"You're riding Enzo today"

Translation: You might die today.

They say great minds think alike, but I get the feeling that insane minds think the same too because Fifi, Lee, and Miss El all thought that it would be a good idea for me to ride Enzo. My cardiorespiratory rate said otherwise. Enzo (formerly named Cloudy) is a rescue. The barn owners have had him since December, and he's come a long way, but he's not all there in the head. Miss El has been training him, and Fifi has ridden him quite a bit and took him to his first show a couple weekends ago. He has his quirks though, quirks that I didn't exactly think I was capable of handling. To put it simply, I could have ruined him, or he was going to ruin me. It was 50/50, either was likely.

Photos by Gina Ellis of Blue Ribbon Photography

Fifi helped me brush him and tack him up. I, with a shaky hand, stiff brushed a layer of dirt and dust that had settled deep into his coat. Apparently he likes to roll. We tack him up, and I get on, and the first thing Miss El says to me is to have light hands . . .

The stirrups were set super long, but Miss El had me walk a couple of laps before adjusting them. I guess today I learned how much I use my hands as opposed to leg and seat. I wanted to stop Enzo so that I could adjust my stirrups, aaaaaand I didn't know how to without applying rein pressure . . . so I applied rein pressure. That got him to stop for all of two seconds but only after a clear dislike of having been pulled on. He walked on, I pulled, he kept walking, I kept pulling, and he got frustrated with me and did a baby rear, so Miss El had me walk to her so she could hold him and I could adjust my stirrups. Commence shame face.

Four raised holes later, I'm back on the rail, two pointing, trying to keep my legs even and my shoulders back. We crossed the diagonal and did a few laps to the right, then Miss El had me trot while still in two point. It was a lot better today than last time. I must admit, however, that Seren's short strides are a bit smoother than Enzo's swooping step. Enzo beats Seren in looks, though.

The first half of today was two-pointing with some circles, then the second half was supposed to be cantering, but that didn't go quite as planned. It started out nice going to the right. The transition wasn't perfect (next time we'll try to canter at least by the corner after C instead of waiting until right before B), but he was actually going around nice and calm, and he has a smooth gait to boot (bonus!). Things went south when I lost my stirrup. He's still not entirely broke, so me trying to get my stirrup back while simultaneously bumping his side caused him to speed up, so I tried to slow him down, but I couldn't, so I tensed up, and that just wasn't pretty. I eventually got him to walk. We took a short, calm down break, then we just trot again, and I had to keep him nice and slow. We went across the diagonal and tried to left lead. He actually stepped right into it, which is great considering it's not his favorite lead, then he broke and switched leads then I couldn't get him to pick up his left lead again.

I asked a bunch of times before we just called it quits on that (I was more likely to teach him a bad habit than get that lead). The rest of the lesson was trot work and 20m circles, and, eventually, after much coaxing, begging, and bribing, he actually stretched down to the bit and relaxed.

So, yeah, I like Enzo. Terror gave way to fondness, and if I'll be riding him as opposed to Seren, I can't complain. I think the only reason I rode him today was because Miss El wanted me to canter, and Seren isn't nice about cantering. I don't really care, and Enzo doesn't seem to mind me riding him so long as I keep my hands and legs quiet. There is much to be learned here.



Riding Enzo today has actually made me reconsider riding Zoey. Enzo is absolutely a safer ride. He was packing me for the most part today as opposed to Zoey, who I am much more tense on. Zoey is greener, that's a given, but I still feel like a gave up on riding her too early. I would like to try her out again, but later, assuming she hasn't been sold, after I've taken some time to fix my hand dependency. I think that would greatly benefit both of us.

Enzo is also for sale.


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