Monday, November 5, 2018

Back in the Fall

The last riding entry I made was amidst my attempt to play catch up on the blog - the rainy day ride with AJ and N. I have several other rides I need to write about, so let's play catch up with the two that followed shortly after the rain ride!

The following day from our rain ride was sunny - bright and beautiful!

So much so that I managed to coerce a good friend of mine to come play ponies for the afternoon. Truth be told, it doesn't take much to convince J to come drive Spud, because he enjoys the little sensitive red-head and does a pretty decent job of driving him, too!

The horses were pretty good, but I remember Annie being a very large butt-face when I tied her. Usually, I tie her very close to my tack room, but on this day I tied her farther away so Spud could be closer for J to get his gear on. Unfortunately, even though Annie was (quite literally) a few feet away, she just could. not. So, she pawed, snorted, clacked her tongue and threw her head around.

Since our last farrier appointment she found out how to play with her tongue.
Here she is in all her glory, yawning and flapping her tongue about because LIFE
Sidenote: her white flecks are very noticeable now with her Fall coat!
I left her to have a hissy fit while I helped J brush out Spud and ignored Annie's antics. She got the message pretty clearly, and nearly five minutes later Annie had become subdued and quietly waited.

She's hilarious though, because if I walk towards her, she gets kind of excited like she can't contain how much of a good girl she was being. She doesn't do anything naughty, but will look at me and bob her head up and down, as if encouraging me to continue coming closer. In the Winter time last year, I was a mean horsey momma and would walk towards her, only to walk past her and continue whatever I was doing, haha.

Despite it being a nice day, I didn't have a ton of time to go riding, so we opted to do the subdivision loop. It ranges from 35-45 minutes in length on the bigger horses and with Spud, it can take anywhere from 50- 60 minutes on a good day.

A beautiful day!
I remember it was a really fun day - the sun was shining, the dogs were happily bounding along the gravel sides of the roadway and the horses were quite well behaved. Annie was cool and collected as I swung up, munched on her little treat, and off we went. We did do some sporadic trotting, but mostly took the time to enjoy a leisurely stroll on two very well behaved horses and caught up on a few things since J doesn't live here anymore and was just up for a brief visit.

We played a few games along the way, since it was garbage day, and I dared J a few times to trot in between a few sets of garbage cans, which both Spud and Annie did with zero hesitation. We also wandered through some construction cones and such, which was fun.

Are you ready for a ride, Spud?
"Heck yes I'm ready!"
Towards the end of the ride, I was feeling particularly brave and trusting of Annie and mentioned I was going to drop my bridle for the remainder of the walk home. We were probably a short 2 minute walk from the barn, and Annie felt responsive and quiet, so I figured why not. I do prepare myself to jump off if necessary, but I find as though once I can "feel" Annie is in a certain frame of mind, going bridleless is a very quiet and calm thing. I do want to do more of it in the ring because a fenced area makes me feel less nervous, haha. I do know anything can happen though, so regardless of being in a ring or not, I let J know I was dropping my bridle and to stay a little further away from me and that if I needed to, I would jump off.

That being said, I wouldn't do it if I didn't feel confident in my horse and on this day, I felt that confidence.

And Annie was picture perfect.

So much so that Spud and J trotted up ahead while Annie and I stayed halted behind so J could get the following video of us trotting on the roadway for the very first time.

She is such a good bean. As you can see, she has
no problems going slow lol.
I was really proud of her. She seems to really like the bridleless stuff and while I am not necessarily comfortable enough to advance it beyond our short little stints like this, I am looking into purchasing her a hackamore to transition more from the bit to a neck rope. I have high hopes and aspirations to play around with this whole bridleless stuff next year (with the clicker ;) ).

With that ride completed, we made a plan to head out again in the coming days. The horses got two days off and then on October 12th, J and I took them out again (sans dogs) for a bit more of a funner ride.

Annie tied nicely this day and I ended up having to move her anyways to get Spud's cart out of the other stall she was parked next to. I'm glad I have good horses, because I nearly fell out of the stall pushing his cart... it bang and clanged and fell into the aisleway with a loud crashing sound. I am... not elegant by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, we got the horses tacked up in record time and off we headed to the fairgrounds arena!! Once there, I took some time to school Annie in the large meadow. She felt a bit bulgy in her shoulder and VERY behind the leg. So much so that I had to over-under her with the reins a few times. I managed to salvage a bit of the ride, but I really needed a whip (which I unfortunately did not have). So I squeezed out some good canter, some simple changes, and sitting trot before picking any more fights about forward and ended it there.

A photo of the handsomest potato, and our sweet Ella bean <3
(This was taken during our first ride).

I hopped off and instructed J with Spud while hand-walking Annie around so she wouldn't get cramped joints from our little school.

It was fun watching J work with Spud. Spud is a very kind pony, but he isn't generous - he'll do exactly the minimum effort unless you ask for more.

I had them do a few exercises to get Spud's motor running, because he was also very behind the leg (or... cart, haha?). A few times, I hollered at J to crack a rein over his butt for ignoring his cue to trot, so he did and Spud got VERY UNICORN PONY ANGRY. He bucked in the cart shafts, so I hollered again, "Give him another one, he knows he isn't allowed to do that." So he got another bad boy smack... another buck... another smack... another buck...

You can see where this is going.

Thankfully, after his last residual buck, he had less mini unicorn opinions and went straight to work.

A sneak peek.
There are times I wish he was a full sized riding horse and there are times I am eternally grateful his sensitive soul is only in a 34" package. This was one of those times, lol.

Anyways, after that little display of theatrics, Spud was back to his professional little self and absolutely rocked the schooling session him and J went through. Of course, the rapid succession of transitions also fired him up so much that he was *ready* to rock and roll for our next task.

I had told J we were going to canter the horses through part of the fairgrounds trail and altho J was a bit apprehensive (I gave him the whole "watch out for roots, make sure you don't go too close to either edge of the trail, help him around the corners, rate his speed, etc and I think it scared him more than prepared him, haha), we set off with Spud in front of me and Annie to set the pace. J was conservative, and popped Spud into a quiet and slow trot. I smirked, kissed at Spud and laughed uncontrollably as the little pony nodded his head back and leaped into a canter.

He knew what to do as soon as he heard the cue and his game face was on! We cantered along the stretch of trail and surprisingly, Annie and I had to canter a few times to keep up. Spud was boogeying!

^Sound off, unless you want to hear me cackling like
a hyena.

As the trail came to an end, both horses knew the drill and instinctively dropped to a trot and finally a sedated walk. J had forgotten to maneuver Spud along the last bit of trail and his cart caught onto a root, but it managed to roll over it. After that, the horses walked along, heads low and quiet.

It was a fun day, and even more fun to share it with a friend.

The last ten minute stretch before home, I decided to test my balance and Annie's saint-hood by going side-saddle. Annie could have cared less, so I thought let's try trotting.

The thing about trotting in a NON side saddle while trying to ride side saddle is that you will most likely (probably) fall off and smash your face.

Prior to the near face-falling, ahha. Poor Annie.

Thankfully, this didn't happen.

But it mostly didn't happen because as we went to trot, Annie was like, "Lady, you are half a second away from biffing it over my shoulder" and immediately slowed to a walk, "No way Jose, we are NOT going faster than a walk. Not with your immense lack of balance."

I laughed and it took J a second to realize what just happened (he is admittedly not a horse guy, but he's picking it up quickly). What a good mare though to feel that and make an executive decision to keep me safe. It made my heart smile a bit, thinking of my unbalanced nieces/ nephews and how Annie would probably take care of them too.


  1. what fun rides. and omg a fullsize Spud might be able to take over the world :)

    I am so glad you had those nice fun times out on the trail. Winter is coming for sure and those memories are great to think about on those cold night! :)

    Spud is the cutest. And Annie what a good girl. Bridleless, side-saddle what won't you try? HA

  2. Spud hamming it up to the camera is the cutest thing. Its so cool you have that sub division to venture in!

  3. That head on photo of Spud is the cutest thing I've seen all day. Aww!