Test Ride 1 on Harley

Today I tried out the horse I’m considering for lease, Harley.  I know I can’t be picky because I would only be part leasing him, but the barn he’s boarded at left something to be desired.  I think I’m so used to riding at fairly plush barns, when I stray a little to the “backyard barn” side of things I get a little shock.

Anyway, small rings, and slightly dingy barn aside, it was nice to see him in person.  My first impression was that he was super fuzzy (his owner said that when he’s in a more consistent riding schedule she’ll clip him).  His general personality was kind hearted but with  lot of pent up energy.  His owner just doesn’t have the time to ride him as much as he should be ridden and that’s where the lease comes in.

At first she hopped on him and warmed up a bit walk, trot, canter, circles, etc.  She warned me that he might be a little frisky after having two days off, but he looked pretty good.  Next it was my turn to get on and test him out.  Initial thoughts: he’s chunky (chunkier than Angel at least), he wiggles a bit, he gets fairly distracted if you don’t keep his attention at all times, he has pretty sweet walk to canter transitions.  

After putting him through his paces she set up some ground poles, then a cross rail, and then a vertical.  He was pretty good with the cross rail.  He’s a point and shoot kind of ride to the jumps so long as you’re ready to ride whatever you’re telling him to go for.  For example, you want to go for the flyer, you better believe he’ll take it and you have to be ready.  Hold for the distance and he waits.

Once we went up to the vertical things got a little iffy.  In part I’m blaming it on the poles used.  In the indoor they had the super lightweight plastic (pvc?) hollow poles.  Not good.  He kept knocking it down and wasn’t learning.  Wood is so much better because a horse knocks it once and chances are he won’t knock it again.  I would push out of his sticky corner and try to go for a little longer and he would land super heavy on his forehand.  Then, I would try to steady and hold it and he would get over it but knock it down again.  I really think it was a jump issue rather than him.  However, he was getting pretty excited with the jumping and threw some baby bucks on landing.  I did fall off during one of his antics but for some reason I still have hope for this.

Despite a couple issues that need fixing, I feel like this has the potential to be a good relationship.  His flatwork will definitely allow me to focus on myself, and I really want to do some jumping exercises to get him to jump up and land calmly.  I’m very hopeful. I’m going to try him again on Thursday and then I’ll make my decision.  His owner did say she had one other person come out and try him, so I don’t know if there will be conflict there….

Tomorrow I hear about college!!!!!

-Val

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Test Ride 1 on Harley

  1. Sounds like the lease has promise, can you take a few lessons on him? Maybe that would help work out the kinks

    • Val

      I would continue lessons at my old barn, but this lease would just be an opportunity for more riding to help me and test working out things on my own.

  2. you’re brave getting back on after falling off!! good luck

  3. I second taking some lessons on him – since leasing him would mean you moving to a different barn I think getting information on the riding instructor at this facility and taking a lesson or watching some of her lessons would also be a deciding factor for chosing to lease this horse. Good for you for getting back on after your fall too!

    • Val

      I would still remain at my original barn, just add Harley on top of it. Also, the girl who owns him is not the owner of the facility, she just started boarding Harley there recently. It’s a little complicated because I didn’t give every detail in my blog posts…

  4. Its hard to judge a horse by one ride.. I bet after a few rides and he’s in consistent work, things will get better.

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