Monday, August 10, 2009

Guest spot: Kal

So yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of riding my friend's horse Kal. Here's a picture of Jess & Kal up at HITS. I have to tell you about him, because he is just so lovely. He's very different from Tucker. For starters, he requires a lot more leg, and I need to carry a dressage whip (which, if I carried one on Tucker, would probably cause him to throw himself on the ground in surrender). Kal also has a little spook in him, which (other than horse-eating liverpools) Tucker doesn't really have. But, I discovered yesterday (thanks to a helpful tip from Alicia before I got on) that the spook is easily avoided by bending him away from whatever is bugging him and closing your leg. So he's not really a chicken, just seeing if he can push your buttons.

All around he is just a really fun horse to ride. He's one of those horses where everything just feels loose and swinging and elastic. He has a really soft mouth, and when you are using your seat and leg he has three really comfortable gaits. Lateral movements are absurdly easy for him. Leg yields? Please. Shoulder in? I do them in my sleep. Haunches in? You're boring me lady. It's pretty cool.

He's a lot straighter than Tucker tracking left. Tracking right, he needs the same supporting outside aids to keep him straight that Tucker needs on the left. He will naturally hold an inside bend and wrap himself around your inside leg, and you actually need to stay really soft with your inside hand or else he will overbend to the inside through his shoulder and neck.

His canter is great. Really comfortable and easy to sit to. He has a huge stride, and as long as you keep your leg and seat sending him forward, he will stay up in front of you and completely light in your hand. If he does want to lean a little, you have to close your leg more, not half halt. Half halting will cause him to just drop behind your leg and break. Of course, it took me a few pilot errors to put all this together. You could almost hear Kal breathing a sigh of exasperated relief once I figured it out.

After the canter, you have even more trot to work with. He's naturally more forward after he canters, so I got a couple of really impressive extended trots from him. I have to confess I was kind of distracted just watching the level of suspension in the mirror. I don't think my horse does that.... Then we finished up with just some nice long and low trots where he got all swingy and free through his shoulder and back. Like riding a water bed.

All in all, he is just a very cool horse. I'm not sure that I would have the physical strength to pilot him around a course of jumps, because he is definitely a full body workout. But he's lovely to flat, and I'm happy to hack him on Sundays when Jess isn't around! Thanks for letting me flat him Jess!

3 comments:

  1. It's fun, isn't it, to ride a horse that goes in a different way than your own. Kal seems like a very nice horse - how fun that you got to ride him!

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  2. He looks like a cutie too!!!!! (Of course not as cute as Tucker!) I love it when friends allow me ride their horses. I feel it is honour. Sounds like you had wonderful time!

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  3. "...I need to carry a dressage whip (which, if I carried one on Tucker, would probably cause him to throw himself on the ground in surrender). "

    I Surrender! :) Love it!

    Wendy

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