Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three Days of Adventure

This was actually a pretty good week for me overall. 
Tuesday was possibly the best ride over fences that I've ever had. I rode a big chestnut gelding named Skeeter. He was kind of lazy on the flat, but he became very excited once we started jumping. We started with a crossrail, and ended up jumping four jumps total. I didn't lose my stirrups at all, and I figured something out. In an effort to avoid the "unforgivable sin" of catching the horse in the mouth, I've been sliding my hands up way too far--seriously, three-fourths of the way up the horse's neck. That, in turn, is dragging me forward on the landing. As soon as I figured that out, I started giving less release, still didn't catch the horse's mouth, and didn't get thrown forward over the jump. I didn't like Skeeter's canter, but I cantered him over a few of the jumps. He tried really hard for me, and I enjoyed riding him.
I rode another new horse on Thursday. His name was Amber, the poor thing. He was a small chestnut gelding, and he was so soft and fuzzy. I loved petting him. He didn't like it when I touched his ears. I enjoyed riding Amber as well, even though he had a medical problem where he couldn't take the right lead. We just counter-cantered one way, that's all :) We had to switch halfway through the lesson, though, and I rode Dutch again. I had to do a pattern on Dutch, which the whole class judged. I ended up being placed third in the class. I think it really depended on what horse everyone had. Some of the horses simply won't canter when asked. Some simply won't stop. Dutch didn't want to stop at the gate when I asked him to, and we went several strides too far. Oh well. I think I rode the pattern well, even though Dutch didn't cooperate at the halt.
Today was awesome, plain and simple. 
I went to the barn and Larry made us rake leaves and walnuts in the yard for a really long time. It wasn't bad, really. It was a gorgeous day, and I really hate stepping on those walnuts. After we finished the section near the house, Larry ordered pizza for us and we ate lunch on the porch. I normally don't eat dairy products, so I'm not feeling very good right now, but it was still fun. Then, we went out to ride and play with the horses. We did a lot of fun stuff while we rode today. My sister, Elizabeth, and I did a "turtle race," where the slowest horse won. My sister and Sissy won; Sissy was the only western pleasure horse in the bunch, so of course she was the slowest :) We also had a few real races at the trot. Stella and I won the race once or twice. We also took turns cantering around the ring with no reins. Stella was very good when we did that. I used my reins to cue her, placed them on her neck, spread my arms like I was flying, and had a lovely canter. She really didn't even need reins to stop. I just used my seat a little and gave her a little "whoa." I also rode sidesaddle for a little bit, but I only did it at a walk. I thought about riding bareback, but I decided that wouldn't be a good idea. Stella just isn't a comfortable bareback horse. Her withers are just too bony. Maybe I'll invest in a bareback pad or something. After our ride, Stella and I did a little showmanship, hands-free. I let her go and she walked beside me. I clucked and started jogging, so she trotted beside me. I turned, so she turned. I halted, so she halted. It was really cool.
What Stella did during her bath was NOT cool, though. I was trying to get her onto the black mats, and she decided to rear up. She went up and over, got up, and trotted away. She let me catch her on the other side of the barn, but she was muddy and really needed a bath after that incident. She hates the mats, as you can tell. 
Oh, yeah, and we went on an adventure before we had our pizza. We went into the woods and had a lot of fun swinging on vines. There was one that we held onto and could swing, and there was another that was suspended between two trees that we could sit and swing on. Then, we found a place that was full of a lot of old junk. There were a lot of interesting things. We had so much fun today. Mindy is supposed to come over tomorrow, so we'll have even more fun before I have to go to school.

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