Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cowboy Up

Just another nice fall day spent with my newest gal...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Riding Amy

It's been a pretty busy time for me lately since it's the end of the season and everyone is trying to get ready for winter. The good news is that means more dinero in my pocket, but one of bad things is that I haen't gotten to ride in almost three weeks! So, I decided to fix that and go for a ride yesterday afternoon.

I got to the paddock and she decided to let me know she was a wee bit pissed that I hadn't been to see her in so long (I have to keep her at a friends until I get our paddock and barn built). Normally, when I come to catch her, she comes right over and lets me put her harness on with no trouble at all. Well, yesterday she would wait until I was just about to her, then trot off to the other side of the paddock. She would try and put another horse between us, so I couldn't catch her. Well, once she finally decided it was time to let me off the hook, she stood perfectly still as I walked up and put her harness on. I was hoping that would be the end of her "mood" but found out differently when I started to brush her out.

When I was first thinking about buying Amy, her owners warned me that she could be tempermental and that I really needed to watch her when getting ready for a ride. They said she had never really bonded well with anyone in the past, and she could get a bit stubborn; in fact, the first day I rode her, she bit me when I was tying her to the hitching post. Not a full on bite, but a nip on my forearm just to see how I would react. After that first ride, she wouldn't let me out of her sight. Since then, we've been really good together; until yesterday.

While I was brushing her out, she kept giving me the stink eye and pinning her ears back. Not full-on pinned back, but she was letting me know she wasn't real happy with me. After I put the blanket on and went to get my saddle, she pulled the blanket off when my back was turned. We had a little chat and then I saddled her up with no real problems (other than the 100lbs she has put on for winter; I had to adjust both the cinch and the flank strap to fit). She did give me dirty looks when I cinched her, but then she always does that. The good news was she let me put the bit in her mouth with no argument, something she usually makes me work at.

Since she was being a bit moody, I took her first to the round pen for some ground work. She really decided to test me in the round pen. She refused to move her feet and I had to really get after her to get her to lunge. First, she just would not move at all, then, all she would do was walk. Finally, I got her to trot and lope in both diredtions, and got her to follow MOST of my commands.

Finally, I felt it was time to ride a bit before we ran out of light, so off we went. The first part of the ride was good; she gave me no attitude at all. I worked her a bit from the saddle, then just let her follow the trail. Just as we were coming into a little grove of trees, something spooked her and she jumped to the left and tried to bolt. I was just a bit behind her and didn't stop the lunge, but quickly got her stopped before she could bolt. I don't know what it was, but evidently, it wasn't anything too bad cause she recovered and we went on about our way out of the trees and up the hill.

We rode for almost two hours, just walking through the hills and looking at the fall colors. This time of year the colors are just beginning to fade, but the aspen are still bright gold. The reds, oranges, greens and golds are especially vibrant in the golden glow of the late afternoon sun. I'm just mad I didn't bring my camera.

All in all it was a good afternoon; Amy did a great job after she let me know she was feeling a bit rejected. I guess I won't make that mistake again! I don't know if the ride did her or me more good, but I know I really needed it. After so many years without a horse, I'm finding that I missed it more than I ever imagined. Horse people will understand, but it's hard to describe the feeling a horse brings out. It's so much more than just going for a ride. The bonding and trust between horse and rider, the tranquility of riding out in the quiet, the peacefullness that just surrounds you when you're with your horse. All I know is that I really feel at peace when I'm with our horses, and with Amy in particular.

I sure hope I can get our facilities up soon, I could sure a little horse therapy more often than I'm getting now.