Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My little (western) pony

Yesterday was such a beautiful fall day I couldn't resist enjoying it with Charlie, even though Monday I worked 10 hours and so far on Tuesday I had started at 6 am at the barn where I mucked and fed and then rode 4 horses leaving around 11:30 only to go work outside from 12:30-4 at Job #2...I was a little tired...

As a result I decided to try one of Connie's western saddles for my ride, rather than use my jumping saddle, so if Charlie acted up I'd feel more secure, especially since we'd be out alone. Unfortunately neither saddle fit Charlie well, damn high withers, but I was able to at least rig one of them up with a wither relief pad similar to with my English saddle that seemed to do the trick, at least in the short term.

I had been wanting to explore some of the trails behind Connie's house since they had started to develop the lots there and I was curious if the nice trails still existed. There was one in particular I wanted to find with a small water crossing since Charlie has some water issues. We ended up finding it and the trails back there are just as nice as I had remembered. However, I guess because of the construction and new water runoff pattern the small creek was now just a mud pit :( I didn't figure this out, unfortunately, until I had gotten off to coax Charlie to go through what appeared to be only 1" of surface water on foot; actually it was 1" of surface water concealing ankle deep disgusting mud and rot. We went across once along the side and were fine; it was on the way back that I discovered it wasn't all solid ground and we both got covered in grossness. Charlie, bless his heart, trudged through right beside me. Good boy, bad Lauren; what a ruin of a lesson. 
Looks quite innocent, covered with leaves
After scrubbing myself clean with handfuls of dry leaves and finding a stone from which to mount up we were off once again. It was peaceful 90% of the time. Charlie did have one moment when he wanted to jump a little log across the trail and I forgot I couldn't jump in western tack so I got nailed in the gut by the horn and then slammed on his back. Needless to say he wasn't happy about that and gave some good bucks afterward (thank god for the western saddle to help hold me in!). After that he was a bit excited and while cantering up one hill he grabbed the bit and took off, doing his classic "running buck" which is pretty much a round and bounding leap after leap, like a carousel horse on speed. Whenever Charlie tried to speed up after that I would pull a quick one-rein stop and turn a 180 in the other direction. He figured out pretty quick that the goal was one speed, walk, and when I said whoa I meant it.

All in all it was a good ride, and I was really glad for the western saddle. I love my jumping saddle, but especially when going out alone on the trails (which is mostly what I'm doing around here right now) you can't beat the comfort and extra sense of security of a western saddle; it is so much easier to sit through bad behavior in that than in my close contact!

I've been wanting a western saddle for awhile, but I think I'll have to seriously start looking for one of my own so that I can continue riding safely this winter without having a ring. I miss doing ring work (never thought I'd say that!) and feel that Charlie is slipping a little without it, but I'll be darned if I won't continue doing what I can to ride this winter without one! 

Doesn't he make a dapper cow horse?


  1. I still love my western saddle for that very reason, glad he was behaved e en playing in mud ;)

  2. Oops! But maybe it turned out to be a good learning experience anyway. :-) Never rode English Saddle but loved riding Western.....guess it's what you're used to and the type of stuff you do in it. :-)