That Red Mare

I keep getting tagged in this meme that’s been making it’s way around social media…

Which is totally fair, because I have indeed fallen in love with a chestnut mare. I mean it’s still very early days of course, but Gemma continues to impress me. Don’t get me wrong, she is definitely a chestnut mare complete with all of her opinions and judgments, but let’s be honest Henry is also a chestnut mare on the inside so I’ve had years of experience with that by now. Gemma has yet to throw anything at me that Henry has not. Their sass levels are fairly equal.

It’s been years since I’ve had a mare (not by deliberate choice, that’s just how things worked out) and I’m reminded why I’ve always tended to gravitate toward them more than geldings. Gemma is so intelligent, and she definitely has decided that I’m her person. She likes attention and her humans, as long as you don’t do ridiculous things like try to pet her in the wrong places or come without cookies. I can identify with that.

Ignore the sweaty helmet hair human and focus on the cute mare licking my ice cream

Under saddle she just gets better and better with every ride. I’ve never had one off the track that “got” the flatwork as easily as she does. She’s pretty steady in the contact now, the leg yields are decent, the shoulder-in is coming along, and she’s offering the beginnings of a stretchy trot. We’ve been adding in more transitions too, both within the gait and between gaits. The canter transitions still aren’t great but they’re much improved for sure, and every one we do is a bit better than the last. She’s already pretty fun to flat, and the more you ask of her the better she is. She’s so clever and can figure out what you’re asking pretty quickly. Definitely different from Henry, who has never been very good at dealing with any kind of pressure on the flat and gets frustrated/worried easily. Gemma has none of that.

all business

I’m now having a lot of regrets about not entering her in RRP, because even if she wasn’t ready for the jumping stuff I think she could have gone and done well in the dressage. One of the first orders of business when we get to Florida will be having the saddle fitter out to fit my Custom dressage saddle to her.

My jumping saddle doesn’t really fit her either (BECAUSE WHY WOULD IT) which… it doesn’t fit me anymore either, but my bank account is so not ready to talk about that. I think I’ll end up keeping that jump saddle because it fits Henry, and then get something else for Gemma and Presto. Luckily those two are pretty similarly shaped so I think I should be able to find something that I could make work for both of them. I can’t wrap my brain around that particular very expensive thing at the moment though… gimme a few weeks.

how many fresh OTT horses canter down a hill like this? She’s naturally so well-balanced.

I’ve also jumped her a couple times at home now too. Yep, that makes three whole jumping sessions under her girth now… guess you could say things are getting pretty serious. Really though she also shows her cleverness in that area too. She isn’t always sure what to do with her feet or her body, but she’s always willing to try. She hasn’t even so much as blinked about anything I’ve pointed her at – flowers, the pig fillers, or even the little wannabe liverpool tarp. My poles are also only 8′ wide, which isn’t the easiest on a wiggly green horse, but she canters right on down there and she tries.

We haven’t jumped much, or done anything particularly formal, but once we get to Florida we’ll make a real plan for her and put a bit more structure in her training program. Gymnastics and cavalettis would do her a lot of good I think, so she can learn to be a little more methodical and focused with her feet.

For now though, she’s gonna get a mini-vacay. Yesterday was officially our last ride here in Texas for the horses. Today I have a lot of errands to run and work to wrap up, and then Hillary and I leave at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow for LRK3DE. Once we get back from Kentucky we’ve got one day to pack up the rest of my stuff (which is pretty much just the horse’s stuff at this point) and then we’re loading up and heading out to Florida.

one last hack

It’s been a little surreal this past week, watching everything slowly either get packed up or thrown away or sold off. We jumped the horses on Sunday, and then yesterday I sold the majority of my jumps. There are already enough jumps on the property in FL so I’m only taking the standards that are in the best condition, and all of my square poles. The rest of it wasn’t really worth taking nor do I have the space to bring them with me anyway, so I sold it all as a cheap package deal to someone who hopefully will fix them up a bit and be able to get as much use out of them as much as I did. Those jumps might not have been fancy or beautiful but they served me just fine for years. It was the end of an era loading them up in to someone else’s trailer though, and now seeing the jump field sitting empty once again.

Hillary and Henry doing one last jump school here, with Gemma and Mina’s assistance of course

Times they are about to be changin.

But first… KENTUCKY! I wrapped up my last bit of writing yesterday with the TB-centric piece for RRP/EN, so I think I’m done with all the actual work stuff. Mostly.

I’m beyond ready for a fun weekend in Kentucky, even if it looks like our odds of getting rained on are fairly high. If you’ll be in attendance keep your eyes peeled for people wearing the Breed.Ride.Compete. logo – come say hi if you see us!

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