Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Report

" Blue "
"  How do I get myself into this stuff, I should have hidden behind the shed "
Friday was the most gorgeous day, sunny with temperatures in the 70’s.  Of course, due to prior commitments, I didn’t get to ride.  Saturday started out cold and windy with temperatures in the low 30’s.  This is the day I get to ride after not being able to mount up for over two weeks.
" If you want to ride, you better get a brush"
Dusty was pretty well behaved although she was a tad over-enthusiastic and had to be brought down from a trot bordering on canter more than once.  A canter would have been fine except I wasn’t exactly asking for it.  All of the horses need to be brought back slowly after a miserable winter and sporadic work.  Everyone is out of shape, including me.
Next up was Blue.  I asked my daughter to ride him first as my “crash-test dummy,” since he hasn’t been ridden all winter either.  And due to the Wild West rodeo show he put on while longeing him last week, I thought it was in my best interests to have younger bones test the waters.  Turns out he was the Blue we all know and love; he’s one of the laziest, calmest, safest horses in the barn.
" Grady "
" I'll just be good and do what you want "
Sunday morning was also cold with temps around 20-25 to start with.  I opted to ride Blue first since you really need a lot of leg to keep him going.  Although he looks like a pudgy quarter horse (and he is at this point) Blue has a big, athletic trot and is prone to throwing you out of the saddle with every stride.  My new saddle fits him like a glove, which is good, but it is still slippery and the panels feel like stiff cardboard. I found it very hard to stay tight with my thighs and drape my lower leg with little contact and pressure.  One of my worst habits when I get tired trying to maintain the correct position is to simply stand in my stirrups, relying on them for balance.  Not the correct way to ride, but I find myself falling into this trap once in a while.
Blue is trained to do just about anything that is asked of him, but he’s no push button pony by any means.  The minute you lose a soft following contact or pull on him in any way he will pull down on you and revert to going on the forehand and relying on you to hold him up (as any horse worth his salt should.)  I was treated to this little idiosyncrasy of his while trying to keep my balance in a slippery saddle a few times. We did a lot of circles and change of bend at the walk and a few trot circles and called it a day.  He was a little winded.  Small steps are the order of the day with Blue until he’s in shape.  When I dismounted my legs were Jell-O, which later turned into outright pain.  Blue is the perfect horse for getting your legs in shape if you can take the agony.
Next I took Dusty in the arena and my daughter rode Grady.  He’s such a good guy.  Well trained and sweet. I’m of the opinion Dusty was showing off for him.  She was an angel (yes, I did just say Dusty was an angel) and never took a wrong step, but did everything asked of her.  Which leads me to believe that she knows exactly what I want, she just doesn’t do it if she’s not in the mood.
We had a good laugh when we realized that, although Grady is 18 hands and Dusty is all of 15-1 hands, she wouldn’t let Grady outdistance her.  Obviously, he’s got a huge stride and was trying hard to keep up, but even at the walk Dusty overtook him with her normal enthusiastic forward walk. 
I’m glad she was well behaved and comfortable because by now my legs were not in any sort of shape for horse antics.  Thank you Dusty.  And thank you Blue for being you.

Until next time
Quote for Today
When riding my horse I no longer have my heart in my chest, but between my knees.

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