Monday, July 7, 2014

get back in the saddle.

 Finally got some time in the saddle this weekend. I admit, I’ve been putting it off, and putting it off and putting it off. My confidence is at an all-time low, and the longer I was out of the saddle, the less, and less confident I was becoming. Excuses?  I have tons of them as to why I didn’t want to ride.
I’d ridden George a while back, not long after he came home from the trainer. And he was perfect, especially with me being as anxious as I was.  But he still has me a bit shaken up. It didn’t help that his attitude got increasingly worse once we sent Duke to the trainer for 30 days. He decided that a hostile takeover of the pasture was in order and he was just an ass around all the other horses. Duke came home last Monday, and George has been put back in his place and is much sweeter than he’s ever been.  He’s quite pleasant, and friendly to be around. But of course he has an abscess that we are dealing with, so riding him this very second, is out of the question.
So we had planned on riding on Saturday, but with temperatures in the upper 90’s with like 100% humidity, we decided that was just cruel to everyone involved. So we sat in the ac all day long and did absolutely nothing. When Sunday rolled around. The temperatures were about perfect for riding. So the husband and I decided to trailer the horses out to one of our favorite spots to trail ride, the Sandhills in the national grasslands.
I planned on riding the new yellow horse, due to the fact that George was out of commission and I’d rather have a friend of mine with more confidence take him out on the trails away from home for the first time. Yellow horse hoped right up into the trailer, and then Duke calmly followed. I gotta say, horses that are easy loaders, are so, so, sooooo much better on my trailer anxiety. When I first started trailering horses I was fearless, and only dealt with horses that would hop right into the trailer. I didn’t even think twice about loading them. Then a freak accident that sent me to the ER to have my head stapled back together changed that and now I am hesitant, and freaked out of being in a trailer with a horse, let alone tying one up, and securing the divider. But the two monsters we brought are nice compact little horses that happily load, and fit nicely in the trailer.
We got to the trail head, and when we pulled up there were a few pickup trucks with flatbed trailers and ramps. People riding 4wheelers, great I thought. Just fantastic. That’s what I need to run into on the trail my first real time out for the year on a horse I’ve never ridden before. But I put that in the back of my mind and unloaded the horses. I tied Yellow Horse (He doesn’t really have a name yet… is that bad?! We just can’t decide what to call him!) up to the trailer which of course freaks me out, because I always have horses that don’t tie and I worried about him freaking out.  He was a champ and stood calm as could be while I groomed him and sprayed him down with fly spray. (anyone else dealing with monster flies that are immune to all and every fly spray this year?!) I kept singing songs in my head to keep calm, and tossed the saddle pad up on his back, and he kept standing there calm as could be. Next was the saddle. I opted for one of our western saddles with a rough out seat. Figured it would keep me locked in a bit incase things went bad. I kept singing and reminding myself everything was going to be fine. Fumbled with cinching him up, I always fumble cinching up western saddles. Also I suck at knowing where exactly to put a western saddle, on a horse and had to have the husband re adjust my saddle. I’ve been riding for how long and I still need help? I mean seriously.

Next up came the bridling portion of our adventure. Little side story here. When we got Yellow Horse, the people selling him said he rode in a tom thumb, or snaffle. Well when we brought him home we tried him in a tom thumb and he was a nightmare. Pistol is ridden in a tom thumb and we have never, ever had an issue.  So we hauled him off to the trainer the day the hubby picked up Duke. They tried a few different bits on him as well as riding him out on the trail, just to make sure he was good to go.  They have him in a Jr. Cowhorse bit, that he worked the best in out of all the bits they tried. Everyone that rode him said he was a nice little horse. Duke also got shining reviews from everyone at the trainer. Duke was almost sold this spring, but after his boot camp, and the wonderful reviews from the trainer, he will be staying with us. Anyways back to the ride yesterday. I slipped the bridle on no problem and then it was time to head out on the trail.
I being a safety nut, strapped on my helmet, as well as my crash vest. Hey, I’ve never ridden this horse, let alone ride him far away from home, in a place he’s never been. I really need to stop defending myself for wearing a helmet AND crash vest… But it’s a force of habit I guess. Not everyone wears helmets around here. Especially not out on the trail. I never did. Even last year when I rode Pistol for the first time out in the sandhills. I’m just a bit more cautious now I guess.
I hopped up into the saddle and remarked about how easy shorter horses are to get on. I think he is 15hh but feels like 12hh compared to all 16.3hh of George or 16hh of Pistol. And like that we were off. I kept telling myself it will be okay. Riding is fun. The people that rode Yellow horse at the trainer said that he doesn’t have any buck in him, but what would they know, they rode him once! So I kept myself guarded. The trainers also said that he needed to be ridden in spurs. So I wore mine.  I don’t have much experience with spurs. In fact I don’t even think I’ve earned them yet. I rode Piney in them, but I knew that horse like the back of my hand.  I didn’t have to use them on Yellow horse most of the ride as he followed nicely behind Duke, never getting too far behind. 
Tried to take a picture of the single piece of grass he had sticking out of his mouth like a farmer....

The whole ride I was a bit nervous. But started to feel a bit better as we went along. I think once I get myself sorted out, he is going to be a great little trail horse for us to have around. He did get a bit nervous which about set me over the edge, when husband and Duke were out blazing their own trails. Last year, I would have been able to handle the situation better, but yesterday I was a bit wound up.
We got back to the trailer, all in one piece. And I tied him up and started to untack. Just then a big group of guys on 4wheelers, and dirt bikes came racing up. Yellow horse just looked over like “oh hello people!” Not even barely paying attention. I was a fan of that behavior. As I was taking off the saddle one of the young men came up and mentioned what nice horses we had, and that he hoped they didn’t spook them when they pulled up. He made some small talk, and then asked nicely if I would mind using their cameras to take a few pictures. Of course not. So I took the pictures and as I walked away, I heard him tell the group that they would push their bikes back onto the trailers, and not to start them back up again. I’m assuming that he said that as courtesy to the horses. Which I though was very considerate. 
"Oh, hello motorcycles!"

So all in all, the ride went well. Hopefully riding will get easier for me. I know it will. I just hate how my mind is making me feel about horses. I love riding, but the fact that is scared me to the point of being sick to my stomach. Not cool. 

9 comments:

  1. He is one good looking dude! Glad you're out riding again!

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  2. Yellow Horse sounds like a real solid citizen - like the way he looks, too. Glad your ride went so well. I wear a crash vest on the trail (and helmet of course) too - so don't feel bad about it. Having a wreck makes you more cautious. I'd like to get Pie out on the trail again soon, but don't know that I've got the gumption for it. There are some nice quiet trail horses in our barn, but the ladies who ride them pretty much keep to themselves and don't take others along - like Pie, who can be a bit spooky. Don't know yet what I'm going to do about that.

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    1. My friend has volunteered to take George out on a weekend trail ride. She is a more confident rider than I am. In the back of my mind I know he will be fine, but there is still that nervousness that lingers in the other side of my brain.
      I don't mind riding him around the yard working on our connection, but taking him down the road freaks me out.
      Yellow horse is going to be my ride this weekend when we go camping. Here's to hoping it goes smoothly!

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  3. I wish there were some magic formula to get past the jitters. I think it just takes a few successful rides to help you relax, but that cautious feeling will probably never go away, which is good. Yellow horse is gorgeous. I hope he ends up being the right partner for your needs.

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    1. I hope that he is a good steady eddy for me to get my confidence back on. It sucks being so nervous in the saddle.

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  4. What can I say but you're braver than I am! And what a positive experience you got for that! Great horse for sure. I hope this was a big step forward for you. I sure wish I could get over my nerves!

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    1. Nerves are still there. They sucks. So bad. But positive time in the saddle should hopefully fix that. We are going camping with the horses this weekend with a group of friends. Heres to hoping it goes well!

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  5. How have you been?? I see you're riding again! YH is beautiful. Is this a Heart Horse, or is that spot still open?

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    1. I've been busy! Slowly getting back in the saddle when I can find the time. We are taking a couple monsters trail riding in Hankinson ND this weekend if everything goes well. And headed out to Western ND later this summer with some friends for some riding.
      As for if YH, now known as "Cash", he has all the makings of a HH. But so far that spot is still open ;-)

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