Horse Life

Two Horses is a Game Changer

When I first thought about adding a second horse, I was concerned about a few things, mainly my perpetual shortage of time. P has always been a 6x/week horse and there were days where I had to rush to get him ridden between work and familial obligations. It’s especially time consuming when you board at an amazing barn with amazing people that you just want to talk to.

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But now that I’ve had 2 horses for a little over 8 weeks, I’m loving where I’m at mentally.

Despite the fail pictures/gifs that I routinely post, I’m very much a perfectionist. And exclusively riding P was hard because the only thing P is consistent at is being inconsistent. I’ve joked many times that owning P was the equivalent of owning at least 5 horses, since P is definitely a quad-polar and you never knew which personality you’d get on any given day.

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I will never not laugh at this meme

When P was initially laid up and I started riding other horses (shoutout to especially S, B & C!!), initially I brought a lot of baggage along each ride. I anticipated stopping at jumps, spooking, running off…all things that weren’t really there. And it took awhile for me to stop projecting P on these other horses (it also taught me to appreciate the really good things about P, like ground manners, trailer loading and his gait adjustability). But I learned some new tools and how to separate rides on different horses instead of treating them all the same.

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On his first XC course EVER, S took me right over a jump P had previously gotten us eliminated at
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No helmet cam of B, but he was great to ride at home
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C got me back jumping the bigger things

And that was something I desperately needed to learn before bringing home my very own blank slate. I can’t imagine getting on Leo and riding him the way I ride P. It would’ve been disastrous.

When it was just P & I, P had the power to make or ruin my day. If we had a bad ride, or even a bad part of the ride, I’d lament that I was clearly the worst rider in the world and clearly P was just terrible and clearly I should just never ride again. I’d dwell on it, vent about it to long-suffering Husband, think about it….yes, I’m aware of the ridiculousness.

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But Sunday I realized that no longer seemed to be the case, so I’ll use that day as an example.

Let’s start with a snippet from Leo’s most recent lesson we had on Sunday- first, justlook at that flying change and adjustability and try not to swoon:

Right now we’re working a lot on suppling Leo using inside aids and it’s so cool to feel the lightbulb click on with him. He’s not the most naturally relaxed horse and he gets a little antsy when he doesn’t understand something, but he tries so hard, which is all I can ask for.

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Trying, but just can’t hold it for too long

While the transition leaves A LOT of room for improvement…

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Like erupting from the start gate

…The canter itself is insanely nice.

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And SO comfy

Even when he jumps the groundpole:

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So needless to say, while it wasn’t perfect and everything didn’t majikally fall into place, the lesson on Sunday left me feeling practically giddy over the progress Leo (and I) have made. And when we got back to the barn I pulled P out for his 4th ride of the week- the first week since FEBRUARY that he’s been ridden more than one day of the week.

And…P was less than pleased at this obvious testament that his year-long hiatus was over.

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In other news…after 5 years, P STILL can’t figure out how to buck.

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And while one-horse-KC would’ve been distraught that my ride of the day was spent on the back of Free Willy and not on *real* riding, two-horse-KC let it roll right off her back because she don’t need no Pilgrim to make her happy anymore.

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mmmm-hmmmmm *snaps fingers*

For me, that’s a HUGE win. The mental part of riding has always been my nemesis. If things didn’t go to plan, I was a mess. And we all know how well horses and plans mix…

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About as well as my plan to put just one stride in between these jumps went…

But because everything hinged on the one horse I owned and rode, I put too much pressure on myself and on the horse. Which surely didn’t help us get further any faster.

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Story of my life

So while I’m still a work in progress, on Sunday afternoon, when I found myself laughing about P’s shenanigans instead of overthinking, I realized that FINALLY…I might just be on the right track.

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Proof P had some good moments. Building back up muscle is hard, yo

 

 

27 thoughts on “Two Horses is a Game Changer”

  1. Well crap I don’t think I can handle four horses so I have two to ride…I definitely have an issue with putting pressure on Maestro and I and where we should be. I’m trying to give Maestro a chance while at the same time trying to decide if he would do better with someone else which is a struggle in itself. I’ve never sold a horse (my parents sold P against my wishes) so it’s hard to imagine. Thanks for providing some perspective to think on.

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    1. That’s such a hard decision! I attempted to sell P (using someone else) and it was really hard to come to that conclusion. You don’t want to give up but at the same time, sometimes it’s just not meant to be and there’s nothing wrong with that

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  2. I LOVE THIS. And I’m so psyched for you. And I also relate real hard. It’s so nice to arrive at that mental place where you can laugh at one horse’s shenanigans and not have it be something that totally kills your day. Yay for Leo being a Saint and P’s antics no longer being a Thing!

    Also, serious LOL to the note about going to the barn for an hour.

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  3. OMG this is SO great!! I can just see P’s wheels spinning and he’s like “wait, why isn’t she mad about this?” Who would have thought two horses was the answer? AND that the baby would be the easy one????

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    1. I NEVER would’ve thought this would be a side effect of having two. If anything, I expected the opposite- where I’d go all psycho Type A on both of them 😂😂

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  4. I am not going to lie, part of me is DYING for a second horse. Just a green prospect would be great. (A friend of mine recently got one in the barn, and I am trying not to get all grabby hands haha). Even though May is great, sometimes I just want to sit on something DIFFERENT. You know?

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  5. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and the pressure I can put on Spicy because he’s the ONLY one I have… and when he’s naughty and I can’t ride I don’t have another horse to distract myself with.

    For some reason sara is not on board the two horse idea WHO COULD BELIEVE IT 😛

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    1. It sucks because with one horse, you have all this time to devote to them and damnit, they DON’T EVEN APPRECIATE IT. Having a difficult horse as the only horse is definitely tough because if it’s a bad ride, then that’s it for the day. I totally get it.

      C’mon Sara! I can send Husband to talk to her…I’m sure he’d love to cry on someone’s shoulder at this point 😂😂

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  6. Awww I love this post! Leo certainly looks like a really good egg, and it looks like you two are coming along together really really well. Super exciting seeing your guys’ new journey ❤ And P is just extra. Times 4 LOLOLOL But I agree – at least he really doesn't know how to buck! LOL

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    1. Leo is a good guy- sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s only 5 and right off the track because he’ll act super mature, then have this random meltdown, then be totally fine. And P is always extra- I suppose it’s a reason to love him though!

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  7. Leo is so dreamy it kills me. also that’s a huge advantage of having multiple horses — how in a way it has the ability to reduce the negative stress associated with things not going perfectly. all my eggs are likewise in just one basket and it definitely can have a deep impact when things don’t go well.

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    1. I really hadn’t thought that this would be an effect of having 2 and realizing how much it’s helped me just put things in perspective has been great. On the flip side, Leo’s ground manners are still a work in progress and the day the temp dropped 20 degrees, it took me 15 minutes to walk him to his pasture. Much rearing and spinning was happening. Then I got P and he just toodled along beside me. So even things like that are pretty evenly balanced and it’s totally helped my mindset overall

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