On the Road
Although I’ve gotten plenty of ride time in the past few weeks, very little of it has been on my own horses. Fortunately for me, Melissa and Rich are keeping the ponies going. When I am working at expos, I usually borrow a horse to ride in my demos and this month I’ve enjoyed riding two horses that I know.
In Pennsylvania, I rode Smoke, a gorgeous champagne cremello Paint stallion that I also rode last fall at Equine Affaire. He’s an awesome horse and we’ve developed a great rapport.
Last weekend, in California, I rode Scouter, an AQHA gelding that I’ve had the pleasure of riding for years. He belongs to my good friend Ron Radmer and Ron, Scouter and I go way back. He’s got such a great handle on him that I often pop the bridle off while I am doing demos.
On the Home Front
Melissa and Rich have jumped with both feet into mounted shooting. They’ve been desensitizing Eddie and Annie to gun fire, first from the ground and now from the saddle.
Later this month, they’ll attend a new shooters clinic. The horses made me proud in how quickly they accepted the noise and smoke; they were more worried about the ear plugs. I think Eddie and Rich are going to do very well in this sport!
My old man, Dually (now 18 years old), is enjoying some extended time off from riding while I am on the road. We stretch his legs every day on the free-longe, to keep him fit and strong.
Would love to see comments/articles addressing successful spring restarts of horses who take a long winter break.
I just rode my racing TB with whom I do distance trail events. It was his first actual ride since October. Though we work some ground school and learn the finer points of ground tying over the winter, we rarely if ever get the chance to do mounted work over the winter. Though I spent several sessions with him on the ground and leading him over the ground we would ride, he still had a few spooks in him. Even though we were doing deep bending at the walk, figures, backing, and halting on a loose rein, that’s just him! No matter how many miles, or how often I attend to keeping his attention, it does not always work with this particular horse. He has his own thoughts and agenda and they are not always mine. And, he’s twelve and done thousands of competition miles (we count…). As spring turns to summer, he will tune into me more fully and become mostly very steady. Yet, there are things I know he will suddenly have a very violent “oh no!’ reaction to – I just don’t know what they are yet because he hasn’t shared it. It amazes me still how a horse with such good training, exposure to all kinds of stimuli, and willingness to do as he is told, still gets completely frightened. My other horse, a steady Eddie type, I could jump on bareback in nothing but a halter and cross streams after he sat all winter. It’s astounding to me how the basic personality of the individual impacts ridabilty. I love both these horses, though they are completely opposite in most ways.
So many people turn to you Julie with confidence and fear issues. Though I think you have very good insights into the mind of not just the rider but the horse. Some prophylactic articles about good horsemanship with spring-like horses would help keep people safer and happier while they enjoy the art of riding well.
Hope to see you over summer Julie and company!