Monday, August 1, 2011

In which a saddle is (finally) worn

What a weekend! I haven't had so much fun, or been quite so pleased with the boys in quite a while. ALL three of the boys :)

I rode 8 miles on Rufus with J and C. The horses - well, mostly Rufus - were feeling energetic. It was hot, but not quite as sticky as it's been thanks mainly to a nice stiff breeze. Rufus was spotting potential "Arab-eating" monsters on all sides - not to a naughty extent, but he certainly did try to head off in all directions at once a time or two. Brainless moments aside (horse-eating cows??? Really? Rufus, you live with cows - sigh...), it was a lovely ride.

Oddly enough, the whole way these little bronzey-gold - as opposed to the hand-wide black and white monsters circling the ditches - dragonflies kept trying to land on the tips of his ears. Being buzzed by glittery bugs didn't bother him. Just the cows, the odd attack bush, a couple of obviously hostile frogs... Guess he was feeling good!

He loped out ahead of the group willingly, was able to stay back without too much anxiety when someone rode ahead - he's still wanting to slam on the brakes if someone else slows down when traveling at any speed, but I was prepared and for the most part managed to keep his forward momentum up. He's getting a LOT better but I have to say, I'm looking forward to the day when he's a bit less effort! We finished hot, but relaxed, with plans to go again Sunday, but earlier so as to avoid still being out at noon.

By Saturday afternoon it had heated up into the high 90's, but still with the breeze, and I'd promised myself Sunny and Thunder weren't going to get left out of the fun. So... in the late afternoon I headed out to the farm and caught them up. Saddled Sunny English and spent about 40 minutes working on bends, counter-bends, backing patterns through cones, and a tiny bit of diagonal practice for yours truly. Not so sure anything was a spectacular success, although we were starting to sort one another out again - too much trail riding, I guess. I've gotten sloppy and inconsistent, and I could tell. He wasn't resisting so much as confused.

I did learn that I can successfully lean down and re-set cones without getting off while using the English saddle - he's so mutton-withered, leaning that far over with my western saddle is an invitation to sliding sideways. And how cool to know I can rely on him to stand there while I'm stretching down without stepping right out from underneath me, too!

For Thunder's turn, I finally bit the bullet
and snugged the cinch.

You know what? Complete non-issue. I didn't give him a lot of time to stand and think about it, just headed over to the cones to give him a focus other than his new corsetry. Apparently, I needn't have worried. He really couldn't have cared less. So I ran through groundwork stuff with him for 15-20 minutes and decided I'd had enough par-boiling. I was literally soaked to the skin. Bleh. Unsaddled, brushed both of them as dry as possible given the heat, and turned them back out.

By the time I got everything packed up, they were down eating. That haze? High humidity - I heard on the radio on my way back into town that the heat index was running over 100'. At 6:50 in the evening.

I'd hoped to squeeze in a shower, but C was running in a Blazing Barrels/SDBHA at the rodeo grounds, and it started at 7 pm. It was still so icky hot, I figured I might as well go I was. Stopped at home long enough to drop the trailer off and drink a bunch of water. Of course as it turned out they were running behind, so I would have had lots of time for a shower. But then again, I'd have needed another one by the time I got home anyway, so it was probably just as well.

About 80+ riders, and a bunch of people were running exhibition... then the peewees... And C and her friend had drawn numbers in the 70's. Which meant a long wait - good thing I never mind watching barrels! Thankfully they reversed the order for the second go, and of course by then a lot of trailers had pulled out anyway.

C finished in the money, just, and she would have done better if she'd rolled her time from the first go. But she took it in good humor, declaring she was glad of the practice the additional run offered. There were 2 runs in the 15s, but not very many in the low 16s. I obviously need to go be supportive more often - I'm not very quick at catching the subtleties. Missed leads, bad entries, and late turns, yes; but the nuances of form, not so much. Still it was a lot of fun to watch, and once it finally cooled down I got to enjoy some supper (brat w/ plenty of mustard, and lovely golden fries w/ ketchup, YUM!) that I didn't have to cook!

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