I know some of you only want to see "event" posting here...but I thought the rest of you would enjoy this.
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First long ride of 2010
Thursday 02/12/10 was our first ride of 2010.
We jokingly called it our EQ Day.
The sun had been poking through the clouds for the last couple of days and there had not been any significant moisture from the sky in that time so things were starting to dry out.
This is a GOOD thing! We need the rain but not all at once!
We have been working with Smokey and Jolene through the winter when the weather allowed. Lots of ground work to keep them fit and using the thinking side of their brains.
We’ve been taking the two-mile round trip to the mail box (we call it street-walking) doing sending exercises, yields, flexes desensitizing and more as we walked. Open field and round-pen work has happened too.
Between the weather, Laurie (Alloria) not having a good fitting saddle for Smokey and my back injury it had been a while since we rode the horses (November for Smokey and mid December for Jolene). I think we all missed the saddle time.
Yesterday we had a local trainer who understands (and uses) Downunder Horsemanship come out to evaluate our horses so we could develop a lesson plan for all of us. She watched us ground work with Smokey and Jolene. We each went thought our typical ground work routines…desensitizing, direction changes, yields, flexing and so on.
I think the trainer liked how responsive and respectful the horses were from the ground. Both of them were really good for an audience (grin).
Then Jolene and I got to be evaluated “under saddle”. This made me feel like I was back in school having the teacher watch me perform. Couldn’t believe I was actually nervous (grin). We cruised around the round pen, trots, walks (the ground was to soft for anything too aggressive), yields, one-reign stops (Jolene took a few moments to get this concept), backing up, circles, direction changes…all in all about 45 minutes of “evaluation.
My back was stiff but it felt SO good to be back in the saddle. I could feel Jolene relax too and she got into showing off. I think she actually missed our saddle time.
Because Smokey had not been ridden since late November the trainier passed on Laurie riding him for her to evaluate. Smokey is JUST about four years old (we found this out during body conformation time). He came out of the wild and was gelded in early 2009. He had about 60 days of gentling and a few rides before Laurie got him. Together Laurie and Smokey may have shared ten rides. Almost all of them have been in a round pen or arena. This matters to a later part of this story (grin).
Then it was “body conformation” time. We learned a lot for the trainer. She had some ideas of how to help both horses reach their potential and work to the strengths they had.
It was fun and educational. Looking forward to working with this trainer.
A little later our friend Aubrey came over (this is the person we bought Jolene and Smokey from…we have all become good friends) with her Kiger Mustang Cisco. These three horses are “old pasture mates” so we turned them out and had a blast watching them play, run around like the wind and then skip (yeah, really) to a stop because some patch of grass looked too darned good to pass up. Since they already know each other there was no need to play the “who’s boss game”. Much frolicking occurred. Wish we had a video camera!
Then we tacked up all three…yep Smokey too. See I told you it would matter (grin)!
We all cruised around the 3 acres of pasture we are blessed to have. The ground was soft still, so we did mostly walks and trots…although the occasional lope sometimes sprung into existence. My back was still stiff from the injury I got in December but I “cowboyed up” and enjoyed some nice trotting with Jolene. We did lope a bit (too fun) but she could tell I was not “loose” so she slowed down. Good girl. We flexed, attempted one-reign stops and worked on lateral movement. She is SO much lighter and more respectful than when I got her is September. It is really amazing.
Laurie was doing the “cruising lesson” with Smokey. They had a blast just tooling along the fences, doing some one-reign stops, checking out the neighbor’s goats and the kitty who was “moth hunting” and playing “catch up” with Cisco and Jolene. He was mellow, respectful and just a good boy. The HUGE grin on Laurie’s face was worth us riding around until sunset. They got to share a very special time…anyone who works with and ride a horse will understand this…that time where the two parties agree that this thing they are doing is fun and cool and all is right with the world…you know what I mean.
Our friend Aubrey has been doing some GREAT stuff with her Kiger. He looks to be a potential roping horse (mustangs are very versatile-grin). He has gotten so much more respectful and lighter in his cues. That little buckskin can steal hearts let me tell you! They are doing very, very well together. Aubrey is a very accomplished and well rounded horse-person. We have learned a great deal from just hanging out with her.
The gals switched horses…Aubrey on Jolene and Laurie on Cisco…and I played groom, taking off Smokey’s tack and giving him a good brushing. I think Laurie quit him and just the right time. He was having fun, she was having fun and they ended the session on a positive note. The gals rode until you could barely see your saddle horn. Good times!
Later we had a great dinner, good conversation, lots of laughter and made some plans to go to the Las Vegas Downunder Horsemanship Tour Stop in June.
All in all it was a FANTASTIC day! Gives up hope for a great 2010!