Monday, April 9, 2018

First Ride 2018 (4/8/18)

The Allenspark Cousins are here for a month or so

Mom and Bill have been coming down and working the horses for us. It helps that their horses are here as well and they'd like to get them legged up for the mountain, so it's been a good thing. Work for me is crazy right now, I work 6-7 days per week between my three jobs. It'll slow down in May, but until then, it's multiple twelve-hour days.

Skeeter and I have Posse training next weekend, and I hadn't even climbed up on her this year until yesterday. Mom and Bill have both been up on her, and have been working her through her sticky points (mounting block - she hates it). I didn't feel it was fair to haul her to a weekend-long training without her having any ride time in the last four months, so I'm extremely grateful that Mom and Bill can come down and help.

I had intended to get up on Skeets a couple of weeks ago, but ruptured the fascia in my right calf, so was out on injured reserve, which pushed us back even further. However, yesterday was the day. With Mom and Bill down here, we pulled most of the horses and at least gave them a good grooming, but Skeeter got saddled and I eventually climbed aboard. She had to stand tied nicely to the rail for a bit first - it's good for her to learn patience.

A horse photographer, I'm not.

Copper wasn't really crabby, he's just listening to Mom talk to Washoe.
Skeets stood at the rail for a fair bit of time before I climbed up on her. We've quit doing the longe business before riding, because she needs to be ready to go when we are. Some horses need the longing to get their mind in the game - Pearl is one of them - but Skeets and Copper don't.

We had a discussion about the mounting block, but it wasn't a big one, then I climbed up.

Not exactly the prettiest background, but it *is* a between the ears picture.

We rode some figure eights each direction, then I dismounted and Mom climbed up. Mom is not above "bribing" Skeeter to stand nicely at the mounting block, which Skeeter loves, but I find that she gets pushy and mouthy. For Mom, though, it works.

Listening to Grandma on her back and being pretty darn good.
I was feeling pretty good when I climbed back aboard, so I suggested Mom grab Copper and we go for a walk down the farm road. Skeets was doing okay until we got even with Mom and Bill's trailer. Don't know if it was the wind rustling the saddles, or Alloy and Pearl running like fools in the pen, but we had an "issue" - a little rearing and fast backing. I worked her through that and started forward again. I figured that she would follow Copper nicely as soon as we got past whatever was bothering her.

Yeah, that was a big nope. I she would take a couple of steps and hunch up, take a couple of more and hunch up. I could feel the buck coming, so I stopped her, waited for her feet to be calm - which was really hard for her, she was just a live wire of nervous energy - then dismounted to lead her. Two steps into our walk, with me leading her, she finally released the buck. Just a couple of little "oh my God, finally!" bucks and then she walked with me. She did not walk nicely - she was still too wound - but she walked.

I'm thrilled that she was able to control her emotions enough (I know I'm anthropomorphizing) for me to safely dismount. She is doing really, really well, especially after her time up on the mountain last summer, but she's still got a ways to go. I had really high hopes for us getting our Posse certification next weekend, but I think it'll be June before we're certified. We'll attend Posse training, but I'm not sure how it's going to go. If I can get her there and get through most of the training, we'll be on track to graduate in June.