I have been leasing my 17.1 hand, grey OTTB for about a year now, and I already feel the end for us is soon. Beretta is a massive horse with a massive heart, and I have grown as a rider and horse lover from leasing my giant beast. I am very small. I am about 5'2, but somehow I work with B. B has taught me perseverance, bravery, and commitment to the sport.
I've been riding for six years now, but I never had a more challenging lease. Beretta, on top of being extremely large, gets very excited and happy and many, many times he would buck around in our transitions and at the canter. I did not have a lot of leverage on him because I'm so small, so I had to learn to predict his bucks and listen to him and then just sit up and let him go. Let me assure you, his bucks were not meant in a harmful way, I swear that horse wouldn't hurt a fly; he is just a ridiculously happy horse with a lot of energy.
I currently ride on two show teams, one called the Inter School Horse Show (ISHS) for my high school, and one for my main barn, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). I show in Equitation. I originally started leasing Beretta because I wanted to grow as a rider and to develop my skills when working with one horse consistently over a period of time, but I also love to show. I want to become a more serious shower, so I know deep down I will have to lease a horse who can take me to the next level in showing. I love Beretta so, so dearly, but he is very unpredictable at shows and has been known to spook and buck and rear at shows. It breaks my heart every time I think about parting from Beretta, but if I want to grow even more as a rider, I know I will have to eventually look for another lease.
Beretta and I both have grown from learning from each other. Now, Beretta can get change his lead automatically after a jump without having me to ask, he can do a flying change on a diagonal, I helped him get over his first 3 foot jump, he can somewhat calmly canter a 2'6 course, and he's just become a more consistent, slightly less out of control ride. I couldn't be more proud of how far both of us have come. I'm so happy I was fortunate enough to lease Beretta, he means the world to me and I know I will carry the lessons I learned from him all throughout my life. I will always remember his soft, throaty nicker, his huuuge velvety ears and nose, his heart melting brown eyes that will reach deep into your soul, how he wrapped his neck around me and nuzzled me in my times of weakness, and the way we learned from one another and grew together, stride by stride.