I rode Gwen twice this week. It seems that she’s been ridden in a “rough and ready” style. She’s not immediately responsive to a leg squeeze, but she is to a kick, and if you cluck or kiss to her you better be ready. She knows that means “go”! Whoever rode her before definitely put a good “whoa” on her. Basically you just stop your seat and she stops. I don’t think she’s ever learned how to move in a relaxed fashion using her topline. She travels inverted, but doesn’t indicate being tense or in pain (though we think she is very stoic, so it’s hard to know for certain). It just seems like that’s how she’s always done it. She definitely has been a lesson horse because she knows the all-important “stop at the gate every time” trick that all lesson horses know. Once she stretches down she has a fantastic walk with a huge overstride! Her trot is a bit quick, but rhythmical. She has a descent amount of suspension. She lifts you out of the saddle, but she’s easy to move with. Her canter on the other hand…well…during the first ride she spent much of the time crow hopping or cantering in place. Not sure why. Maybe it was the saddle. Maybe she was just very confused. Maybe she felt restricted or didn’t want to go forward. She didn’t seem upset and eventually I did manage a bit of canter each way. From what I got, it felt like a rocking horse canter so hopefully it will be comfortable once we work on it.
On the second ride, she already was more responsive to a leg squeeze. She maintained a steadier pace at the trot and she didn’t try to stop EVERY time by the gate. She even though about stretching down a couple of times, but that will come once she really understands what’s being asked of her. I didn’t try canter. I figure I’ll get her steadier and better balanced at walk and trot first and hope that makes the canter a little easier. She is very smart, a quick learner, and LOVES to be told she’s a good girl. Oh…and she was a total camera hog when we went to take pictures. She looked right at the camera with her ears forward. She was very pleased with herself.
P.S. – Earlier this week Debra came out to find that Gwen was not in her field. She was gone! Well, not really gone. Debra did find her in a completely different field. No gates were left open and no fence was down. We can only assume that for some reason she jumped out of her field and into another. Pretty impressive! I’m thinking we have a jumper or event horse here!