Archive for March, 2006
Ah, a 70+ degree in March. The sun is shining. A gentle breeze playes with the dead leaves. It’s in the afternoon and everyone at Pine Dell has already been out riding. I’ve been to a 4H tack sale. I’ve eaten lunch and I’m ready to ride.
It’s the first trail ride and we are alone. I decide on James A. Reed. If I fall off, someone is bound to see JR and come and find me. Yep, James A. Reed Park is the destination
We arrive. We warm up. I get on and my horse, JR, turns into the Energizer Bunny Horse with an imaginary hot prod stuck in him. Yee Haw!
Right before the trail starts, there is a big field. We zip around the field for a while doing nifty stuff like sidepassing, stopping and backing, sidepassing some more, trotting in circles. All this is to get his reactionary right brain to switch over to the thinking semi calm, left brain. Cars slow down and come to a stop. JR is breathtaking when he is this way. He tail is out and his self carriage would win the Saddleseat competition at the American Royal Saddlebred show. Yee haw again! I’m wondering if we are even going to make it to the trail.
Another horse comes back from trail riding…a nice calm horse. We follow along about a half field away. When we turn back toward the trail, JR has slowed way down, because he wants to go with that horse. An opportunity to hit the trail. We get on the trail at a semi walk. Things are good. I do feel like I’m riding a space shuttle before take-off. The energizer bunny returns and we stop and back until he semi settles down again…and again etc
I’m so proud of him. We come to big mud holes filled with water. He goes straight through and doesn’t even think about jumping them (THANK GOODNESS!). We have a nice stretch of open trail and JR is doing great. I let him know he can go faster. Wowsa! This is the BEST EVER. We have worked on not pacing this year. We are not pacing. We are smooth. What fun this is! JR no longer feels like the space shuttle. We are more like a controlled Locomotive Freight train now. We have stretches of gaiting. We have stops. We have fast walking.
At the half way point, we were way cool. We did get pretty uptight when we came to a parking lot and got our first glimpse of the man seated in a lawn chair stretching himself out in the sun. JR knew he’d never seen anything like that before, so he knew it was something that was going to kill and eat him. I asked the man if he would stay still while JR and I sidepassed around him in a half circle. We got to the other side of the man and felt good about it. We were off at an energetic walk again.
This was the best gaited ride I’ve ever had on JR. He paced a total of 5 steps in two hours. It was heaven. When we pulled into the parking lot, JR was wet through and through. The bridle bit keeper was covered in foam.
Arriving at the trailer, I was stunned to see the living quarter door open…just like I left it. That was after I hid my purse and the truck keys in the living quarters…and then left the door open as an invitation to a treasure hunt. Luckily only honest people had passed thru parking lot and turned down the chance to steal something.
It’s a good thing that a gaited horse goes fast. I was sore enough when the fast ride finished. My legs were nearly crippled by that time. I have a new 4-Beat Saddle by Brenda Ismus. She didn’t have the Amish people bend the fender around enough. It tries to point my legs into the side of my horse. My legs try to hang down straight. I’m having to bend it with my protesting knees. I managed to get off and keep standing upright.
After a few moments of gaining back my ground equilibrium, I took off the saddle and the sweat pattern was great. They haven’t got the hose out yet at the park. JR reminded me that he was supposed to be washed off, and I just couldn’t make him understand that his bath was back at Pine Dell. Finally, he decided that I was too stupid for words and got into the trailer.