Sunday, November 22, 2020

Riding a Breyer horse

Have you ever dreamed of riding a Breyer horse? I think most of us probably have, but this year, professional rider and longtime hobbyist, Christine Jordan made that dream come true. Here's the story of how that came to be. Thank you, Christine, for taking us along for the ride!

Riding Avatar's Jazzman

by Christine Jordan

So, we all know about Breyer Model Horses' Avatar's Jazzman, the versatile Morgan. 
Here's a  fun little fact; back in 2016, I got a text from Lauren Chumley about coming to break a baby dressage horse to saddle. I knew next to nothing about her, aside from that she lived near another job of mine. The young warmblood was an easy one, but I learned a lot about Lauren and her program in the following weeks. Namely, she took in all kinds of horses. Her barn had your standard warmbloods and Thoroughbreds, but it also had Fjords, ponies, and a little Morgan gelding. In the tack room, there were multiple articles up on the walls and the fridge about him, Avatar's Jazzman, the Morgan who competed in Grand Prix dressage and eventing!

Heather was still fairly new to Breyer then, but I remember talking with her about what kinds of horses Breyer was looking to make into portraits. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, so I mentioned Jazzman. Unfortunately, I was certain he needed to be on the Flash mold, and that had just been used for Cobra. I brought him up a lot in the next few years, just in case. Then, lo and behold, last December, I saw he was in the lineup! I was starting some two year olds for Lauren so we were finally able to celebrate. 

Fast forward to this spring. I was restarting the now three year olds, and made a joking comment about possibly riding Jazzman, so I could say I had ridden a Breyer. Lauren said yes. Fast forward some more, to me finally remembering to make a time. She was done showing until Florida, and we were both available the next day  (Thursday, November 5th), so we made an appointment. I showed up in my gear, and he was all ready to go. Keep in mind, he is a whole 14.2 hh and I'm 5'10” when you see how silly I look on him. I went to get on and he was off before I sat in the tack. Jazz is apparently always on a mission. I warmed up a bit, trotting around, doing some figures. I didn't get a lot of direction at that point, so I just did what I would do with any other horse. Lauren finished her lesson and we went outside. I cantered a bit and she told me to jump the little cavaletti. I was ready for some big effort...and he quietly cantered over it. I am so used to jumping green horses, I forgot how normal ones jump. Hahaha. She set up another jump. We went over it, raised it, repeat. It wasn't a long ride, by any means, but it was a lot of fun to ride the bold little guy. 
After the ride, we went back in the barn and talked. I asked if she was planning to have Meg Kepferle do a clinic at her place, and she said she was doing one that Saturday at Bucks County Horse Park. I do not have a horse that could go cross country and said so, and she pointed at Jazz and said, “You can take him.” Well. Let's just say I gave her an enthusiastic yes. 

I got there early on Saturday and excitedly helped tack up my mount. We went out to the field and warmed up. Jazzman was a different horse than I had ridden in the farm. He was READY,  but in a good way. We popped over a small course to start, and I started to figure him out. 
We did another course and in the video, I hear Lauren say he was going Prelim speed. I only heard Meg tell me to steady the pace at the time. We jumped a ramp, then arced around to another one, to two rolltops and a stair. 
In the video, I heard the conversation that happened after I took a flyer at the second ramp. Let's just say, I thought it was a nice distance, Jazz took it in stride, and I scared Meg a little. Lauren laughed. It was fine.
We jumped some more logs, rails, a ditch. We led a green horse over the ditch and she jumped it great! We did a sort of coffin without a ditch, we usually refer to the set as the Rollercoaster jumps. 
Then we did the water. We started by just cantering through, something I have not done in ages. And if you had any doubts about the suitability of Flash as a Morgan, look at this photo.
We jumped a jump, went through the water, and I got to do the down bank. 
I had such a great time. Avatar's Jazzman is such an honest horse, and I think he enjoyed himself as well. I am so thankful that Lauren gave me the opportunity to ride him. And I would do it again if I could. He's a sweetheart and so bold, you hardly have to do anything. Well, I had to hold him back a little, haha. He definitely loves cross country! That pretty much wraps up my experiences riding Avatar's Jazzman; pony, dressage star, jumping machine and Breyer horse. It's an experience I will always remember!

2 comments:

  1. Wow that's a really cool experience. I can't help noticing how harsh that shank bit is & how he needs to stick his tongue out the side of his mouth for relief

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    1. It's only an elevator and he isn't sticking his tongue out, he's champing at the bit. The noseband is loose enough that he can open his mouth a good bit. Let me tell you, he wanted to gogogo the whole time, there was a lot of half halting.

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