Team Half-Ass and the Team Ride

Ben and I have been together for nearly 6 years. We have ridden together several times, but never on our own equines: we’ve gone trekking, performed musical rides with Waldburg Shires, borrowed friends’ horses, and ridden together on clinics. We’ve ridden my old mares, now sadly passed on; I’ve ridden his previous horse, while he rode a friend’s; and of course I’ve led Marty out on many occasions while Ben rode Iris.

A collage of equine adventures.

But on Sunday 4th February, while the late afternoon sun cut through the day’s dull grey clouds, we finally, finally got to ride together on our very own steeds.


Sure, it was only half an hour in the field. We played the game where you mirror each other, one rider setting the directions and the other riding trying to mimic them exactly.

We worked on riding away from each other: one equine asked to stand still, while the other peeled away into a circle and came back again; or having one circle the other; or taking one down towards the gate and then back, injecting life into the feet and bustling past without creating energy in the other.

Standing still while Ben and Iris ride around us … Xato says he is an old hand at this, now.

…And riding round Ben and Iris. I’m sharing this mostly for his stop, which has vastly improved, rather than my riding ability, which hasn’t.

And then we rode a circuit of the lower half of the field, side by side, and it was just an utterly fantastic feeling. Xato had his back seen to last week, and the saddler came out to check and adjust his saddle as well, so he was feeling really good. He’s got a brand new, super smart saddle pad and he knew that he was a star.

Handsome man, even in his winter fluff and with half his mane missing…

Of course, his superstar status wobbled slightly towards the end of the session when he decided he’d done enough and tried to take me back to the gate – but, much to his consternation, he discovered that every time he tried he just went round in circles. It was quite irritating and eventually he decided it just wasn’t worth the hassle. Good boy, Xato!

As for Marty, he’s quite happy in his little world; having moved from our winter field, he was thrilled to discover that the current paddock comes with it’s own butt-scratcher (or, in this case, thigh scratcher) so he doesn’t even need me anymore.

…Except for when there’s a cat walking on the other side of the hedge, of course. That’s scary.

“When I give the word, flip the barrow and run.”

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