Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our first ride...

Yesterday was quite the day.  It dawned clear and sunny, and was 17 Celsius when I went outside at 8am.  In mid-March! Hubby was home and we spent the whole morning outside with Sqwid and the 4 dogs.

As noon drew nearer, I got more and more excited.  I was to meet the trainer for my first ride on Red!

So at 11:30 I put on my riding pants (to which hubby said, "Boy, those are tight!" Grrr...)  But I didn't smack him, I was in too good a mood.

It had warmed to 23 C and a warm wind had really picked up.

When I got to the barn, it was empty and the trainer's car was missing.Then someone walked in and mentioned her horse had gotten loose and she was out looking.  Luckily, soon afterward a woman walked in asking if we knew anyone with a horse matching her description!  The mare had almost made it back to the barn, but had turned in one driveway too early!  Trainer came back and then went over to get her mare as I went out to bring Red in.

I took the time to check his feet and a touch up on his heels and bars.

He was dropping a bit of condition along his topline, with being in work.  So feeding adjustments are in order.

I started to tack him up as the trainer went out and grabbed Evil Poneh.  She had a bit of a "pony" moment as she hopped up to ride her to the barn.

Evil Poneh getting ready in the barn

I am really happy with how Narra is looking.  She has gained lots of muscle and lost her hay belly.  Wish I had gotten a picture of her being ridden.  She is adorable!
Red wearing his saddle
We scraped off as much hair as possible and tacked up.  Red in his Torsion saddle and new bit (she had been using a different one for simplicity).  EP was just wearing a bridle, as I had only sent one saddle with the two horses (the Torsion fits both).   We both hopped up and left for the park. 

15 minutes later we were still heading down the driveway.  No, it is not that long.  But they were doing a great impression of dumb and dumber. 

Red politely said "After you" 

To which EP replied, "No, after you!"

Ad nauseum.

The trainer was horribly embarrassed.  I laughed and said I was not surprised.  And thought, "hey, this is only their 11th/ 12th ride!"

We eventually got to Sapton road and rode the 200 feet down the ditch to the highway.  They crossed the busy highway with no worries.  Red took the lead, and Miranda let me set the pace.  Once I got a good feel for his walk and he calmed down (because I was calming down lol), I asked for a trot.  He has a big trot!  It will take getting used to a trotting horse again.  Not that he is rough, just springy!

Then I asked for a canter.  He was calmly trotting, I lightly cued with leg and seat and kissed and he immediately stepped into a smooth canter.  The first 2 strides had me thinking "nice".  Then he started to reach under with his hind legs and his front end lifted and we did about 10 super comfy, rolling, uphill strides before I asked him to slow, which he immediately did.  I was exstatic!  It was beautiful!

,Unfortunately things didn't stay that way.  My trainer has much better hands than I, and she rides him primarily on seat and legs, as he needs very little pressure on the bit.  But I found myself nervous about being more than a passenger on a horse for the first time in a two years.  And I was pretty clutchy.  Sigh. 

He started to get confused and nervous with me.  No big surprise.  Then we reached the edge of the polo field.  The wind was up.  Narra trotted to catch up and Red jumped into a trot, I tried to slow him, but the saddle had started to slip (too loose), and so ended up clamping with legs to stay on. Which had him confused and cantering.  I eventually got him to stop, hopped off to straighten and tighten the cinch.  Looked back as poor Miranda and EP cantered up.  EP was not impressed with having to do all that work to keep up!  Lazy beast!

I took a deep breath and hopped back up and off we went.  We came across a deer, but neither spooked (too tired?).  Then we made our way over to the CDE obstacles a distance away.  We decided to try the bridge.  No go on the first try.  We both got off an lead them over.  She got right back on and turned around to go back over.  I lead Red over and EP followed, then the trainer battled with EP (she was earning her name that day) to get her over again.  I just stood there with Red and watched. 

I called out a warning she was going to try and roll int he sand.  Miranda kicked her (she ignored it), so she smacked her with the rommels (she ignored it).  She had to step off or get rolled on.  At which point she really yelled and smacked her with the reins!  EP got up and shook like nothing had happened.  Brat!  the trainer joked that sometimes she has to "beat" EP, I completely understood.  (I say joked because she is patience personified with her!  Way more than I would manage to be!) I was glad I sent her to Miranda then.  Not sure I would have managed what she did!  She eventually got her back over and stood her on the bridge.

When she asked if I was going to try again, I put on the big girl panties and mounted up and guided Red over without too many problems.  Whew! 

We then went over to wade in the big pond.  It has obstacles and lots of interesting things.  It wasn't too deep.  Red immediately waded in and drank.  I warned Miranda she may roll in the water (I have had a sweaty Gotland do that to me).  So she didn't let her stop long.

We crossed the big field to Pope's Mound.  We both got off and walked them up the stairs.  I joked she was training EP to come up the deck into the house.    At the top she got back on and rode down, but I continued to walk for the next 10 minutes to try to loosen up my knee.  I forgot how stiff it gets with riding. 

This turned out to be good for Red and I.  I calmed down and so did he.  When I got back on he was his regular (according to Miranda) soft self again. 

So it IS me that is the problem, not him!  I will have to work on my hands and confidence again.  Likely dressage lessons will be in order again.

We got back to the barn with no real incidents on the ride.  We had been gone 2 hours!  And had probably done 5+ miles.  Both horses were real sweaty.  So we did a quick once over and put them out in the paddock.  They have  nice dry sandy paddock.  So they both had fun rolling their sweaty selves in the the sand ground!  I took lots of photos!

Red says; ahhh! I prefer sand baths!

Narra is a super wiggly roller.  Very amusing!

Red was very thirsty.  Good drinker.

Narra's priority was to eat.

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