Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

We're Riding!

No way it has been 3 weeks since my last post! Time is flying by.

We started out readying the horses for lessons by getting out and riding. It's a tough job, for sure. What really amazes us is how little time we actually get to spend riding. We kinda thought that would be happening more. Ah well. Every opportunity we have the three of us will grab a horse and Ginger will lead a mock lesson from horseback.

Tacking up

Just can't beat the view

For the past month we've progressed to tackling our friends and family to come out and help us put the ponies through their paces, so that we can be reasonably assured that none of them will turn out to be insane maniacs when we turn the public loose on them.

Marshall and Jess

Saturday morning of Labor day weekend was Ginger's son Matt's and daughter-in-law (Oops! - I was notified I'm a bit premature on this. Read "girlfriend". Sorry y'all. ) Lisa's turn. Lisa had pretty close to never been on a horse before in her life, and her trepidation became more aparent while we were just tacking up. We gave her Harley to ride, our steadfast old gelding whose biggest reaction to date has been to stop and sniff at anything he finds out of place. We knew she'd be safe with ol' Harley.

This session was run more like a real lesson, with Ginger on the ground and the 4 of us riding. This was the first time we'd had all 4 horses ridden at the same time, and I'm pleased as punch to say they all handled it like pros.

Harley, however, decided to surprise us. Not only steadfast, he can simultaneoulsy also be opportunistically stubborn. Lisa, not knowing how to correct him, ended up not too far into the lesson with Harley stopping, backing up and just turning around to head off to who knows where. Ginger hopped up on him for a few trips around the arena, and it was clear we needed to get this small streak of independence taken care of and that Lisa wasn't the one to do it. So came the big horse switch-a-roo. David was riding Jordan, I had Romeo, and Matt had Shoni. Matt was doing well so we thought we'd leave them alone. We wanted to put Lisa on Jordan, our second steadiest horse, but he was wearing an english saddle, which really isn't all that comfortable to ride in just jeans. So, Dave moved to Romeo with the english saddle, Romeo's saddle moved to Jordan - his first time to carry a western saddle no less - and I took Harley.

All this occurred and then I went to help Lisa mount up. Not having paid any attention to her and what she thought of this new plan, I was taken off guard to find her seriously on the verge of shaking in her boots. Have I mentioned that Jordan is a 17 hand thoroughbred? Just as sweet as they come, the term 'gentle giant' fits him to a T. (ok, ok- ignoring my other posts about his 'idiot-moments' - because those have never happened while he was being handled or ridden) Never the less, giant he is. I'm a pretty average height of 5'6". The stirrup hangs approximately 36" off of the ground - about the height of my hip - and his back is essentially even with the top of my head. Standing next to him is a lot like standing next to a warm, dark brown fuzzy wall. A wall that occasionally swings it's head around to look at you. I can understand it might be intimidating.

Dave, Matt, Lisa, Monica

I got to give Lisa credit though - after a few pointers and assurances, she crawled on up when I gave her a leg up. We restarted the lesson, and in no time they were trotting around like pros. Afterwards she said she had enjoyed riding Jordan.

I had Harley, and he certainly tried to pull some of the same stunts on me that he did with Lisa. It took some real assertiveness on my part to correct him, too. So I guess maybe his training regimen has just taken on a new emphasis



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