push forward!” “Loopy reins!” I have flashbacks of Ann Bowie every time Anna gives me a lesson.
Echo has been doing very well with basic dressage training. He is very light when I ride with a loose ring, french link snaffle. He will collect, but it is clearly work for him. It’s amazing how he has so much forward energy on the trails, but is actually a little lazy in the arena (so am I). He has already shown improvement at his canter transitions and picked up the correct lead every time today.
About half an hour into my ride, Vicki came out of the barn wearing her helmet, boots, and half chaps. She took up position on the swings to watch, clearly expecting her turn, so we gave her some saddle time with Echo. At 16.1hh, Echo is a little taller than Devil (actually about 15″ taller). Vicki was riding in my 18″ saddle which is a little big for her, but she did great handling Echo. If Echo continues like today, he will achieve King’s level of sainthood with the kids. Vicki did walk, trot, and canter work with Echo for 30 minutes until our light was fading and we returned to the barn. Then she assisted me with a few more trailer loading drills with Echo. I think we have that problem taken care of at this point, but he still hesitates just a little, so we will keep at it until he is as reliable as the others in the herd.
With temps in the low 60s, I don’t know of a better way to spend a March evening. At dinner, Vicki was comparing and contrasting the ride on Echo to King, Dakota, and Devil. Devil is still her pony, but I have the feeling she is looking at her options for the future and already sizing up my new mount for herself.