Next Best Thing

Once Fuego turned up lame, I was unsure who I'd be riding (or if I could even ride) for my lesson. By chance, one of Trainer T's long-time boarders decided that she wanted her horse used in lessons again. She doesn't ride or handle him much, so it'd be a win/win for everyone. The horse was actually boarded at my old barn for a couple of months. According to my trainer, the owner left because the care was terrible.

Gunner is a stout Quarter Horse gelding. His manners on the ground aren't that great, but that probably has to do with limited handling beyond going to and from the pasture. He was used in lessons in the past before the owner changed her mind. The lesson went pretty well, and I'm considering leasing him. The only drawback is that I can truly only afford to ride once per week in addition to lessons, so I'd have to stop riding Fuego weekly. Just something I'm thinking about and not a commitment at this point.

I brought my saddle with me this time. When I dropped by the day before, I noticed that the one adult sized saddle that Trainer T has didn't have the stirrups on it. I know myself. I know that I did not want to put stirrups back on a saddle at 7:30am. So I took my saddle and made it work. It wasn't the best fit on Gunner, and I definitely gave him some leeway once we got going.

My biggest focus on him was keeping him in between my aids. Trying to keep this horse moving straight between my hands and legs was a hefty task, to say the least. He's very wiggly and not soft in the mouth. His head was either tucked too far in or straight out with his jaw locked. He reminded me a lot of my first ride on Liberty where I could not get her to soften for the life of me. He's already in a French link D-ring, but perhaps a slightly different mouthpiece would make a difference. It did get better as the ride went on. He just needs some rust dusted off.

Trainer T told me that he's pretty straightforward on the flat. The only vice she mentioned was that he can sometimes lose balance in the corners when cantering right and might swap out his lead. I kept it in mind and encouraged forward movement and straightness. Some clucks and a solid outside leg encouraged him to keep the lead, even if it got a bit quick. I gave him plenty of praise because he was genuinely being a good boy in between the crow hops.

He also jumped around like an absolute prince and didn't put a foot wrong. We even did some tight turns that I previously wouldn't have even felt confident attempting.

Again, not sure if this guy will pop up again on the blog, but even if he doesn't, it was fun while it lasted!


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