This week, a local news station morning show came out to the farm to do a series of segments about Leanne’s lesson program, the show team and boarding at the barn. She had Madi and I come out to go over fences in the background while they talked to her on camera.
But wait – you may remember that Husky has a shoulder injury that prevents him from being jumped, or even ridden well. Ever since the show debacle last weekend, he is on extended rest with very little light riding.
So what were we to do? There were no horses that could be counted on to jump confidently and high enough to be impressive on TV. Did I mention that the segments were live?
Luckily, Leanne’s sister has a great farm just down the road, and was willing to loan out a rather fabulous horse for me to ride. His name is Ean and he’s pretty much a giant. Standing in my boots, the top of my head seemed to be about even with the top of his withers. I’m somewhere in the range of 5’9″-5’10” in my boots, which puts him around 17.1 or 17.2 hh or so. I would guess that Husky is about 15.2 hh, so you can imagine how massive Ean seemed. (Disclaimer: none of these measurements are scientific in the slightest, unless you put a lot of faith in The Eyeball Method. The moral of the story is that Ean is really tall.) I’m not used to reaching so far up to get my saddle on, that’s for sure.
Let me tell you, if you need to hop on a horse for the first time an hour before jumping him on live television, Ean is your guy. He was just a really cool customer. Very relaxed, willing and not excitable. He knows his job, and just how much energy he wants to expend on it. I could point him at a jump, put some leg on to keep the forward impulsion and just enjoy the ride.
So, without further ado, you all should watch the segments because they’re pretty great.
For some reason I can’t get the videos to embed here, so either click the screenshot above or check ’em out at this link (and don’t miss Chip, the host, get a mini-riding lesson on Cuervo; it’s both hilarious and pretty impressive that he picked up the concept of posting so quickly):
It was such a blast! There was a moment when I brought Ean down to a trot to switch leads and he went into this massive extended trot that just felt like we were crossing the length of the arena in about five strides. Once he had locked into the job he got more forward off my leg and really zeroed in on the jumps. We even did some fun bending lines. It was so effortless. Plus I could count his strides and judge my distances really well. This is something I struggle with on Husky, but Ean was so steady and rhythmical it all just clicked together. So. Much. Fun. Even the fact that the arena was sloppy and muddy from the previous night’s rainstorm was fun once we got comfortable with the footing. There’s just something really awesome about splashing around through the mud on horseback.*
Overall the whole morning was super fun, plus I’m so happy that Leanne and her parents get more awareness for the farm, the lesson program and the show team. I’m glad that the whole city (or at least the viewers of the show) got to see a small part of what makes it such a great place to ride.
Plus, Cuervo was clearly meant to be a star, as evidenced by this message on the barn’s chalkboard:
*What is not awesome about riding in mud, however, is trying to wash out your mud-encrusted polo wraps after having to leave them in a hot car all day. They smell terrible and even after rinsing them with a hose and line-drying them, they are stiff with sand embedded in them. Ew.