Monday, April 21, 2008

Long rides

The weekend was in the 60s and windy. Saturday we went for a ride with a friend who got dumped the last time she rode on a windy day. She stayed brave and relaxed and worked her way through it. Everyone behaved which helps a ton. We got back and I wanted to do some of the series 2 exercises, so we went out back and did picking up the lead on a circle, the four leaf clover, bending and bending-to-a-stop, and drawing-to-a-stop. She's loping so much better and, duh, I think it's just because I'm doing more of it.

Sunday we left the house at 12:30 and it was a bit chilly (that's the 60's in Cal)and still breezy. We went out in the fields and did some long-trotting. Ranae was loping. Until I get better control of her direction I don't let her lope very far. She has a pretty big trot and can stay in it for hours. It's almost as fast as Dusty's canter.

There is an egg farm with thousands of chickens. We chose to take the road that runs right alongside the farm to desensitize our horses, because that's the kind of rebels we are. There were big white cranes flying around and as we walked by the chickens they started cackling and flapping their wings. The wind was blowing the wheat in the field on the other side of the road. It was all veeerry scary. They did pretty good. Here's a picture from my cell phone of the chickens.



When we got back, Ranae had some work to do and our neighbor, Burt, was in his arena with his buckskin, Cowboy, so I went over there. Burt is a roper and our philosophies on horse and riding rarely intersect, but we put up with each other. He had an accident quite a few years ago while roping and broke his back. He's in his fifties and it's hard for him to get on his horse.

He rides with a tie-down and a curb and he's telling me I have to get lighter on my horse. He sees me do a one-rein stop and doesn't like the way I'm pulling on my horse. We spend the afternoon with me explaining the exercises I'm doing and him not listening to a word I'm saying. I get to ride Jessie a lot. I lope her around in circle after circle. She's was getting a much more comfortable pace. Later, because his legs were bothering him and he couldn't ride his horse, I got on Cowboy and rode him around. Cowboy is a really nice horse. Burt had three months of roping training put on him two years ago.

Even though we don't agree he made some good points about my seat that I tried to improve. He also made some terrible points about hands and legs which I just had to try and ignore. Jessie was pretty laid back through it all. When I got back to our house and saw it was 6 PM I knew I had given her a pretty good workout.

I'm a bit sore in places today. All last night I kept going over the exercises we did, analyzing them in my head trying to remember what to do next time. I think I had quite a good load of endorphins. I slept like a rock.

And, yeah, Courtney, I never thought having a horse would be this much fun. Jessie still pulls out her union card every now and then, but she's learning that it just means more work for both of us and I really don't mind. She's quicker to give it up and get to the "easy time". I still don't know where this will take us. Whether or not just trail riding will be enough, but for the time being it's a pretty neat way to spend the weekend.
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