Kick Ride or Nah?

I had totally forgotten about this, but someone recently reminded me that Frankie was used in a few ammy lessons while I was out of town a few months back. And I only just found out that the person riding him in one of these lessons struggled over some of the jumps.

Of course my first reaction was to worry that my horse had done something bad (which would be very out of character), so I started apologizing to her. Luckily, she quickly reassured me that he didn’t offer any misbehavior, she was just caught by surprise. I’ll paraphrase what she said here:

“From when I’ve seen you riding, I expected Frankie to be a really forward ride to the jumps. So when we got to a crossrail and he lurched over it from a crawl, I was totally caught off guard and got unbalanced. I didn’t expect him to need so much leg to the jump.” To which my trainer responded, “Any of that energy is entirely rider-generated, he doesn’t really think to go anywhere.”

First off, I totally can’t blame her for struggling. Frankie lurches something awful over the smaller jumps and it can be really hard to stay with the motion. It’s much much much easier to go with him over the bigger jumps as he puts more effort in.

We also had one of our Pony Moms up on Frankie for a quick ride recently- he was PERFECT for her and I’m def gonna be pressuring her into doing some pleasure classes with him next fall because seriously #adorable. Trainer saw her riding and smiling about Frankie being so good, and laughed, “He’s lazy, right?”

So it got me thinking. I usually think of Frankie as a fairly forward ride- he’s got a nice open stride and I never have to kick to keep him going, even if he isn’t hot or “up” by any stretch of the imagination (HAH!).

But. We do like to find a spot to get a gallop going before our first fence. And we focus a lot on sitting back and driving up out of the corners.Β  And he does require a lot of support from my leg to remind him that he needs to put some effort in. He’s a tattletale when it comes to effort: he will always go to the jump, but the quality of his effort directly correlates to the amount of work his rider is doing. Balanced, clear aids + strong leg = shmancy powerful Francis. Weak/nonexistent aids + no leg = strung out, lurchy Francis. It’s very easy to tell when I’m not supporting him like I need to.

jump_lurch
Exhibit A: Not a crappy spot. But I took my leg off so it was a crappy jump.
jump_better
Exhibit B: Tight distance with a swap off- crappy spot. But a little leg made him press across the jump better- not a crappy jump.

So I wouldn’t really call him a “kick ride” ORΒ  a “woah ride.” I’d call him a “leg ride.” As long as my leg is on and present, we can ask for forward and receive it. And the more fit he gets and the stronger my leg is able to be, the more “spice” we are getting to the jumps- I’m starting to feel him really lock on and carry me up to it. This is pretty much my ideal ride at this point in my riding career- having a blast galloping up to the jumps while feeling very safe knowing that Frankie will always coast to a stop when asked. He’s truly a confidence booster and teacher in the best possible way.

What’s your favorite kind of ride?

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21 thoughts on “Kick Ride or Nah?

  1. Centered in the Saddle 02/06/2017 / 11:25 am

    THAT is my favorite kind of ride! I don’t like the super forward ones as much if they don’t have the proper whoa. I guess if I had to pick, I’d go with a kick ride because I have more experience with them and find that one good kick or kick/crop combo clears up the issue and they tend to become much more responsive to the leg.

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  2. Tracy - Fly On Over 02/06/2017 / 11:50 am

    I’m not great at adding leg over the top of the jump — something I need to work on!

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  3. rooth 02/06/2017 / 12:14 pm

    Both of mine are VERY forward rides and it is extremely different when I ride a horse who is a leg ride. I need to put leg on for support and to emphasize what I’m asking for, which is honestly really refreshing. It’s a confidence booster for me!

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  4. KateRose 02/06/2017 / 12:33 pm

    I am riding my first kickride ever, and I honestly love it so much. I’m kind of a wimp so knowing that I can stop anytime is such a nice feeling. The way my legs feel after a lesson? Not a nice feeling πŸ˜›

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  5. shelbyrallen 02/06/2017 / 12:37 pm

    I prefer the go ride. Cross-country is a lot more fun when you know they’re looking for the next fence and are definitely going forward to it!

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    • hellomylivia 02/06/2017 / 3:33 pm

      Oooh I’m sure on XC you DEF want a pony you don’t need to convince!!

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  6. Allison Stitzinger 02/06/2017 / 1:39 pm

    I think Frankie is pretty much the perfect ride! Respectful and responsive to your aids, goes when asked, but not a runaway freight train. Dino is deeeeefinitely a kick ride to the max, but once he gets revved up and we’re coasting along, he’s a little zippy sports car! But a sports car I can stop and drop the reins on at any time without dying. Managing a ‘whoa ride’ can be super exhausting – I’m definitely better at motivating the lazy ones!

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    • hellomylivia 02/06/2017 / 3:35 pm

      I’m in full agreement that Frankie is the perfect ride hahaha πŸ˜€
      Frankie is like Dino in needing some time to rev up into “zippy” mode- I think he likes to wait and see if he aaaactually needs to spend the energy

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  7. Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily 02/06/2017 / 1:48 pm

    I like to think I prefer the forward ride….that could just be because mine is a total kick ride and sometimes I just want someone to carry me to the fence :). But if it came down to it, my wimpy self would be scared of the “go.”

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    • hellomylivia 02/06/2017 / 3:35 pm

      I’m in a very similar boat- I want something I don’t have to kick, but also EASY THERE NOT TOO MUCH

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  8. Abby F 02/07/2017 / 12:11 am

    I like a very forward ride. I want the horse to really take me to the jump. I’m not good at creating energy. I do much better controlling it, haha!

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    • hellomylivia 02/08/2017 / 8:57 am

      Definitely makes those bigger jumps come up easier πŸ™‚

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  9. Stacie Seidman 02/11/2017 / 10:49 pm

    I like a bit of a kick ride myself. I really don’t like when they take over a few strides out. I’d much rather keep pushing up to the jump. On the other hand, I also don’t like one that completely stalls if you sink into your heel for a step. (Looking at you Jamp…)
    I bet for someone shorter, Frankie is a bit of a kick ride. I’m always just a little envious of you long legged riders that can just wrap right around! You’re so generous to share your boy!

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    • hellomylivia 02/15/2017 / 10:41 am

      I may have missed out on the pony years, but these legs do come in handy sometimes haha

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  10. NDchick1 03/11/2017 / 3:32 pm

    I have a weaker (and short!) leg, so I definitely prefer a GO ride. I prefer to adjust down than continuously have to rev up. To be fair, I’ve never been on a forward horse that I was afraid would run off with me.

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