I'd approached our neighbor, who owns a riding school, about finding a rider back in March (before we even had Pearl) and she put me in touch with someone she knew. The person she put me in touch with is an excellent rider, but doesn't do much western riding and was uncomfortable taking on a discipline outside of her own. I was disappointed, but completely understood.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my neighbor telling me she thought she had someone else who was interested in working the horses. I was really excited until I read that the rider she wanted to send me was 15. I was pretty conflicted about how a 15 year old girl would handle three green-broke horses and struggled with replying for a few hours.
On my way home from work, I got a call from the rider, Annie. It took about 3 seconds to calm my fears about having a "youngster" ride for us. As my neighbor said, she's 15 going on 35. She's been riding her whole life and is currently re-training an OTTB. I invited her and her mom out to meet the horses to see if it was going to be a match.
She worked with confidence and quickly identified areas in which Skeeter and Copper needed work. She rode each of them and was able to respond to both of their very different personalities.
|Skeeter was a bit mare-ish, but what do you expect?|
|Cops was worried, but that's his default with new things.|
The day Annie came out, Skeeter developed some random soft tissue swelling in her right hind, but I had her ride anyway. I did cancel the next Skeeter ride, just in case she had an abscess brewing. Turns out it was just random soft tissue stuff (she probably did it while Pearl was chasing her all over Estes' pen) that went away in a couple of days.
Annie came back out and took Copper for a ride at the neighbor's arena and it turned into a great lesson day for him. A storm came rolling in, so Copper got to stand in the barn while it stormed. When he got a little too antsy, he went into a stall. He does not like small horses, so the stall was perfect - his next-stall-neighbor was a pony mare with a baby. Belle's not as small as a mini, and neither is her baby, but they are definitely much smaller than Copper's used to.
Finally, the storm passed and Annie was able to take him out to the arena for a ride. I haven't talked to her much to see how the ride went, but she said it was a good one.
She was on vacation last week, but starting tomorrow she'll be riding all three horses twice a week. I think the horses will respond well to a structured riding schedule, which will make it a lot easier for Jay and I to get up on them on our days off.