Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Better Ride

This afternoon Brett and I took the horses out for a walk around the ranch roads.  Brett wanted to try out his new reins and I wanted to see how the new saddle pad worked doubled up with the old one.  I also want to work a bit on obedience.

Yesterday on our ride around the block, Brett and Flash started out in the lead.  Winston has a big walk and Flash takes awhile to warm up so it wasn't long before we passed them and rode in front.  That lasted until we were passing by the property with the viscous (recently attacked yet another dog) black pit bulls.  Winston stopped and looked to Flash to take the lead.  I tried to kick Winston forward but he refused.  I didn't push it, giving him the benefit of the doubt with the dogs, but I wasn't pleased.  Coming up our back driveway, Winston and I were once again in front.  I stopped on the driveway and waited for Brett and Flash to latch the back gate.  Then I nudged Winston forward.   Nada.  I kicked him.  Nada.  Brett and Flash passed us.  I asked Brett to stop and let me make Winston go ahead.  Winston refused.  This was clearly an obedience issue since we were safe and sound next to the barn.  I turned Winston in three or four tight circles and then sent him straight past Flash.  He went without blinking an eye.

Today, I wanted to see how he behaved.  All this five year old testing of boundaries.  Sheesh.  He's such an adolescent.

We tacked the boys up mid afternoon.  I am pleased with how closely the new saddle pad matches the old one.  I don't think it's very obvious at all that I have two pads under that saddle.  Agree?

The saddle fit well and the pads didn't slip an inch.  Brett played with his new reins -- it is his first time using split reins and once he got the hang of it, he liked them.  Winston and I opened the back gate and led for the entire ride.  He didn't balk once.  There were a couple times he was nervous:  a tractor dragged its bucket through the rocks making a rumbling sound; a car zipped past us without slowing down; and a huge dog ran along its fence line barking at us.  Winston did manure after every scary encounter but other than that, you'd never know he was concerned.  I praised his bravery after each incident and we expanded our ride to about an hour.

When we got back, Winston was immensely pleased with himself.  Brett took some pictures of us on the back driveway on our way back in.  Check out Winston's happy face -- he is a very expressive horse.

My toes didn't bother me on the ride but I was careful of them dismounting.  I swung my leg over the saddle, kicked my good foot out of the stirrup, and slid to the ground landing on the good foot.  It worked well except that I was so focused on protecting my foot that I didn't notice that the sleeve of my tee-shirt had caught on the saddle horn.  As I slid to the ground it ripped -- from the sleeve halfway down my side.  How embarrassing.  Brett and Winston were amused.

After rinsing off Winston (we were in the low 80s today so he was sweaty under those pads), letting him graze and then putting him back in the pasture, I decided to groom Jackson.  My poor neglected heart horse.  He watched me walk into the pasture with his halter.  I looked him straight in the eye and he marched over to me.  I think he stuck his tongue out at Winston as he went by.

What?  You want to take my picture?  Okay.

Alright already.  You took a million pictures.  Put the camera down.
I turned him back out with the herd and hobbled back to the house.  I'm wiped.  Happy.  But wiped.


  1. Okay so now you made me chuckle out loud too. That shirt thing is something I would have done. Those horses amaze me at what they will do for you. And (usually)happy to do it at that.

  2. well, i'd say an obedient winston and happy toes are worth a ripped t-shirt. :)

  3. Winston really looks like two different horses in his English and Western tack, both lovely.

    I hope Jackson is feeling as good as he looks - he looks great.

  4. I love the last photo of the herd. Yes, Jackson looks terrific and Winston is doing well. Sounds like your toes are doing a lot better.

  5. Havent ripped a T shirt, but pulled all the buttons off a good shirt! Good to see you out.
    Winston certainly does look better!

  6. That's too bad about your shirt getting ripped. Isn't it amazing how many scary little things you can encounter on rides? Sounds like Winston did well.

  7. Jackson looks great!

    How did the pads look after your ride? Skito sells a nice western pad that fits in the pocket behind the withers without the bulk of two full pads. I have had good luck with it on a couple horses.


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