Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Seize the Morn

Now that the days are getting hotter, we are trying to get out trail riding as early as possible.  The nights are still cool enough that we can open the windows to cool down the house, so all hope isn't lost for relief from the heat.

Yesterday the horse trainer came by for a late afternoon appointment.  It was too hot for me, so he rode Bombay and P.S. rode Gabbrielle out.  Of course, both Bombay and Gabbrielle behaved like seasoned trail horses that needed no training, so P.S. tried prying the horse trainer's secrets out of him regarding his ability to keep the horses calm.  He honestly doesn't know exactly what he does to relax our horses.  He just knows that he's more confident a rider than most people, and he's not sure how to teach people to be confident.  P.S. and I are always trying to figure him out, so that we can be more like him.  I know, it's weird to try to emulate other people, but we are jealous of these nice, relaxing rides that the horse trainer always seems to have on our horses.  He not only relaxes the horse he's riding, but other horses other people are riding, as well as the other people he is riding with.

He's spent some time helping both us and our horses tackle somewhat difficult challenges along the trails, including the pipeline drop off, which is a pretty steep hill with rocks and a cable running down it, and a concrete tunnel at the bottom.  I had actually never noticed that concrete tunnel before today.  I'll bet there are all kinds of people and animals trying to hang out in that shelter.

Anyway, P.S. and I got out early this morning, so I could ride without feeling like I'm going to pass out from the heat, and she could get more practice for Gabbrielle.  Gabbrielle was sleepy after a big breakfast, so she just ambled along behind me and Rock the whole way.  Usually, she's got her ears forward and is anxiously trying to pass us up.  Rock was being such a gentleman, always stopping if Gabbrielle stopped to poop, hesitated, dropped too far behind, or turned off the trail.  He seemed to be looking out for her like a big brother looks out for his little sister.

I had turned on my helmet cam and asked P.S. if it was recording numbers, which represent the number of timed photographs, and she said there were numbers.  It turned out that I hadn't turned the camera on, but there were numbers on the screen, because I never deleted the pictures from the last ride.  That means I didn't get any pictures of today's ride.  Oh well.  It seems that I have about a 50% success rate in getting that camera to work.  I think I need to strap it to my chest instead of my helmet so that I can see the screen and troubleshoot what's going on with it better.  Either that, or just go back to carrying a handheld point-and-shoot in my saddle bag.

At one point we were riding along and I was trying to demonstrate and exaggerate the horse trainer's relaxed posture when he rides, and as soon as I slumped down in the saddle, Rock came to a stop.  Oops.  I forgot that most horses will stop if you sit on your back pockets.  I need to remember to do that more often when I actually want to stop, so that I can stop pulling on the poor guy's face.  I could probably ride Rock with just my thoughts, as long as we were in a location far from home where he wouldn't try to override my decisions to turn away from home.  But then I suppose the horse trailer will be home, and he'll just try turning toward it.

I took a trail we've never ridden on before, and it was a nice diversion, but then I checked my watch and saw that P.S. needed to get back to the barn so that she could get to work on time.  Because we were on the wrong side of the arroyo, we had no choice but to ride up the pipeline trail if we wanted to get back in time.  We used to avoid that trail at all costs, but with the help of the horse trainer, we knew we and our horses could handle it.  It was steep, so I stood in my stirrups and leaned up over Rock's neck while giving him all the rein.  He usually runs up hills to keep his momentum, but this time he got three-quarters of the way up and stopped.  I thought, "Oh oh," because we were teetering on the side of this cliff and I didn't know if he'd have the strength to get going again without slipping back down.

We think now that he was hesitating because Gabbrielle was hesitating, and he wanted to encourage her to catch up.  Once he heard her hoof beats behind him, he finished his climb and we made it to the top.  I turned just in time to see Gabbrielle trotting into a bush and whacking P.S. with it.  Naughty horse.  But now we are happy, because we can tell the horse trainer that we made it up that trail by ourselves.  One more challenge checked off our Scary Stuff List.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

Oh pretty cactus flowers! We dont have any yet maybe another month yet.
Sounds like a wonderful ride, and riding calm makes everyone calm seems like some people have it and some dont. I try but I could use more practice