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We Are Flying Solo

January 6, 2012

Solo's New Relationship With An Old Friend

With three horses to ride (our BFF, lifeshighway, is out for 5 months following rotator cuff surgery, so I am teaching Pete the coarser points of dressage, which he is phenomenally cute at), I am blessedly busy, but with the irritating requirement of actually showing up at work every day, there are just not enough hours to give them all the time they need.

Solo at his last event, last May. 
I have been trying to keep Solo doing SOMEthing at least twice a week. He still has good days and bad days; the good days are magical, the bad days are disheartening. I have his Adequan lined up and ready to inject once I have a clear time window. I can't keep up with his hay belly, though, and his hopeful eyes torment me.

I'd been working on a friend to ride him, but alas, she did not jump at the chance to absorb free Solo karma. Fortune finally saw fit to give me a moment of epiphany, however, and I sent a text message to a young girl who used to ride the BO's enormous Oldenburg mare prior to her sale:

"Would you like to ride Solo?"

Within ten minutes, I got back, "Yes, I would love to!"

I was thrilled -- Charlotte is a high schooler who catch-rides 3' to 3'6" hunters for an area trainer on our local C circuit. Not only is she the most selfless, kind, and well-mannered teenager that I think I have ever met, she is a lovely, quiet, soft rider who can win a hack class like you would not believe. I would not have to worry about Solo for a second and she would be the perfect match, a light ride for his temperamental back.

We met at the farm last night so I could show her Solo's quirks and brief her on the type of ride he needed these days. She has ridden him before, back when he was fit and muscley (sigh) so I tossed her up and proceeded to show her where his buttons were.

Keep in mind, Solo has rider-trust issues. He's been beaten with whips and generally, when anyone except me rides him, he watches me with a white, wide eye of worry. He behaves, but pathetic, concerned face with wrinkly nose and unsure ears betrays him. As a result, I have to be very careful when faced with a choosing a person who will ride him without my supervision. 90% of the time, he will offer no problems, but if he has a strong opinion, he can turn into a lot of horse and he can spin faster than anything I've ever sat on.

So my heart was happy when Charlotte asked him to trot and he stepped out in a lovely, swinging hunter trot with a relaxed neck and a bright and perky expression. I told her that she should feel very special, as she is the only one I have ever seen given the Solo "seal of approval." He was happy.

I could tell from his energetic and easy trot that he was having a good day, so I warned Charlotte that when she asked for canter, she'd better sit up tall and be ready. Sure enough, Solo leaped into the air and gave an enthusiastic buck of joy as he struck off in his favourite gait. As I laughed, I was so grateful for Charlotte and what she could offer to my very special guy.

I hope that she can continue to ride him at least once a week for me. It's a wonderful gift that she is giving and I so hope that this works out for a while. I would like for spring to find him a bit fitter and slimmer than his current state and he certainly needs to keep moving, both for his physical and mental wellbeing. I will continue to ride him lightly as well, but with much less pressure on time now that the responsiblity of keeping Mr Shiny going can be shared with someone else who loves his wonderful red hide too.


  1. That sounds like a wonderful situation! It can be very hard to find the right someone to ride your horse, and I'm so glad you did. Solo's lucky to have such a good mom!

  2. What an awesome situation for all involved!

  3. Oh she sounds like a dream person to be helping out with Solo's work. How great :)

  4. I'm hoping for the best, against my better judgement!

  5. LOL, I know EXACTLY where you're coming from. Glad that Mr. Shiny likes Charlotte and I hope it continues that way. I sure wish I could find someone that Miss Sunnybuns would like and trust to check on the girls during the week. I can't wait to go see the girls this weekend - totally missing my horsey time!!

  6. There is nothing like a good riding, good mannered kid riding your horse... He is a lucky boy! I do hope it works out for a long while!

  7. Excellent solution!! Hope things continue to go as well.

  8. She sounds like the perfect rider for Solo.

  9. She really is fantastic for him!

  10. So heartwarming to read! That worried look breaks my heart. It's nice to see him clicking with her like this!

  11. That was the best part, Dom, indeed.