Monday, February 25, 2013
Just Me and The Queen
I chose Lostine, because the trainer has Bombay and Gabbrielle's saddle set up for her leg length and Gabbrielle's girth. Lostine has her own saddle and it was ready to go. I led Lostine up the driveway while slowly tightening the cinch. She helped me bring in the trash can without getting all uptight about it, so I knew her head was on straight.
Riding out, I usually stop before crossing the street, but I didn't hear any vehicles coming, so we just cruised on out there. Much to my horror, my neighbor's day care van was racing up the street. This lady and everyone in her family drives so fast and they are the biggest threat to someone getting hurt in this neighborhood. I squeezed Lostine up to a brisk walk to try to get her out of the street without alarming her or hurting her feet on the asphalt by asking for anything faster. I got her through the gate right when the van raced behind us, and Lostine took off at a startled trot.
I was able to slow her down, but she was quite nervous after that and moved at a fast clip on the verge of trotting throughout the trail ride. I was thinking it was good no one was walking with me because they wouldn't have been able to keep up. At one point she decided she wanted to turn back to home, but I corrected her and she listened to me.
Her sudden jolt in the opposite direction slammed the inside of my thigh on the saddle horn. Now I know how I've been getting all of those mysterious bruises. I flexed her head and neck again, but she was still very concerned about whatever spooked her. She wanted to run home. The fact that she fought me on the one-rein stop worried me, because without that I would have no control. The horse trainer says that if a horse is 100% responsive in the arena, you'll be lucky to get 70% out on the trail. Lostine is only about 20% in the arena. So, I dismounted and walked her AWAY from the house.
I delayed getting home as much as possible so that she wouldn't think that the way to get home is to get me off her back. I had to do a lot of lead rope bumping to get her to stop pulling, because she was still nervous and forgetting her manners. When we got home, I did not remove her tack and release her right away. I lunged her and backed her repeatedly. She kept trying to evade the exercises and I had to get stronger and stronger with my cues. She eventually lowered her head in defeat, and then I untacked and released her. I want her to prefer to be on a nice quiet trail ride with me on her back rather than at home with me on the ground.
The new cinch seemed to do a really good job of gripping and not sliding. Granted, I only had a short ride, but when I dismounted, the cinch was fairly loose and the saddle didn't slip. I'll try it out a few more times before giving a review of it. The real test will be how it works with sweat.