I am not really sure what is going on with my horse. And I’m not sure if I should be scared or thrilled. Yesterday, the hubby and I decided to go for a quick ride down the road. I have really wanted to ride George, but at the same time, I’ve been dreading it. We treated him for ulcers and his attitude got increasingly worse after we did that. And then he had his abscess, and then the weather sucked, and then I had a million other excuses as to why I couldn’t ride him. So I finally decided that now was as good as time as ever to try him out again.
The weather in North Dakota is a changin’. It’s getting colder but, thank the lord we don’t have any snow yet. So I suited up in my insulated riding breeches (amazing) and then my Mountain Horse Frost Rider boots (AMAZING! Go buy a pair today!!) and then some Under Armor, and some sweatshirts, and my Tipperary vest, and then a down filled North Face vest. It was only about 34 degrees outside so it wasn’t THAT cold, but the wind in ND SUCKS since most of the corn has been harvested now. And then I tromped outside warm as could be.
I got George and then at the last minute decided to ride in my western saddle. He hasn’t been ridden in a western saddle ever, but I figured now was as good as time as any. I then hopped onto the struggle bus and tried to put my saddle up on his back in one graceful movement like you see the people in the movies doing. Nope. Fail. George is a big horse. But you know what? He is a patient horse. He stood there as I struggled to get the saddle on him, and then continued to struggle as I adjusted the girth. As I was tightening the girth, I expected him to take a chunk out of me. Nope, first time he just let it happen. His bridle went on without any drama, but then again, he has always been fantastic about bridling. I mean it isn’t his first rodeo.
I walked him around a bit. I don’t know why but I figured there would be some fireworks when he realized that the saddle he was wearing was like no other saddle he’d ever experienced before in his life. But no, he was fine. And then it was time to climb up. You know I’ve always wanted to just put my foot into the stirrup and then gracefully swing up. But there has never been anything gracefully about me getting in the saddle. Ever. I was still on the struggle bus, and realized that George must have grown a foot taller since I put the saddle on. I pulled myself into the saddle, and he just stood there and let it happen. He doesn’t walk off when you mount, which is great. I’d always heard horror stories about ottbs who walk off the moment they feel you in the stirrup. Not the ones I’ve ever ridden. I do like to tell people I trained them not to do that. But that is a bold faced lie.
George was a perfect gentleman the whole ride. well he DID have one moment where he was certain he couldn’t do something. We were trying to go up the ditch onto the road, and he was certain the tall grass was filled with horse eating snakes. He stood his ground, and kicked out his back right foot. Which is what he does when he is upset about doing something. I said forget it, and moved on to something else and then he was fine. With George you need to let him think he is in charge, and that he makes the decisions. If he encounters something he doesn’t want to do, move on to something else and then come back to what he didn’t want to do later. We came back to the scary ditch later, and he had no problems with it. Is this a good training mentality for all horses? No, I’m sure it isn’t. But if George gets it in his head that he ‘can’t’ he is just going to get stressed out, and then get increasingly more distressed until he reaches his breaking point and it is dangerous for all around. When he started kicking out I knew we needed to move on to something different. The rest of the ride was fantastic. He is pretty lazy, and has a nice walk to him. We actually walked home on an extremely loose rein. He wasn’t trying to rush home which was nice.
I am really impressed with George. To be honest, I was a little nervous about him this summer. The attitude he gave me, and the biting. It wasn’t cool. I wasn't sure he was going to be the horse for me. But he is really turning out to be a really great horse. (HA I say that after riding him like 5 times.) I love that he can sit for long periods of time and not be a nightmare to get on. I am lucky that all of our horses can sit around for long periods of time and then are just the same as the last time you rode them.
Speaking of horses… The new horse didn’t work out. We brought him back today. I hate that we had to bring him back, but he started bolting once you got off of him. He was a fun little horse, but he just wasn’t going to work for us. He needs to do his job, and sitting around at our house, wasn’t going to do well for him. It’s pretty sad because he was starting to grow on me. But that’s the way it goes in the horse world right? If we had gotten him in the spring we may have been able to work out his problems. But seeing as how it’s dark 23 hours a day here, and it’s only getting colder and darker, the time we have to work with him is limited. And we wanted a finished horse, not a project horse. He was going to be a bit more of a project then we wanted. I am sad, but that’s the way it goes.