Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Goodbye Spring

Well, it may seem that, in fact, Maddie and I got ate by the piranhas, but actually we've just been too busy RIDING! Kate, too, though tonight was going to be her turn after work, and the wind has come up again, and it's COLD again, and wah, wah, wah.

But I will give an update:
After Maddie's adventure in the training pasture, I saddled up Kate. (Sorry, photographer went back in the house. I'll fill in with related old pics.) Warming up in the arena, I did get a few steps of lope out of her, but the second attempt ended in a stumble, and she is even more convinced that she can't do that with me aboard. She gets such a nasty face when I ask her to move out, that I may have someone take a second look at my saddle fit, and see if there's something pinching her.

After that, I noticed that the neighbors were out in the cattle pasture doing something; that meant the gate was open (cows were eating) and we could ride right in (and this old lady wouldn't have to find a make-shift mounting block). So we did!
Kate and I circled the herd about 25 feet out, and rode down to where the ranch kids were trying to catch one little late calf that needed his vaccinations. Asked their Mom (in the truck) if there was any problem with me moving in among the cows and calves, and she said "Heck no! Can't get 'em worked up any more than the boys have!" So off we went.

In and out, waking up several dosing calves, who would jump up, startled, and run off. Kate didn't seem to notice or care. One black cow came towards us, looking like she might challenge our presence, but then she mooed, located her calf, and turned tail.

At one point a calf skittered right under Kate's nose, and I expected her to react. As I was watching it leave, Kate suddenly jumped towards it! I never did see what spooked her from the opposite side, but she went right back to moseying along. A little later, the boys chased a bunch of cows and calves up from the pond (where the calf they were trying to catch had retreated), straight at Kate. Again, no reaction. Nothing. NADA! Maybe I've got a cow horse here, though Kate is so inherently lazy that I don't know that she would ever actually work them....

Sunday, I got distracted by some other stuff, and didn't get out to ride 'til 3:00-ish. Since I want to take Maddie to a little 4H schooling show next weekend, she was my first ride. And since the green horse classes are pretty limited, and I can double my time in the arena by showing her English as well as Western, it was time to try her in my new (to me) Crosby Prix de St. George! Not wanting to change everything at once (I've had that backfire on me once, big time) I used the same Western snaffle bridle that she is used to (this is a photo from last spring, when I first got the saddle--can't believe this is the first time I've actually gotten to RIDE it!).

She was a dream! (So was the saddle.) I really need to build my stamina and leg strength, so we would do posting trot until my legs turned to jelly (not very long), then do bending and flexion exercises at the walk for a bit. Then repeat. Several times!

Then time for a bath, not wanting to depend on the weather to cooperate on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. She's about the farthest along on shedding out, and I've been working on the pretties (trimming bridle path, fetlocks, etc.), so she looked pretty darn presentable when we got done with the sudsies!

By then, however, after three rides in two days, I could barely walk! I decided to give Kate the night off, and work baby sister (two year old) Amy on showmanship--thinking I might take her to town next weekend, as well.
MISTAKE!Amy was an absolute snit! Terrible twos, personified. Wouldn't lunge, would stand, wouldn't halt, wouldn't trot in hand, wouldn't stay outta my space! By the time we worked through all that, it was all I could do to feed, throw a pizza in the oven, and collapse!

Next day at school, I was moving so funny, everyone kept asking if I'd had a wreck. Couldn't ride Monday (late school meeting). By Tuesday, walking almost normally, raced home and got on Maddie again, this time in my full cheek snaffle in the English headstall. Trot sets for half an hour, with a very nice response to the change in bridle. Sometimes it actually perks them up and enhances their response to try something new.

Tonight, I'm stalling to see if the wind dies down before the sun goes down (it doesn't look like it's going to--high wind advisory until 9:00). In the meantime, supper's ready.


  1. Wow, it must feel good to be doing all that riding again. I'll bet even the stiffness feels kind of good! Hurrah for Spring! Love the idea of Kate being so calm with the calves.

  2. It DOES feel good, in a convoluted kinda way! With so much young stock, and Corky's seizures, and all the work to do around here, I hadn't riden hardly at all for 6-8 years (except for Zoe)! Last summer, starting both of these girls, I rode more than I had in the previous 10 years. And I plan to do even more this year. I'll keep you posted....

  3. Spring left us high and dry ( as well yesterday. Good thing we got the run-in anchored or it would have tried to run off again.

    Good luck with your sore muscles. My quads are killing after a busy flyball day on Sunday. about 100 times.