Please welcome Jennifer from How did this happen? (Hunter in Training). Not only does she have some great posts, but she's future TV star. She and her horse are scheduled to appear on Horse Master with Julie Goodnight in May.
I’m Jennifer! I have had enough “train wreck rides” to know what riding-scared is. I have been riding for about 7 or 8 years now, and I’ve gained a lot of courage in the last year and a half. This is a story from last year, with my trail pony Romeo, a 14YO AQHA gelding.
With things finally dried out enough to get to the trailer door, I grabbed a brush, and Romeo's french link bit, and walked to the pasture.
I brushed off the dirt, well, where my bottom would go. Took off his cribbing collar, put the bit on, and hopped on with great apologies. See, I'd had a stressful day at work, and I felt kinda bad even asking him to do anything. The day was bad enough that I worked late, got home about a half hour before dark began. That left no time for a saddle, and no time for a proper grooming. I just needed my hiney-time.
We walked around the house just a minute or three to see what kind of goober mood he'd be in. Acting like he'd been doing this for years without a day off, Romeo rumbled straight down the road, head down, ears alert in every which direction. He went up the trail on the sharp corner of the road, the one where I always worry we'll run into a deer, dog, or 4-wheeler. When we got to the straightaway again, I leaned, squeezed, and prayed.
We trotted for a little bit, along the side of the road, until a neighbor's car approached. They slowed to a crawl, so I did them the courtesy of coming to walk. Walked past them then quickly picked up trot again. When I ran out of "side of the road" to be on, and the gravelly dirt road was our only choice, we went back to walk as we approached the mailbox.
Suddenly, something got Romeo's attention. What's that! Oh My Goodness! It's a big purple & blue MONSTER! A horse-eating monster! No silly man! It's just the neighbor lady exercise walking down the road! She's headed this way, so you better get used to it.
I got us to the mailbox, and she passed us. She said to me, "Well, that sure looks like a fun relaxing way to go get the mail! You're getting fresh air, too! What a good idea!" And, it hit me...
I was on my horse
In barely enough bit to stop him if I'd needed to
On the road
Away from home
Side passing to the mailbox to grab the mail & stuff it in my coat pocket
And I was enjoying myself.
What a far cry from my previously terrified rides, where it was all I could do to walk in a western saddle with a death grip on the horn, praying nothing bad would happen & send my butt catapulting to the gravel road.
Romeo and I alternated walk & trot the whole way back home. He was relaxed, and I let him go all the way to the buckle, trotting along in the dusk. It was approaching dark(er) when we got home. And I didn't care. I've accomplished another goal - walk, trot, bareback, away from home. We're well on our way, now...