Meet High Hopes aka Hope, who belongs to the family who own the stable that I keep Hattie at. Laura, her owner, said that I could school her as she is busy with work and doesn't have enough time in the day to ride and school her four horses every day. Plus, Hattie is out of action at the moment due to pulling her shoe off and taking a chunk of hoof with it AND tweaking her leg somehow so it all swelled up. Sigh...
Hope a 16 year old (same age as Hattie), 16hh Irish Draft x Thoroughbred mare and I really enjoy riding her as she is sharp and doesn't need much leg (unlike Hattie). Hope also enjoys schooling, unlike Hattie BUT she can be VERY excitable and doesn't travel very well. She is a tricky horse to ride as she doesn't like a heavy rein contact so you have to be really soft with the rein and when she gets excited, you have to use your seat and body to regulate her paces and/or halt her, just like side saddle really. You can't just use your reins to stop or regulate her, it has to be your body and seat or else it sets her off and her head goes in the air.
My plan for Hope is to get her flatting nicely over the winter and spring, with the odd dressage show thrown in that we can hack to, and then hopefully start her under side saddle next summer. Laura is a bit sceptical whether she will be able to go side saddle or not and doesn't think she is safe to do so as she gets very excitable but we'll try it slowly and if she doesn't like it, then we'll stop. If you don't try, then you don't know! I probably won't try hacking her out in one but if we can do some schooling side saddle and try the odd local dressage show aside, then that is good enough for me.
I did try Hattie's Whippy on her the other day to see if it even fit and it looks like it will be a good fit for her with no bridging and the tree shape seemed to fit her conformation nicely. Hope and Hattie are similar shapes with Hope just being a tiny bit more stockier built.
So we shall see next year how it goes!