Sunday was a cold, blowing day, but I didn't care - I had to get out on my horse!
I had thrown the saddle pad on her and taken her around the block right after she got her pedicure on Monday, but the five minutes I was on her didn't count as a ride. All it did was make me want to go on a real ride.
My washing machine has decided to quit working, so each Sunday I've been taking my laundry up to the Lodge to do it and I had just enough time after I started the washer to go for a quick ride. I would have preferred a long ride, but the weather was nasty. We had horizontal snow, but I wasn't going to be deterred. After all, the sun was still out. It wasn't warm by any stretch of the imagination, but who cared?
Bill bundled up and braved the elements with me and off we went.
Estee wasn't nearly as excited about the prospect of going up on the mountain in the nasty weather, but managed to put one hoof in front of the other. With some urging, she even managed to do it at a reasonable clip. She and Ranger moseyed along the trail, willing to take us out but determined not to enjoy it.
Until we turned toward home. Suddenly Estes got all sorts of energy and when I got after her for it, she did something she's never done in a tantrum before - that little bitch reared up on me. It wasn't a big rear - she wasn't trying to put me off, but she was definitely letting her opinion be known.
Bill managed to snap the picture just as we were coming down. Thank goodness for all of the balance work that my trainer's got me doing and the few lessons I've had on M. I've had horses rear up on me before, but I was always in a saddle, not on a bareback pad whose cinch won't tighten enough to even make contact with Estes.
We had to stop and stand nicely for a little bit and then we headed off again. At the Estes Two-Step, which felt so good on my back, let me tell you! We did a lot of "whoa" and "stand" until she remembered how to walk. Then we did stuff we both enjoy - we got to go snow bashing!
I love riding through snow, and I love it even more when no one else has marked it up with their own little paw prints.
We weren't out very long - only about half an hour, but it was WONDERFUL! Cold, snow and all. I'm so glad to have my girl back. I even love that she's got opinions - it keeps life interesting.
I can't wait until I can get up there again to ride, but it'll be a couple of weeks, darn it. Between the Health Fair and coloring Easter Eggs with the family, I'm not seeing any ride time until the 23rd.
I recently read an article on how important it is to be able to control all four of your horse's hooves when out on the trail. I don't buy it. Estes knows a whole lot better than I do where to put her feet to get where we need to go. We rode over downed tree limbs covered in snow, skirted tree stumps and wove through the trees. Even when we were crossing multiple downed limbs that required her to place her feet in small spaces between the limbs, I didn't have to "control" her hooves. I feel like people who must "control" all of their horse's hooves don't have much trust in their horse.
I've been in situations on the trail that I've put us in and then had to depend on my horse to figure out how to get us out of it. And the horse (no matter which one I was on) managed to figure it out and get us back on the right track in one piece.
I just feel like there are a lot of people who want to trail ride, but want to bring the "rules" of the arena out onto the mountain with them. They work so hard to be "in control" of their horse at all times, that there is no trust built between the horse and rider. Of course, my perception may be skewed because the only effective way to work with Mustangs is to build trust. Estes isn't a Mustang, but she responds well to the same kind of treatment that they do. She has a brain in her head and she wants to be allowed to use it.
I'm the boss when I'm riding, but like any good boss, I'm open to suggestions. I don't want to micro-manage my horse. Do I have expectations for her behavior? Yes. Will I correct her if she doesn't meet those expectations? Yes. But does that mean I must be "in control" of her every move? Nope. We're a team when we're out on the trail - we may have disagreements along the way just like any team - but I trust her to get us home safely and she trusts me to not put us in too much danger.