Hmmm...what in the world is happening in this photo? Is that me on a new horse? In my last post did I say that I would not be riding this year in Florida? And did anyone believe me? I believed it. I purposely did not bring my saddle or saddle pads or girth to keep me grounded. I did bring my hardhat and boots (just in case a wild horse ran by me on the beach and I might have to jump on to make an emergency stop). I brought a bitless bridle because I knew I would visit my friends from the barn and maybe one of them would like to try it out.
On Black Friday I did go to the barn to visit my friend Barb. When I headed out the door in the morning, I told Maizie and Brian that I would be back in an hour. Brian winked and said, "See you after lunch." Before Barb got to the barn, I ran into Mandy, the fabulous trainer at Bareback Ranch. She is quiet and kind to horses - one of the best horsepeople I know. She said, "I think I have a horse for you!" I explained that I wasn't going to do horses this year, but Mandy smiled and said that I could just try him on the trail that day.
This is Chaunson, a 9 year old chestnut Appendix gelding. He is 15.3 with a very dishy face and full of love and a little spunk. Chaunson's owner is temporarily injured so Chaunson needs some attention and light exercise. As I was grooming him up a little friend appeared behind us in the doorway.
The barn somehow adopted this new addition! He stood right behind me and quacked and talked to me the entire time I was cleaning Chaunson's back hooves. His long tongue was moving a mile a minute in sweet ducky?goosey? type words.
Side view of the new boy - all Thoroughbred-y in the front and Quarter horse in the back! Mandy put a western bridle on him for me and I got on in the ring, but he kept throwing his head around. I asked her if I could try the bitless and he liked it immediately. I felt a little naked riding a horse I didn't know bareback, but I knew I could just slide off and walk him if I had any problems.
I headed out on the trail with my friends Barb and Tom. Here they are above looking like the wonderful Cowgirl and Cowboy that they are! So adorable on their matching Paints. I just adore these people. Barbara leases sweet Titan and Tom rides Norton and they ride together all the time. Just like last year on our amazing Black Friday ride, this year we hit the two equestrian parks with bridges and ponds and a zebra and miles of trails. It was a fabulous time!
Chaunson was willing and wonderful for the whole ride. He walked right across a scary bridge and anywhere I asked him to go. I went back on Saturday and rode again, this time with Niki and Max (Max is still at the same barn and Niki still gets to ride him once a week - hooray!) and Barb on Titan. Here we are, below, getting ready to go to the trail. Niki is leading Max and Barb and Titan are behind. Once we get through the barn gate, they get on their horses and we walk on the sidewalks to the parks. There are buttons to push on poles that stop traffic and allow us to cross streets at horse crossings! It is unbelievable!
Chaunson was a good boy, but he is still a little green. He was apparently left in a pasture for most of his life until recently. He doesn't shy at all, but I do slide off when he gets balky around other horses. I like to walk beside him for a few minutes so he knows that he isn't out on the trail without a friend. He has serious worry about all the other horses and his personal space. He pins his ears and acts nasty if any horse gets too close. His back legs are cut very badly because he jumped out of the pasture when accidentally turned out with another horse. He crossed a busy road and was, thankfully, alright, but my goal is to help him through his worry while riding. Luckily, there are mounting blocks every so often and I also used a couple fire hydrants to get back on. He stands perfectly for mounting - hooray! I know he is interested and likes the ride so I think we can help him find his confidence when riding near others. I may borrow a saddle for some rides - not sure I should be out on a green boy bareback everyday, but it has been fun so far. I told everyone that I am only going to come out a few times a week and I am sticking to that plan!