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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