Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our First Ride

The Time is Now

Late weekend, we had some very hot and stormy weather. At the same time, Cruiser’s hives came back, and I couldn’t put a saddle on him. So, here I was with no horse to ride and a river so high that I couldn’t take Cole on one of our long walks down trail.

What to do, now…

I guess it is time to ride…

I told my sister that I thought I might ride Saturday morning if the conditions were right. I don’t know what those conditions might be, but I would know if they weren’t right.

Saturday morning greeted us with a high river, hot temperatures and miserable humidity. Sounds like good conditions to me. We started out by taking care of the big guys. Ellen rode Ranger down to the river and up and down the hill a few times, and I followed with Cruiser on foot. Wow, it was a hot a humid morning.

We got back to the barn, and the arena was in use, so we waited. After a while, I got tired of just standing around and figured we would take Cole outside and walk about on the drive. He was very well-behaved—a good sign.

Soon, the arena was free. I decided to do a little lounging to get the bucks out. He was very cooperative. In fact, it was the best lounging he had ever done for me. It was looking like all the conditions were right.

I brought him back into the barn, saddled and bridled him and took him back out to the arena. I led him about, a bit, practicing our walks and whoas. Finally, I figured I should try putting my foot in the stirrup and standing up in it. I had already done this a number of times with to problems at all. I did it, and he was fine. Back on the ground, I took a deep breath and decided it was now or never. Without hesitation and with a deep breath, I told Ellen, “I’m going to do it.”

Ellen was holding Cole by the lead rope that was attached on his halter over his bridle. I rose up, swung my leg over and settled in the saddle. Nothing happened, as I predicted all along, but there was just a sliver of doubt in my mind. Ellen gave him a few pieces of apple, and he decided he liked me in the saddle.

She led him forward, and the first few steps were wobbly, but soon, he evened out. I was able to stop him with the reins, which wasn’t a surprise since I spent a lot of time practicing that on the ground. Ellen had to help me to get him to walk. That wasn’t a surprise, either, as moving forward has always been a problem with him. Whenever he doesn’t understand, he doesn’t do anything. It will be something that we will work a lot on in the future.

He seemed completely comfortable with me in the saddle, and after I stopped trembling, so was I. I was probably dripping in sweat due to the extreme heat and humidity—not my nerves. The heat probably was the reason my heart was racing, too.

After about ten minutes, I decided it was time to quit and dismounted—with a big smile on my face. I accomplished getting him used to the idea of carrying a person on his back. I have so much more work ahead…

This is only the third time I was the first person to ride a horse, and those first two times (Mingo and Cruiser) were a long time ago. Since I was waiting for my other horses to grow up, I had done way more groundwork with them than Cole, so I wasn’t quite as confidant with him. I was so happy it worked out so well.

It is a very exciting thing to experience, and I highly recommend it if you have the chance. There is that moment when you realize that your horse really trusts you, and it is simply awesome!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I want to offer my sympathies regarding Pollie. My mother had a Sheltie name Molly who passed away just recently. My Sheltie Monty was her brother. It just hasn't been a good summer for Shelties. I hope your horses continue to bring you joy and help you through this difficult time.

achieve1dream said...

Congrats on your first ride on Cole!! It sounds like he did fantastic! I'm nervous about riding Chrome for the first time and that's like two years away lol. I can't wait to hear more. I love following along with your adventures with Cole. :)