I normally don't ride on the weekends because I'm either too busy or all the neighbors are out distracting and spooking my horses, but I wanted to take Bombay for a test ride myself before the horse trainer came for his next session.
A lot of little things kept happening to expend all my energy and frustrate me. First, my boots rubbed my feet and toes in several locations and after just a few minutes of walking, I felt like my feet were in a vice. Since I don't own a single pair of boots that don't rub my feet, I decided to keep a spare pair of boots and a spare pair of sneakers down in the tack room. Then, I will wear comfortable slip ons while grooming and saddling my horses, and only put on the boots when I'm ready to mount. Boots are for riding, not walking. Either that, or I'm just going to start riding in sneakers. I can't take the pain anymore.
Then I noticed that his lead rope looked like someone had cut off the end of it with scissors. I have no idea when that happened. I suspect it was just a matter of Bombay chewing the end of the rope and destroying it while tied to the trailer a few weeks ago, and I just didn't notice it then.
After I lunged him, I noticed that the horse shopper had lowered my stirrups and never put them back to where they were. I couldn't remember where I had kept them positioned, so I looked at the wear pattern on the holes and set the stirrups based on those. When I mounted, my right leg was in pain and I couldn't move my foot forward to put pressure on his shoulder. I dismounted and discovered that while the left stirrup was four holes down, the right stirrup was only two holes down. So much for gauging based on the wear patterns. I think too many people have used that saddle for me to do that. I settled for three holes down on both sides, but I could probably go four.
Also, the battery on my GoPro camera was dead despite me just charging it the other day. I was pissed and cursing to myself. It seems a lot of my blog posts have been without pictures lately.
Bombay kept walking off from the mount, so I had to repeatedly lead him away from the mounting block to work his feet every which way before bringing him back to the mounting block to rest. My feet were killing me, so I dreaded it every time I had to do this. I just wanted to mount and go, but I also didn't want to let him get away with walking off while a person is mounting. He did that to the horse shopper and embarrassed me. Of course, he never does this when the horse trainer mounts him.
When I finally did mount, I had him stand still for a while and flex. That was good, but then when I cued him forward, he lurched into this crazy fast walk that threw me off balance. I tried to halt him, but he kept going. I thought this might turn into another one of those rides where Bombay takes on a mind of his own and goes rodeo on me.
He did eventually stop, and he was really good about stopping after that. I don't want fast horses. I want relaxed horses. I want them to go at a relaxed pace and not feel like they are in a race.
I practiced neck-reining him by laying the outside rein against his neck, pushing his outside shoulder, and then going to the direct rein if he didn't respond. He didn't respond right away to the first cue, but once I put pressure on his shoulder, he turned fast. I felt like I was on a reining horse. Only a couple of times did I have to use the direct rein, so he's halfway there.
Once I rode him a bit, he settled down and realized that all of his speed and jerkiness was making me nervous, so he went back to the relaxed horse he used to be. I neck-reined him around the mounting block and rubber trough in both circles and figure eights.
Then the horse neighbors who live behind my round pen had company over, and they all stood outside talking, which sucked up all of my horse's attention. I couldn't get him to focus, and he had his head up as high as it would go. Eventually, the company drove off, but then the neighbor started slamming trailer doors and dragging trash cans around while I was riding, and Bombay did not want to take his eyes off the location the noises were coming from. I tried my best to ignore all of it, but me ignoring it didn't influence my horse any. If he's worried about something, he's going to keep his eye on it.
I thought about removing my boots and walking around barefoot to put all the tack and grooming supplies away, but I knew I'd just injure my feet worse. I always go down to the barn with great expectations to ride multiple horses, and then reality hits. My body sucks. If I love horses as much in my next life as I do now, I'd better be given a healthy, well-formed body so that I can actually enjoy them.