Jenn hasn’t blogged for a while, but she has been extremely active in her role as Frankie’s fairy godmother. We finally got her down for a visit so she could hop on and play around with him, and here’s what she had to say!
Greetings blog land! It’s been a minute since you heard from me last, but I need to share my firsthand experience of riding Franklin(/Frankie/Francis/To Be Frank) when I visited Olivia and her roommate last weekend.
I was super excited to re-meet Francis, since I had only briefly seen him go when Olivia tried him for the first time. We both loved him from the first minute, but I (obviously) didn’t get to sit on him that weekend, and the trial ride wasn’t terribly long. So when Olivia told me I could flat Frankie around during my visit, I was really excited! He’s probably one of the nicest horses I’ve sat on, and while I love me some Roger, I was really looking forward to getting a feel for Olivia’s horse-child.
Olivia hopped on him first for approximately 6 minutes, and then we jacked up the stirrups and I climbed aboard. Though he’s 17h, I don’t think he rides quite that large. In other words, I don’t feel like an ineffective munchkin sitting on him, although I’m sure I looked like one!
Frankie is suuuuuuuper wiggly at the walk, which is surprising, given his training level and age, so that took a minute to get used to. The wiggly walk is almost comical, because it’s definitely NOT indicative of his trot or canter. I picked up the trot, and once I got used to the forwardness, it was really fun! Frankie definitely has a metronome trot, and is easily adjustable with a half-halt or a tiny spur. Homeboy can go all day every day at the same speed, and will only stop when you tell him to, but you don’t feel like he’s running away with you either.
While I was figuring him out, I was able to get some nice work out of him in a frame, and I wish we had gotten video of it because it felt amazing! He needs a little help in the corners with keeping that shoulder where it belongs, but other than that, Frankie is really fun to trot around.
I brought him back down to a walk, and then Olivia advised me about how best to pick up the correct canter lead…basically, just set him up with a little haunches-in and inside bend, and outside leg, and BOOM correct lead. I made sure to ask in the corner just for some added help, but Frankie was totally on point and we got the correct leads both times. Olivia says he’s slightly weaker to the right, but Frankie isn’t green or inexperienced by any stretch of the imagination and once I picked up the canter I couldn’t tell which side was slightly weaker.
Now, I adore Roger’s canter and think it’s really comfortable, but ohhhh man, Frankie might give Roger a run for his money. Frankie’s canter is super easy to sit and covers a lot of ground, but again, you never feel like you’re getting run away with, or like he’s unbalanced or flailing around. I can see what Olivia means by easily seeing distances from his canter; you can set a metronome to it and you’d always know where you were in the ring, and while I didn’t jump him at all, I can see how he’s easy and fun to jump around with that lovely canter.
Francis is a super fun guy; totally willing to do whatever you ask and will stay in cruise control in whatever gait unless he’s told otherwise. He’s definitely NOT spooky or easily distracted, and he loves attention and will stand cross-tied forever if you let him. He has great muscling and is SO SHINY, and he’s totally a love bug…Olivia jokes that he’s the horse version of a golden retriever.
I’m really glad I got the chance to hop on Frankie, and I can’t wait to hear about their show at HITS this weekend!