The lease horse, Elie, is a pretty, bay OTTB (Off the track Thoroughbred). She’s small, standing about 15.2h, but is well put together. The mare was antsy in the cross ties as all her buddies were taken out to pasture, but she wasn’t ill-behaved. Actually very pleasant to brush and pick out feet.
The owner told me that the mare hasn’t been worked in about 10 months. I was expecting airs above the ground.
We tacked her up, and the owner lunged her for a few short minutes to see how the horse was going to behave. The mare was excited, but not unruly.
So the owner hopped on and put the mare through her paces. I could see the mare was stiff (expected after 10 months off), and a bit bracey/hollow.
So then I got on. We had to wrap the stirrup leathers twice, plus put the buckle toward the top holes. I get so embarrassed having to do that.
My friggin’ dwarf legs! Ha.
I get the horse walking forward. The horse is very stiff. Tighter muscles on the left. She was jazzed up after the owner had cantered her, but listening well. I asked her to trot and we took off in a lopsided, odd canter with lots of head flinging. So I brought her back down to walk and tried again with less leg and she picked up a nice trot.
I think the owner likes her to go slower than the mare is actually built for… just a general impression. And the mare has a weird way of holding her head and slightly ducking behind the contact. Which is at odds with her barging into the bit when you ask for a downward tran or a halt. So she’s not quite comfortable with the bit, nor with seeking the contact, right now. I think part of that is lack of muscles and stiffness.
And last impression, the mare was happy to calmly walk around on a loose rein. She was overreactive to some aids, but not hot (bouncing off the ceiling) like I assumed she’d be after 10 months off. The mare has an odd way of tuning out some aids while being overly dramatic about others. Oh, and she doesn’t understand the outside rein at all.
Over all, this lease horse is AWESOME! I didn’t want to get off the horse, and I can’t wait to go ride her again. Once I get her back in shape and loosened up some, I think she’ll be even more fun.
After riding the lease horse I swung by and saw Ava. She was happily eating hay in her stall. The sun was shining in on her (it was barely 50 degrees so the sun felt good). I hand grazed her for a while and we walked around the barn a bit.