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Short and Tall, Big and Small

By Kimberly Abbott

Monday, March 8, 2010

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I recently started riding two new horses that couldn't be at more opposite ends of the equine spectrum. Chyanne is a 14-hand Haflinger and Diesel is a 17-hand Clydesdale-cross. They are both part of the vaulting program I participate in. It's definitely a strange feeling to go from one to the next. While Diesel likes to lumber around with his head on the ground (it can be very taxing on my upper body!), Chyanne likes to fly at top speeds with her shoulder either bent in or out and her head turned in the opposite direction. It takes a lot of half-halts and transitions, and by the time she starts settling down, I'm usually pooped! She's also much more sensitive to leg and hand aids, so that can be frustrating as well. However, riding them both is teaching me a lot about proper hand position, pushing forward into steady hands (Diesel!), making a correct half-halt, et cetera. If you have the opportunity to ride a variety of horses, take advantage of it! It's a great way to hone your skills.

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Anna    Wildwood, MO

4/3/2010 12:23:36 PM

I agree with you -- it's great to ride different horses, especially if they're really big or really small. At my barn, there's this 16.2 hand-high gelding, Louie, and this 14.3 hand-high mare, Stormy. They're so different to ride!

Russell    Taylor Ridge, IL

3/8/2010 5:04:22 PM

As a trainer for the past 29-30 years I have had alot of horses come through my stables. Yes riding a variety of horses can teach you alot, especially if you ride back to back only on different horses. As much difference sometimes as night and day. It's not only physical work but mental work as well. You have to do some good consentrating when you ride a variety of horses in a day of work. It will let you know that if you didn't love horses and working with them, you wouldn't be doing it.

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