I was resting this afternoon, when the phone rang. It was my neighbor, asking if I would like to go on a trail ride. OF COURSE!!
So I tacked Tang up, searching everywhere for everything (I'm in the process of making a "tack room" in the storage shed, so it's still scattered everywhere), and taking way more time than I thought it would!
But eventually, I mounted up, and off we went. I'm not far from BLM; it's literally just up the road. Getting there involves riding on our gravel roads, and I'm sure, even with Tang's excellent feet, she may be a little sore for a couple of days. Not enough that I'll put shoes on her, though - with her "dinner plates" it would be prohibitively expensive! She has awesome feet though, and didn't pick up any rocks at all.
It was really fun - my neighbor and her husband are older than I am. I'm guessing she's in her mid-sixties, and I know he's 81. They ride most of the year for a local cattle outfit in exchange for hay - what a sweet deal that is!! She led most of the way and Tang was happy to follow. She only got excited (for her) once, when she didn't follow my directions, and got separated from the other horse by a few trees. I made sure that she didn't drag me through the junipers just to get back to him, and then she was fine (really, all she did was snort and whinny a little - no dancing).
When Dad and Wilma were here the first time, I tried my old Wintec saddle on her, and it looked like it fit. I was pleased because the other ones are leather, or antique and leather, or my dressage saddle. I could go bashing around in the woods and not worry about banging up the saddle.
This is the saddle I used today. I like them - they're very comfortable, only weigh 8 lbs (I used one for endurance riding for a long time), and, I thought, seemed to fit. You can see what's coming...
When we got home, and I took the saddle off, there were ridges in her back where the panels pressed down, away from her spine. I was horrified. She's such a patient, kind horse - I'm sure this was very uncomfortable. So the Wintec is on the sale block - cheap!!
This means that I either a) ride in the Passier , which is very comfortable, and fits her well, but is vintage (built in 1964), and leather, and I would worry about it, or b) use my dressage saddle, which is synthetic, also fits her well, but I'm not sure I want to bang around in it either. Oh well, I'll figure something out!
I did get to practice some things we've been working on, even though we mostly walked. When I asked her to move one direction or another, I consciously used my outside rein as a "wall" - it worked very well, and she followed the cues nicely. She's also getting a little better about moving off my leg (like away from branches) - a little better, but still needs more work on that.
All in all, we had a wonderful ride. When we got home, she was a little concerned that her "buddy" was leaving (their driveway is around the corner from mine), and we did a couple of little circles to get over that, but because she could see him as we walked up our driveway, and the rest of the geldings (who were quite excited that their girlfriend had returned), she was fine.
With the promise of more opportunities to ride, I'm feeling very comfortable having her home.
(sorry Michelle - no pictures. Next time, I promise!!)