Thursday, May 8, 2014

Just Jack

I haven't done as much with Jack as I should have.

Aside from teaching him how to rock a fabulous hat, of course.  That's a life skill.

It's not that I don't like Jack, he's a really good guy. He has a great personality, he's pretty clever (when motivated) and he's eager to please. He loves to just hang out with us in the backyard and have snacks and maybe a beer or two.  He fits in pretty perfectly with our little family.

But, I find him boring to ride. He's a good boy, but he's green. Riding Jack means working on basic steadiness and contact and rhythm and all that humdrum stuff. It's just not as fun as riding Spider. 

Spider and I have been partners for nearly a decade. We know each other. We've trained each other perfectly, and that makes our rides together easy. Well, maybe "easy" isn't the right word... Spider is not an easy ride, but that makes him interesting. Jack doesn't know enough to be interesting yet. 

A friend of mine came over to ride Jack the other day. She has a 3 yr old filly of her own that she's bringing along very nicely, so I figured she'd find Jack a lot more interesting than I do. Plus, she exercises track horses and rides OTTBs, so she's familiar with that aspect of his training, too. 

Jack was perfect, as I expected he would be. In the year I've owned him, he's only misbehaved once under saddle, which is pretty good for a 3 yr old. I was happy to see how nicely he moves under saddle, too. I'd never seen him ridden before. He's going to be spectacular once he's stronger and fully trained. 

Hopefully I'll learn to take better pictures between now and then.

So, as I watched her ride, I was kvetching about how boring it is to ride babies, and my friend said, "No it isn't. You're building a foundation."

Dammit! She's right. 

When I first got Spider, we did so many circles that I thought my brain might fall out. We spent our first two years together working on basic steadiness and contact and rhythm and all that humdrum stuff. I had forgotten all about those first years. Nearly a decade later, I am reaping the benefits of that boring foundation. But Spider won't last forever and, whether I like it or not, I have to train his replacement up from nothing. 

I actually swore that, after Spider, I would never again buy a horse that wasn't trained to at least 2nd Level. But I'm a sucker for a chestnut, and a sucker for a sweetheart, and a sucker for a great-grandson of Secretariat, and just generally a huge sucker and here we are.

Also, Jack's snip is in the shape of an "S", which is my first initial.  It's not the best reason to choose a horse, but I'm not really known for my rational and pragmatic decisions, either.

So now, when Jack and I are going around in our mind numbing circles trying to find his balance and I feel like my brains are going to melt out of my ears, I amuse myself (and keep the tempo) by chanting the wise words of my friend:

"We're building a foundation. We're building a foundation. We're building a foundation...."


  1. It's not glamorous, but it's essential. I sometimes have to remind myself that if I want to ride my horse inside leg to outside rein and feel him be through and connected, then I'm going to have to keep plugging away at it. He's not going to learn overnight and I can't afford a fancy trainer.

  2. I LOVE this post!!!!! I'm finding riding a green horse boring as well so I'll have to take up the chant!! Oh and I guess Jack just goes to show we should never say never hehehehe! I kind of like your rationale though. Cute snip!!!!!


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