Our First Ride

Media time!!!! As you may have guessed, Jenn was here for a visit when I went to try Frankie, and she took some fantastic videos of the very first time I sat on him. I’ve posted screenshots and short clips to my Instagram, but here’s a treat for you guys: all the videos spliced together!

Note: any missed distances, late changes, lack of changes, or general ickiness are entirely on me. These videos are all within 10 minutes of me meeting Frankie for the first time and he was patience incarnate. I love this horse.

We’ve only gotten better together over the last few weeks as I’ve slowly started transforming from a mashed potato into an overly cooked baked potato (aka getting my hands up out of my lap, mashing him together more to fit the strides in, balancing for changes, doing ab workouts to be less jiggly, etc.). My goal is to one day not be a potato at all, but I am willing to take it one potato-step at a time.

A note from Jenn, who is the esteemed videographer and was there to witness the magic. She has finally been allowed to break her silence on what went down during her visit, and here’s what she has to say:

One of the things I was most excited about when going to visit Olivia last month was being able to see her try two horses, one of which was Frankie…and we all know how that story ends. When we got to the barn, Frankie looked pretty big in his stall, but was actually larger once they brought him out: a bay with no chrome who had the sweetest look in his eye and a stocky build, I thought he might be perfect for Olivia. We went up to the ring and we watched the working students ride Frankie and D (the other horse) first, flatting both of them around before popping over a few fences. Then Olivia hopped on Frankie, and I videoed chunks of her ride at all gaits.

I remained pretty quiet while she was trying Frankie because I didn’t want to interfere with her trainer’s instruction and observation of Olivia on Frankie, but the more I watched them together, the more I thought they would be a great match. As soon as she got on and began trotting Frankie around, you could see how much she was enjoying him….that was until she started jumping him around, and I actually got goosebumps watching her because I could tell how much fun she was having. Though they had only known each other for about 20 minutes, the whole aura of the ride began to change, and I thought to myself, “I don’t know why we’re going any further, this is her horse.”

I continued to video all of the jumps (that Olivia has compiled in this video) and I was really amazed at how well Frankie and Olivia got along; it was almost like they had been a partnership for months and knew each other really well. Olivia was having a blast on Frankie, and her body language while she was jumping was infectious. Frankie is honest as the day is long, he remains unflappable about weird distances or new jumps or if he’s not sure where you’re going, and is such a good guy. He’s really athletic and amazingly scopey: he walks over 2’9″ and barely tries over 3’3″, which is great because I know one of Olivia’s goals is to do the 1.10m jumpers. Frankie really impressed me during Olivia’s test ride, and I think she was surprised at how much she liked him.

After riding him for about 20 minutes, she hopped off of Frankie and got on D. I also filmed chunks of Olivia’s ride on D, but as soon as she began trotting him around, her entire body language changed, and I think she realized at that point that Frankie was the one.  D is a wonderful citizen who tries really hard, but is a little too green (editors note: and a little too expensive- homeboy had oodles of potential, but I couldn’t spend that kind of money on potential!) for where Olivia wants to go at this point in her riding career. Frankie is just better suited for her goals, and can take her wherever/as high as she wants to go. Olivia’s trainer told her that she didn’t have to stay on D if she preferred Frankie, which I think we all knew was the case. 

When we got back to the barn, Olivia and I said goodbye to her trainer and when she and I were alone in her car I finally told her, “I don’t know why you’re looking any further; THAT is your horse. I had chills watching you, he’s your horse. I love him.”

And as they say, the rest is history. 

It was really neat to see how Olivia’s trainer tries horses (though she had ridden both horses prior to Olivia trying them), and I tried to stay quiet and out of the way as much as possible. Olivia’s trainer is super knowledgeable and knows a good match when she sees one, so I don’t think she was surprised that Olivia loved Frankie as much as she did. Every trainer has a different way of doing things when it comes to selling horses and trying sale horses out, so it was really special to be a part of that process. If nothing else, I was there to capture it all on video!