My weekend was long and tiresome, 2 days of 8 hours doing barn chores + riding 2 horses a day is tiring, but it will be good for me for the derby right?
Bentley is on vacation, so he only got a ride from me on Friday. I was too lazy to bring my saddle in from the car and tack him up, so I just rode bareback (this is a once a year thing due to his razor-spine) We worked on reinless stops from walk, trot and canter, and reinless circles, serpentines and lead changes. Yes, all bareback. Yes, I may have cried a little when getting in the saddle the next day. Bentley loved it though and begged me to do it more often. Sigh!
The next day I rode 2 of the horses at my weekend job, I had been asked to take them for a walk outside. They aren’t quite master trail horses like Bentley (its rare they go outside at all) and I had never ridden them before, so I made my sister Heather come along and help me with the morning chores so she could take Bentley and be our good influence on the trails. The first horse was the happiest boy! Excited and eager, and by the end he was relaxed and sighing (and a smile in his eyes!). The second horse was the opposite, she thought I took her outside in order to feed her to the wolves that had to be lurking in the orchard. Many times she stopped and refused to go forward, threatening to rear. Other times she just wanted to run away from me, not caring that Bentley was there to be her friend. Nothing happened, but we certainly didn’t become friends on that ride – just “got ‘er done!”. Bentley liked the outing and didn’t seem to notice or care about the shenanigans, taking the opportunity to eat everything possible. I had forgotten my new saddle in the car (which Lee took off with for the day) so poor Heather had to ride in the old one which had no stirrups. The eat then trot to catch up method had her whining a bit as she was sore from the gym the day before and had trouble doing all-terrain stirrupless.
Sunday, I rode 2 more, but this time inside since the forecast called for rain and I didn’t have a safety partner to ride with (one of the horses I had not ridden before). They were both very lovely with a great forward attitude. I don’t ride with spurs or a whip, and I know their owners use both, so I was pleasantly surprised how well everyone went with just a polite ask. Of course, it helped my sore “self” that there was no trouble haha! Of course, despite being super cranky having already been at the barn for 10 hours and having my afternoon snack eaten by the dog (he ate an entire pound of my Belgian chocolate – causing me both worry that he would die, and grief for my lost chocolate – don’t worry he IS ok!), just as I was about to leave, Lynn told us that a big wind storm was coming… so we all banded together to bring every horse out of the field and into shelter. I keep telling myself, I have to get used to these long tiresome days… but I was still pretty crabby when I got home!
I also rode Bentley last night, this time I wasn’t so lazy as to go bareback again (yes I was STILL a tiny bit sore from Friday). Since he is in vacation mode, it was just quiet walk/trot work for half an hour, working on invisible commands walk/halt, walk/trot, trot/halt, halt/trot. He was very good and didn’t get too excited about the halt/trot being allowed (thankfully as we had an audience!). His head is really in a good place right now and he has been giving me terrific performances. I also think that riding other, more finished horses is giving me a lot of feel and direction in my riding – yay!
I really enjoy being able to get the extra ride time, it will do me well. Come spring though, I will have to start looking for rides outside of work… I love these guys but they are too well behaved and too massive for my derby training!