Part 1: Horses in the Morning
Mondays are usually a bit of a drag for most people. I don’t really mind them because I like my job, and traffic from Orange County to LA is lighter on a Monday.
This Monday was exciting for two reasons: 1. I got to be a guest on the radio show Horses in the Morning on Horse Radio Network and 2. I got to ride my new horse!
Last week I heard a listener call in and speak to Glenn and Jamie, the hosts of Horses in the Morning, all about the recent Central Park Horse Show. The caller shared the highlights of the event and painted a picture that made me have a general sense of what it was like, from the exhibition polo match to freestyle dressage, to Georgina Bloomberg winning the Grand Prix.
I surprised myself and sent an email to Glenn a few days later and said if he was interested, I’d be happy to talk about my experience at the Longines LA Masters, as I would be attending all weekend on behalf of Sidelines.
I heard back from the show. They were interested. Then I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I worried that I would mispronounce a name of one of the European riders. I don’t speak French. I worried that I would not be able to remember the winners for all the classes and other horse show statistics.
In short, I worried that I would sound dumb.
As I get older, I realize it’s good to try new things and put yourself in a position where you have a high likelihood to make a fool out of yourself. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I went on the show and it was actually very fun. The hosts were personable and didn’t ask me hard questions like, “Which rider placed 7th in the City of LA Trophy class and what kind of horse was he/she riding?” We talked about the grandeur of the show and who Glenn and Jamie’s celebrity crushes are. I felt like I was chit chatting with old friends. I got to give a quick re-cap of my Hollywood ride article in the October issue of Sidelines, and take a minute to tell about my horse.
My mom, dad and sister listened to the show and thought it was great (but they’re VERY biased).
You can hear more about the LA Masters event by clicking here. The show is about 90 minutes. I think I come in around the 1 hour point.
Part 2: Knight
So, I’m fresh back from the barn and have great news to report: Knight is amazing!
When I tried him I knew right when I rode from the mounting block into the arena that I thought I wanted him; when he cantered I was sold.
Yesterday after the LA Masters I raced back to the OC, played with the dogs a few minutes, changed into barn clothes and rushed out to see my new horse! He was contentedly munching hay. I brushed him with one of my two old brushes I still have from before. I don’t own a hoofpick or even a lead rope at this point. I have three girths and two Mattes pads, but zero hoofpicks. Go figure.
A shopping trip is in order this weekend!
It was dark and not many people were around so I didn’t want to ride alone since we’re still new to each other. I hand walked him 15 minutes and he was better behaved than my dogs. He just clip clopped alongside me and pricked his ears forward from time to time. A baby bunny shot out from the shadows and he didn’t even acknowledge it.
I met a man hand walking a small chestnut horse. He proudly introduced me to his faithful companion of 30 years. “I bought him when he was 4. He’s now 34. I walk him once or twice a day every day. I make sure he’s getting enough water. He’s got a good appetite, I just want to make sure he’s drinking enough. I always look to see that there’s a small splash underneath his waterer.”
I met a woman probably in her 60s who introduced me to her black pony. “I always wanted a pony as a girl and I never had one. Until three years ago when I bought her.”
And this is what I’ve missed about having a horse. Gentle, unhurried people who come to tuck their horses in at night. And the conversations that spring forth during the tucking in hour.
Tonight I rode Knight for the first time at home. It was dusk. My trainer made a special trip to the barn to help me ensure all my tack was fitting properly and lend a little moral support since we’re a new “couple.”
She had ridden him yesterday and said he was great. Quiet, willing, no spooks.
I climbed the mounting block, hopped on, and settled in. We walked to the arena and a woman was in there with her turned out horse. She grabbed her halter and the horse shot across the arena, savoring his freedom.
And Knight just stood.
The little bunny came back and sat about 20 feet away, twitching its ear back and forth.
Either Knight was aware and unconcerned or he was clueless there was a terrifying rabbit yards away.
I walked him into the ring and circled around and he just went. Then I made some figures. Those were decent. On to the trot, very forward, but when I posted intentionally slower, he adjusted. More circles and change of direction. No biggie.
And then we cantered. Rhythmically, quietly, smoothly.
“I love his canter,” my trainer said. “And he’s really pretty and has a great attitude.”
“He doesn’t feel green,” I noted. “He just kind of goes. I can’t believe he’s only 7. And an ex racehorse. I don’t see how he could have raced. He’s so calm. Do you think he has a personality? He’s so quiet I’m not getting much.”
“He’s sweet. And he probably hasn’t had his own people before. He’ll come out of his shell. He’s still getting used to everything here.”
So this is the end of my blog post but the beginning of a new story. Thank you for sharing this journey with me and I’ll report back soon!