Have I mentioned how much I adore him? He is the best horse ever.
Anyways. I decided to take full advantage of his extraordinary abilities and take one of our budding eventers out for a trot set yesterday. Cuna bravely led the way. It didn't matter at all that he is 19 and the horse out for it's first serious work was 8.
We walked all the way to the bottom of the mountain, then turned to come up a different road. (Maybe some time I will take pictures for you... it's pretty cool.) Immediately, Cuna leaped into a canter and jumped a dry creek. The little mare behind us was a smidgen intimidated.
I brought him back to a trot and did my best to keep him in it. The mare stayed with us pretty well. I had my hands full keeping Cuna at a reasonable pace. By "hands full", I mean I had a ton of weight as he used me for balance and plowed ahead. He's a smart horse though. He knows that we walk to the bottom, trot up, walk at the top, then gallop up the next hill.
Since the horse with us seemed to be in reasonably good shape (and I wanted to show her rider a good time), we decided to go ahead with the gallop. Cuna speed-walked to the base of the next big hill, tossing his head and trotting any time I tried to half halt or pick up the reins.
I made sure the other rider was ready at the base of the hill, then picked up my reins.
|Old picture, same idea
Anyone who's ever galloped a thoroughbred knows what happened next. I took a steady contact with Cuna and we both balanced off it. I stayed in balance over his withers, feeling the rhythm of his stride flowing through my whole body. He flew up the hill like it was nothing. As we crested the ridge and took in the mountain range beyond it, I patted him and assured him he was still the best racehorse in the world.
Waiting for the other horse to catch up, I just sat and enjoyed the awesome partnership Cuna and I are developing. He knows where the "finish line" is, so he's perfectly happy to watch the other horse come galloping up. As soon as the mare arrived, he started trucking down the mountain, back to the barn.
He has a big, swinging walk that he uses when he's won the race. It's not just that he's going home. He just enjoys the race.
|Time for a bath.
|Grazing after bath time
I know several of you are going through the same process I just did/am--realizing your current horse isn't right for you (and you for it) and having to move on. I've been there and it sucks and is hard, but let me tell you:
Have the right horse is worth it. Every single bit.
I spent three years with Izzy and I love her. I went through hell with her, several times. I thought she's be with me forever, but she's very, very happy with her new person and I am completely smitten with Cuna--the awesome old guy has been there with me every step of the way. I am quite sure I couldn't have let Izzy go if he hadn't been there, staring at me every second and reminding me that I could be happy and this whole riding thing could be fun.