I rode River today.
His third ride since he left the track.
My second time riding him.
I did it:
And he was perfect.
I'm trying to think of words to describe how I'm feeling... this is about the best I can do: FJDFOIDSFJ0E043%$#@%#@$#@9UFDSA43432!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So yeah. I'm basically quietly spazzing about what a good boy he is. Who knew a recently retired exracehorse could give me so much confidence? I was a little nervous for about 5 seconds, mostly because I was hoping he'd hold still long enough for me to mount and get settled... which he did. Honestly, his worst behavior was lining up at the mounting block, which took a whole two tries.
He is very much an OTTB--going to the right is hard work. He tries, but it takes a lot of work on both our parts to not be awful. But we were able to get a few steps here and there where he wasn't stiff and falling in, so I'm happy. He didn't mind being thumped with my leg to get out. I have no idea how this horse was a good racer. Seriously no clue. I checked his tattoo, he really is River Mountain Rd, winner of 20 races, including a Stakes race, with earnings of $408k. He's also Riv, a lazy backyard pony with a strangely shaped head.
Now that I know he's good about riding bareback, I'll probably start riding him more frequently. I'll try, anyway. It's a lot easier to work up the ambition to ride when all I have to do is put on a helmet and slap on a bridle. I didn't even take the blanket off... not like he's going to get overheated at the walk. I rode my mare, too. It's so easy to ride two horses when you don't have to bother tacking up!
At some point, I'll have to ride him with a saddle, or at least without a blanket between us, if for no other reason so I can use a whip to help get his body where it needs to be. This is a good time of year for all this--the weather is yucky and we don't have an indoor, so we really can't do anything more than walking, but what he needs is lots of walking and bending and suppling. No temptation to skip the necessary stuff and move on to the fun stuff... By the time the weather cooperates and lets us do more, all the boring fundamentals should be pretty well in place.
I am just so so proud of my boy. I don't want to jinx it, just because he's good putzing around doesn't mean he's going to be good when we get to cantering and *gasp* jumping, but so far things look promising. I might be a little biased, but I think I got the best horse on the FLF listings this year... maybe even from any year. He's just such a darn good boy.
(Oh yeah, and his legs are good! No puffiness, and regular applications of Desitin and petroleum jelly are keeping the back of his pasterns from getting yucky.)