introducing scottie

I don’t want to talk about swine flu, or Bellboy’s death, so instead I will talk about Scottie. He’s a big dark bay ex-racehorse at the barn. I’ve ridden him twice now and it’s clear from what Erin and Michelle said during these lessons that he’s considered a hothead with a hard mouth.

For once in my life I think my misspent childhood on genuinely hotheaded horses with mouths like cast lead is paying dividends. Scottie is such a sweetie that even when he’s feeling his oats I can feel exactly where I need to apply pressure for a double downward transition. He’s anxious, but it’s mostly anxiety to please. I can’t quite bend him around my still-fairly-noodly lower leg, or get him into a consistent frame, but it sure is fun trying.

We’re spending the month of December working on the flat, to spare the horses’ legs and improve our seats. So today Michelle had us ride a course over poles on the ground. It was intriguing; exactly the same bending lines and careful approaches as an actual course with jumps, and with none of the carefully sat-on terror involved in piloting a thousand-pound animal through the air.

I haven’t jumped Scottie yet, it occurs to me, so all kinds of jests and japes doubtless lie in my future. But I haven’t seen him do anything silly or mean yet, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep my confidence and continue riding him with tact.

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