Anyways. I was and am catch riding where I can, but since the weather has been lovely, most people are riding their own horses.
One of Stephanie's clients has her own place in addition to keeping her show/training horses with us. She is rehabbing poor Zymon (of broken patella and EN fame) at her house. Saturday, she mentioned that she has an old, experienced eventer just sitting around and would be happy to bring him out for me to ride and take Izzy back to her place to hang for a bit. Because I am ridiculous, I told her I would think about it.
I went home, took a nap, then smacked myself in the head. WHAT AM I THINKING? I COULD FRICKING RIDE A TRAINED HORSE FOR FREE WHILE IZZY GETS THE BEST OF CARE FOR FREEEEEE!!!!!!!
I called her and said I would do it as long as the horse didn't buck excessively, rear, or bolt uncontrollably.
Meet Cuna. (Koo-nah. Koo-nah.) He's a 19 year old OTTB gelding who doubles as a novice level packer and would like to be an eq horse. He's spent the past few summers leased out to teenagers and packing them around. This winter, he was just hanging out in the field.
Don't let his fuzzy face deceive you--this boy is taller than Izzy and way more bony. No warmblood meatiness here.
His owner got on first and rode him around. This was his first time back under saddle in three months. She trailered him to a new place, saddled up in a strange barn, took him to an arena he'd never seen before, and just hopped on.
And he was fine. A little looky, never spooked, not silly. They walked, trotted, and cantered both ways and even hopped over a couple of little crossrails. It wasn't high quality work by any means--the old man needs some time to recondition and loosen up--but he was sane and sound.
Here they are, going around and doing a tiny jump. Cuna was a trooper about the whole thing. I hopped on after his owner to see how I liked him. Answer: the only thing he could have done for me not to like him at that point was pitch me headlong into the ground with no warning. Instead, he merrily went along, walk, trot, canter, and tiny jump (OMG I JUMPED SOMETHING!!!!) and was a good boy.
I thanked his owner profusely, then took Mr. Cuna back to the barn and shaved off all his hair and pulled his mane. Awww. Isn't he cute?
He was super to work around. Very quiet, very much a been-there-done-that kind of guy.
Izzy kept giving me the evil eye. I think mareface had a slight inkling something was up and this wasn't just another clip job for a client.
We made the switch. I packed up Izzy's stuff and ugard and she was off to her month long stay at what I told her was essentially a day spa. She'll have her own box stall at night and a little run to hang out in during the day.
In the mean time, Cuna's hanging out with me. I miss seeing Izzy's face in her stall in the morning, but Cuna is plenty cute in his own way. I'm taking advantage of my time with him to learn to ride and jump better than before, so when I get Izzy back, I'll be more the rider she needs.
Not gonna lie--I am having little fantasies about keeping them traded for the summer. Cuna could pack me around BN and N while Izzy learned the show ropes with a much more experienced rider. There are a ton of reasons why that won't work out, but it's a fun idea.