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Paris Ride 1: Off to a Flying Start

December 7, 2009


Sunday, 12/6/09

As I watched the strapping Holsteiner mare performing an intricate series of leaping, crowhopping, kicking, and sunfishing on the longe line, I wondered if I could stay in the saddle for even one of those maneuvers. The big bay must have read my thoughts, because she strung together a particularly creative repertoire, slinging her graceful neck downward as she rolled into an uphill canter, punctuated by gigantic bucks; my friend looked like a big game fisherman grappling with a marlin. The mare’s powerful frame proved too much to hold and the longe line slipped out of my friend’s hands and trailed behind as the mare rounded the turn of the arena and headed back to the barn at a graceful hand gallop. We followed, calling out to the unsuspecting folks back at the barn to beware of the loose horse and laughing at how many times we have chased loose horses down this same path so many times before.

Her name is Paris and she belongs to my friend. Over the past few weeks, she had not been ridden much so it was expected that she would play a bit on the longe line, but when she plays, she plays hard! She may be playful, but she is also a sensible sort, and she slipped into her paddock before being apprehended and brought back out to the arena. Playtime was over and Paris willingly returned to work, trotting on command and stretching her topline on the circle.

We brought Paris into the indoor arena and I watched my friend ride her. She has been trained to be a show hunter, but judging by the way she moves, I’m sure she would excel at many disciplines. She has a powerful hind end, and it acts as an engine, propelling her frame in a seriously impressive trot. The mare exhibits the delightful warmblood work ethic and I could see her rounding her topline and accepting contact through the reins.

I put my saddle on her (it miraculously appears to fit!) and mounted up. Although she is out of shape, I could feel how naturally supple and balanced she is. She is wonderfully responsive to leg and hand. She did not seem to respond as much to my seat. “Leg yield?” I asked and she responded with a “Yes, ma’am”. At the trot, she has a wonderful rhythm and natural balance. Like many horses (Alibar was the exception), Paris is softer to the left than to the right. As we trotted, I did a little work on getting her on my inside leg and outside rein by counting to four and squeezing my inside rein on four, keeping my outside rein steady the whole time. 1-2-3-squeeze, release, 1-2-3-squeeze. Paris responded more on the left rein than the right. I kept the trot work to a minimum due to her lack of fitness.

I dismounted and walked her outside as a cooldown. Sometime during her longeing escapade or during her ride, she lost a shoe. Argh! This means I’ll have to wait until the farrier visits before I get to ride her again.

What a lovely mare. This is going to be fun.

One Comment leave one →
  1. anita permalink
    December 12, 2009 1:08 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes as it reminded me of the first ride Attila and I had together. Although I did not have your knowledge of the discipline, I could feel what I could not name.

    Thanks for sharing this, Sarah.

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