The Catch Ride Dream Team

My roster changed drastically.  I thought it might be fun to share the lineup.

Good catch riders regularly get good horses.  Adequate catch riders that can deal with stuff often get stuff that needs to be dealt with.

I fall into the adequate category.  I get a variety.  Really nice horses for short periods, and I’m-afraid-of-my-horse horses till kingdom come.  Sometimes I get lucky and get really nice horses on my 365 list.

Tiny (as we know) is off my 365 exercise list, and on the Make It Better list.

Jimmy: Kingdom Come

A gorgeous silver dappled warmblood.  Training Level.  He’s a beautiful but horrifically uneven mover (mostly zigzag, but zigzag with suspension and drive!), and still very much a green horse.  At 8 years old.

He’s a LOT of work to keep straight, relaxed and in a rhythm that doesn’t swing from Gangsta Rap to Enya every 15 seconds.  Jimmy’s sweet and honest, but his nerves get on his nerves and he tends to spiral himself out.  I’m good with anxious.  For some reason, anxious horses bring out the serenity in me.

Pretty much he’s a gorgeous zippy pogo stick with an inner ear problem and anxiety disorder.  He will remind me to ride every nanosecond.

Jumbo: Kingdom Come.  Oh…and if I have time? Eternity please.  Am I booked in my next life?  Would I pencil him in?

An Appendix QH (for the non-horsey, this is kind of like a cross between a golden retriever and a racing greyhound) with a latent I don’t THINK so gene.  Surprisingly big mover.  He is a tank: neck set very low into his shoulders. He’s a little frightening to collect.   When he’s on the bit, I can’t really see his head and neck.  I feel like I’m riding a pair of shoulders, with the ground zipping by right in front of my stomach. Note to self: Dramamine.  Reminds me of my old truck with the hole in the floorboard.

Jumbo could be a mafia boss.  Unflappable, sane, fantastically light on his feet for such a thug of a guy, charming, direct, and bullying.  Tick him off and you’ll wake up with a severed human head in your bed one morning.  Then he’ll ring you up to invite you to breakfast.  And you’d better go.  Or else it’s cement horse shoes for you.

Hudson: FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT.  Usually 2x a week.  Bella is out of town.

(why yes, that beatific sound WAS an angelic chorus when I said his name.)

He’s fully recovered from his eating accident (we’re a lot alike, Hudson and I) and is ready to circle the planet from somewhere high up in the atmosphere.  He’s loaded for cow, amped, but is totally into teamwork.  It won’t be dressage, it won’t be western, but it WILL be FUN.  We do a sort of training-level ride with attempts at relaxation.

Pops:  4 days this week, maybe some next, depending on how long Katherine remains concussed.  He was on my 365 for a year (hallelujah) after breaking his owners leg.  Uh, I think that came out wrong.  You know what  I mean.

Pops is the hugest TB I’ve ever seen. He makes Tiny look teeny.  Secretariat isn’t somewhere in the moldering part of his pedigree.  Secretariat was his grandfather.  His shoulder is so free he can lift his front leg nearly level to it in the reach portion of the canter.  Gifted mover. Ex-racehorse.

He’s in dressage training and built for it.  A level higher than I am, so I hope to use this gift to improve my riding.  His movement is beyond enormous, and it takes the stomach of a black belt to ride that engine.  I am gonna be SO sore.

Note to self: pick up ibuprofen and no canter extensions in the BIG arena.

I let Pops out one day when he asked if he could go, forgetting a crucial fact: hugely successful race horse seeing an open line on the rail.


Adrenaline RUSH. I’ve heard jockeys describe the feeling as indescribable.  They’re right.  I felt Pops fall into a rhythm and start to lengthen, building up energy and speed into himself.  I will never forget how that felt.  I heard nothing, I saw nothing but opening, and he was on cruise control.  It was really really REALLY hard to convince myself to bring him back.  Nothing existed but me, the blur, and the rush.  I’m flying!

I’d activated the wrong circuits: we’re in racing stride.  Helpfully, I lost all memory of how to unflip a racing switch.  What is my brilliant plan? Haul on the reins!  I know all you OTTB owners are roaring with laughter right now.

Non horsey translation: I went from a nice Hyundai rental car to a custom nitrogen-fueled Nascar.  In one second.   Coming into the turn, I forgot where the brake was and floored the gas pedal by mistake.

I lived.

Pops has looked at me with genuine interest ever since.  Hopefully.

That’s the crew!


8 thoughts on “The Catch Ride Dream Team

  1. Pingback: Sometimes You’re the Windshield… « The Literary Horse

  2. theliteraryhorse Post author

    gp you are SO right, new horse, new day, new lesson! Andrew, isn’t it amazing to bump up to a trained horse who is willing? Opens new doors. If you were here, I’m bet Lilli would let you try Tiny, and you’d have a blast.

    I wanted to add this addendum to the post (I’m not sure about the whole blogging etiquette thing: do you revise after it’s up? Add? Feel free to advise.) So it’s here in the comments.

    Whatever I teasingly say, I don’t ride horses I don’t like or can’t find a connection with. I’d take Jumbo home in a heartbeat. My own Mafia boss!

    Maybe a better rider could separate out feelings of dislike, but I don’t trust that my feelings wouldn’t come through and create an unfair mess, setting the horse up to fail. Gotta like ’em.

  3. mtinnkeeper

    gives new meaning to “sit down and ride ” 🙂 Each of my horses teach me different lessons… trust me!!

    happy trails

  4. Andrew

    Jane: I barely know enough, but after 6mos of renting wranglers’ horses and begging to borrow friends’ horses for field trials, I recognize the basic typology. I got to ride an ex-barrel racing horse (after it had already been trail-ridden for two hours) in a small arena two weeks ago. Turns out Lightning was an entirely modest piece of naming. But wow! It was like trying to drive a Ferrari in a pair of Sorel pac-boots. Mercifully, Lightning is a better horse than I am a rider.

    all best

  5. Jon

    And I thought I had a rough day attempting to corner a 2month old with a ‘that ogre-man is going to EAT me’ attitude . . . not pretty and a train wreck ever since. Must study ‘moments of zen’ more thoroughly. Send ibuprofen when you’re done with it.

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      *forks over custom care package of ibuphrophen, icy hot, ice, heating pad, and a couple of polo wraps, brandy (medicinal purposes) and Enya tapes*

      Oh and the patience of Job for the 2 month old!

    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I thought I was going to be a former catch rider there for a sec! ( I have to admit, I’m addicted to being able to ride different horses.) And I BET you hear me. 😉

      ps great site!


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