Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing Horses

On Saturday the weather was "iffy" at best. There was wind and rain from Friday afternoon on. Saturday morning was cloudy and blustery. We decided to postpone our long ride until the afternoon in the hopes that conditions improved. I'm not much for riding in the rain.

By one o'clock nothing had happened and the clouds had subsided some and we decided to go for it. We saddled up the horses and headed east out to the city farm. We put our horses in a trot and, judging from the way my inner thigh muscles are talking to me this morning, kept them at a trot for quite some time. We did break up some of the trotting with loping in between, and about every 10-15 minutes, gave them a walking break. We covered over 10 miles as measured by the Garmin, in just under 3 hours. A pretty good average my ass can attest to. The horses did great. We found some puddles from the recent rain to cross and even when my jacket flew off the back of Jessie she stayed calm.

Sunday was switch horses day. Halloween - how fitting. We took each others horse out groomed and tacked up in our respective area (as opposed to the horse's). We then did a little ground work to make sure no one had a problem with the different saddles and bits they were supporting. And, it was off to the development. We practiced some one-rein stops to see how the horses would do, but other than that we were on our own. Instead of offering each other suggestions we wanted to see how the horses did and felt without trying to accommodate our movements to what THEY were used to. It worked out well. I got to see how much work it was to keep Dusty side-by-side with Jessie and she got to feel how big Jessie's trot is. Dusty and I crossed a few puddles and he stayed, for the most part, calm. We had a couple of loping sessions and I got to feel how it is to try and keep him going. But he has a very smooth lope and it's very comfortable to sit. (My sore thigh muscles were appreciative). It was fun having a horse that could neck rein and one that was more responsive to the bit. (Jessie has steering issues) Both horses have a good stop. It was kinda like driving a rental car for a while: we got to do the stuff we would normally do and the stuff we might not have tried. Ranae did some jumping over pipes with Jessie and I did a fast run down with Dusty. The Garmin said he got up to a whopping 15 mph!

It was a fun experience and a good way to practice our horsemanship skills. I mean, you hope you don't get complacent with your horse, but it's hard not to riding the same horse, the same way every time. And that's why we changed it up...
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