Rock was lying asleep on his side when I was ready to ride, and I didn't have the heart to make him get up. The neighborhood was quiet, so I decided to take advantage of the lack of activity by riding in my own arena. As long as the creeper didn't lurk around down in my arroyo and pop up out of bushes, we should have been fine.
I expected that I'd be riding more often in my arena after the next door neighbors moved out and I no longer had to contend with their barking guard dogs, but for some reason, I just never used the space. I suspect now that I'm planning on riding there more often, someone with barking dogs will move in next door.
I've been running into trouble on both the trails and in my back yard these past few weeks due to the population explosion. I'm trying to expose the horses to all the people and their activities while I've got the horse on the end of a lead rope, because I just have more control of my horses from the ground. I know other people who have said they feel safer in the saddle, because they have better control there. It's just that I've done so much ground work with the horses that they will respond to cues I give them using my hands and the rope. It's never happened, but if a horse should get away from me, at least it will run back to the barn with just the lead rope dragging behind it, which is better than the horse dragging me behind it.
If you've seen some of the reactions that Bombay and Gabbrielle have to other equines on the trail, you'd understand why I wouldn't want to be in the saddle with all that going on. I've learned that Bombay and Gabbrielle are terrified of mules, gaited horses, and galloping horses, and there a lot of them out there on the trails this time of year. Rock and Lostine are the only horses who can keep their wits about them under those circumstances, and I can't ride Lostine anymore, and I don't want to ride Rock exclusively. The other horses need attention too.
So I rode both Bombay and Gabbrielle in the arena, spending time getting used to how they feel, and finding out what they need to work on. Bombay doesn't need to work on anything other than focusing. He'd occasionally pop his head up to look at something off in the distance. Amazingly, Gabbrielle was more confident riding around the arena, but she needs fine-tuning. I'd lay the outside rein on her neck and remove it as soon as she started turning, but she'd keep turning in a circle even though I took the pressure off. I don't need a reining horse. So, I had to straighten her out and figure out a way to communicate when she needs to stop doing what I asked. With Bombay, he was cognizant of every cue I gave him including the release, so he'd stop turning at the release and I could make very minor adjustments in his direction.
Love this saddle...
But it doesn't influence her to try to look pretty. She does her own flexing when you mount...
I've been reading a book on rider fitness, so I did some exercises from the book on both horses. They were really good and didn't assume that I was asking them to do anything. They stood still while I did my workout in the saddle.
I can't even get a full night's sleep anymore because I have no padding left in my shoulder and hip joints. When I lay on my sides, I'm woken by the pain.
In this picture, Gabbrielle is facing the coyote den...