Thursday, September 29, 2011

When leaves attack

It wasn't the only thing I accomplished yesterday, but it was the one thing I was happiest to have done.  T got the garden tilled for fall and I hosed off the trailer mats and rinsed the walls down.  I stick a couple of buckets under the low edge at the back to catch the run-off, and pour it on the flowerbeds - I figure it's good fertilizer, and better than letting all that water just run down the street.

92' here yesterday.  And no breeze to speak of.  The cold water felt fantastic, although I needed a real shower by the time I got done.It's not pristine, but it's clean enough for now.  I'll do a more thorough job when winter's a bit closer.

T had stuff he wanted to finish up, but J and I rode.  It was too late to monkey with Sunny and Thunder by the time we got started, so since T wasn't going, I just rode Rufus.  Rufus needs a trim and set - we rode the dead mile, and his shoes are worn enough that he was finding the grassy footing a lot slicker than either of us liked. 

Had to laugh at him, though - he didn't like the long weeds catching at his tail much, and at one point he tucked his butt way under and sort of scooted forward like something was after him.  I thought he'd picked up a dead stick or rattly weed, but when I turned to check it was only a fist-sized dead leaf sitting on his hind end.  So silly.  Good thing we weren't riding today - the way the wind is blowing he'd be inundated with leafy attackers.

Rufus is fun to ride occasionally, but I wouldn't trade Sunny for him on a regular basis.  He isn't as careful about where he puts his feet for one thing, and he's not as sure-footed, either. Old shoes don't help of course, but even when he's newly shod he doesn't pay as much attention to where his feet are going, and when he gets distracted, he trips over things.

On the plus side, though, Rufus has lovely walk-lope and trot/lope transitions, and riding him more is helping me figure out where I'm going wrong with Sunny.  Sunny prefers the right lead, and will pick it up nine times out of ten no matter what I think I'm asking for.  And I'm figuring out that's not all his fault.

See, if I cue properly, Rufus will take the correct lead - i.e. the one I've asked for - every time.  But the more I ride him, the more I'm realizing I have a tendency to muddle my left lead cues.  When I get it wrong with Rufus he crossfires, scrambles into a sprawled out trot, or does his letter U imitation to the left.  He's trying to do whatever it is he thinks I'm wanting him to do, which in his mind, isn't lope.  So... if I practice on Rufus until I can get him to step into the left lead as automatically and sweetly as he does the right, then I'll know I'm at least being as consistent with Sunny.  And that, combined with lots of left-lead circles will hopefully be a step in the right - or left - direction.

We covered about 6 miles.  It was still warm enough when we left that the horses got a bit sweaty the first couple of miles, but even though we kept them at a pretty steady jog most of the way, it had cooled off enough that they were dry by the time we got home.  Finishing a good ride on a beautiful fall day just fading into a spectacular sunset has to be one of the very best things ever.

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