Introducing the Handsomest Pony!!

As you all know, a few weeks ago I had The Talk with my trainer, and we decided to go on a search for my very own unicorn. We very quickly found a super cute chestnut, and just as quickly realized that while he was a FANTASTIC pony, he wasn’t our pony.

So the search continued.

And we found Frankie.

I won’t even keep you in suspense: Frankie is perfectly perfect in every way. I’m totally not biased or anything, that’s just scientific fact.

frankie_smile
Happy pony has the sweetest face!!!
He’s a 10 year old Oldenburg x TB, 17hh, dark bay without a single bit of chrome (and it looks like his summer coat has some lovely dapples), and I LOVE HIM. 

  

  
He’s been a foxhunter for a couple years a.k.a. SUPER brave and nonchalant about everything, and has been doing some lower level eventing lately. We think he’s going to be the perfect jumper.

Side note to the eventers out there: do you know the name Phyllis Dawson? She went to the Olympics for the U.S. back in the day. She’s the one that sold us Frankie, and she called him a “jumping machine.” So yeah, no big deal, an Olympian just called my boy a jumping machine. Super casual.

On the flat, he’s super duper comfortable. He could use a bit more polish before we step into the eq ring, but he’s very willing to do whatever I ask of him. He really gets swinging beautifully over his back in the canter and is very easy to leg up into the bridle. He also has the rhythm of a metronome- you could seriously set your watch to the consistency of his stride.

frankie_trot
Covering SO MUCH GROUND

frankie_canter
I don’t know if you can tell, but this is on a pretty loose rein. I think we’re gonna be able to do the eq just fine.

Which makes it really easy to see a distance on him. It doesn’t matter what the jump looks like or how high it is, he approaches it with the same steady stride. Which is a POWERFUL stride- even when I got tight to a one stride, he powered out with very little assistance from me. He’s a little rusty on his changes- because he’s been a foxhunter, he’s never really been asked for them- but I got a couple and I don’t think it’ll be a problem to install them. He’s got the brain, the balance, and the muscle.

frankie_combo
Like, SUPER nonchalant about this oxer. Which was out of a one-stride combo.

frankie_chip
Because I am an ammy, I totally buried him to the base of this big wide 3’3″ oxer. And then accidentally jabbed him in the side with my spurs. How did he react? By jumping it without a problem, landing and loping away, and giving me a clean lead change. Homeboy does not hold a grudge.
He’s also a big sweetheart. He loves scratches and snuggles and has fantastic manners. It was so important to me to find a horse than I could be buddies with, and Frankie fits that bill perfectly! So let’s see what my checklist was:

  • Good attitude. Yup. He’s kind, he’s friendly, he’s sweet, he’s willing.
  • Safe. Yup. He’s super sane and bombproof.
  • Able to jump. YUP. He basically took a slightly bigger canter stride over a 3’3″ oxer. We may want to teach him to use his  body a bit better, but he has scope for days.
  • That “X” factor. You know that feeling when you sit on a horse and something just clicks into place? Like not only could you be partners in the future, but you’re already partners. He’s got that.

The vet came out Tuesday and loved him just as much as I did. He’s sound, maintenance-free, an easy keeper, and ready to get to work. Less than 24 hours after the vetting, Frankie is home and settling into his new life with me.

Already mooching for treats. He knows a sucker when he sees one.

This big brown boy is going to be spoiled rotten. I can’t wait for our adventures together.

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The Majestic Steed

No self-respecting horse girl can not talk about her horse, so here’s my beautiful girl Addy.

Who can resist this face?!
Who can resist this face?!

While I wish I owned this magnificent creature, I’m half-leasing her from a totally awesome woman at my barn, and together we keep her working hard and full of carrots. The stars definitely aligned on this one: I rode Addy in a lesson, jokingly asked if she was up for lease, and my trainer talked to her owner and made it happen. Owner was looking for someone to spend time with Addy when she couldn’t get to the barn, and I was looking for a mount to learn on. Such a win-win situation.

The specs: she is a 10 year old, 16.2 Thoroughbred-Percheron cross who definitely leans more towards the Percheron side. I’ve always been a warmblood gal, and I like to say she’s an “original” warmblood.

While she may be massive, she’ll jump anything at any height with the cutest tucked knees, and she absolutely loves her job. For someone just getting back into the swing of things she’s the perfect teacher and confidence boost!

Some things we’re working on:

  • Not turning into a snowplow. Addy’s draft horse heritage means she has practically no neck, so she really tends to get super heavy on the forehand and plow around. We’re working on maintaining impulsion and getting more uphill, and she’s getting better every day.
  • Fitting the extra stride in. Addy will go for the long spot. Every. Single. Time. I’ll be casually sitting there 2 strides out, and she’ll decide that’s a good place to take off. With practice, she’s trusting me to get her to the base before launch. This means her already tucked knees are getting even more and more square and tucked. Adorbs.
  • Balance. Every horse has their sticky side, and Addy is no different. She will turn on a dime and leg yield for days, but doing circles to the right sometimes feels like tilt-a-whirl. Lots and lots of flatwork, bending exercises, and lateral work have made this a thousand times better, but there’s still a ways to go.

Some things that we’re fantastic at (thanks to her!):

  • Pace. Granted it’s a fast pace, but I never worry about her being sluggish and behind my leg, and she always sits back and woahs when I ask her to. I’ll never get stronger legs with her, since she requires such light aids. I’ve never even carried a crop!
  • Working on the bit. Once I had ridden her a few times I decided to ask her to drop into a frame, and it was like she was waiting for me to ask. That big beautiful Percheron neck looks awful purty all arched up like that. She’ll collect and balance with the best of them when she’s working like this.
  • Having the best time of anyone in the ring. Every single time I’ve ridden this horse I’ve had the biggest smile on my face. We “woohoo!” over every course, and snort through every hack. She loves her job and it makes riding her so much fun every single time.

So, now you know a little bit about my girl and what we’re up to currently! Together we’re learning and getting in shape and having a blast doing it. I could talk about her for ages, but I’ll have to save the rest for future posts 😉