All is finally well because this week I’ve finally gotten myself back into the saddle, twice!
On Tuesday I rode for the first time since last summer, and let’s just say I’ve been real sore ever since. I started off riding one of our new horses on the ranch, Ricky. He was wonderful, and it felt like I was riding on a cloud. Ricky and I started off lunging on the ground, and he did really well – walking, bending and trotting all on a lunge line. I had wanted to lunge him first, so that I could get a better feel for his personality before jumping into the saddle.
Here is what I learned about Ricky during our ride - he is very sensitive to leg pressure and weight. Also, he was very receptive to neck reigning – which is great for our western riding program. We walked, trotted and cantered a bit around the ring. We began by walking and trotting circles and figure eights – working on bending and getting comfortable. Then we moved onto working on his slow trot and even jumped into a few strides of canter around the ring. Ricky was great, and I have no doubt that he is going to be a great camp horse.
Then I jumped onto Snow for a while to walk around. This was the first time that I had even so much as sat on Snow since I brought him home two winters ago. Snow’s shoulder is still visible hurt and I could tell while riding that he isn’t completely sound in that shoulder. I didn’t push him further than a walk because when I tried to cue him up past a walk he pinned his ears back and tried to bite my leg – clearly, I could tell that he was in pain. So I just let him walk when he wanted to walk, but I was content to sit and spend time with him.
Snow had been saddled up when I got on, but I started to think that perhaps the weight of the saddle might be too much for his shoulder as well. (see pic above, I love this saddle, but it probably weighs 40 + pounds) So I took off his saddle and just sat on Snow bareback for a while, and he seemed much more comfortable. I’m going to make it one of my summer goals to work more with Snow – both in the saddle and on the ground, and I think that bareback riding is going to be the place to start.
After three summers working on the ranch, I finally bought a new pair of barn boots – and I’m loving them more than life. Of course, I did my homework and research online before purchasing (aka, I stalked the Ariat website). I settled on a pair of Ariat women’s Terrain Hikers. After one mishap because I ordered them a size too large and had to return for a half size smaller, my feet are now happy, happy, happy.
Yesterday, I laced up my boots at 5:55am and didn’t take them off until midnight, and my feet didn’t complain at all. I’ve worn them at the barn, while riding and even running (and yes, I mean physically running) around camp and town. But perhaps, what I love the most is that they are so multi-purpose! I will absolutely wear them at the barn and while riding, but they will make great hiking shoes for the fall and even *gasp* every day walkers (once I clean off the manure, of course).
xoxo Ariat, SLo
Today I had a serious “think fast” moment, and realized just how much I love that my job has these moments, and keeps me on my toes.
One of the afternoon activities here at camp is afternoon trail ride and the access point to one of the trails is directly through the horse pasture. Usually, this is never an issue because we bring in all of the horses from the pasture while the trail rides are going on. This afternoon, however, the horses were let out into the pasture before two of the trail rides had returned.
At around 4:30 in the afternoon, I heard over the walkie talkie (our main form of communication at camp) that the trail ride needed some help, so I headed across camp to the pasture. As I was running up to the trail ride, I could see that they were attempting to exit the pasture on horse back back while other horses were grazing. This would not have been an issue except that one of the horses saw the opened gate, took advantage of the opportunity to exit the pasture & run into camp.
It all happened so fast. I saw Feather (the horse) charge out of the pasture, so I grabbed an extra lead line that was tied around the neck of one of the trail ride horses (I love slip knots). At this point Feather was coming my way, so I ran at him, took my lead line in both hands and threw the loop up in the air attempting to get it around his neck. By some miracle, the lead line landed around his nose and I wrangled him to a stop. Feather was still in a frenzy and my heart was beating so hard, but I had got him, phewf.
With a little more help, we got the trail rides out of the pasture gate and put Feather back into the pasture to graze for the night. And I think that I can finally say I’ve earned my roping rights as a cowgirl – and now I have a good idea of how I would act in a crisis situation. It’s never a dull day at the ranch.