Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post-Christmas rides

So I've had a pretty good weekend. Lots of riding, of course!

Friday I rode Champ back out to the shack and took some more pictures. He was remarkably good-natured about the whole thing. I fussed with my leg position for a long time then got frustrated and rode home without stirrups. Stupid things are definitely hung too far forward. I'm still trying to decide what to do, in the long term, about that.

Saturday I went to Frayser and rode with James. I got to ride Rascal, James' incredibly fast racking horse, and James rode Surprise, who is still a psycho. A bucking psycho at that. Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures of the trails because I swear to god yall wouldn't believe them otherwise.

This is pretty blurry, but it's representative.

More mud and ruts!

Here's the train bridge. The space under the bridge is just high enough that riding underneath on a tall horse, you can reach up and brush the bridge with your fingertips.
Tracks again

It feels very postapocalyptic back there. Junk, trees, four wheelers, and horses. It's not much of a stretch to imagine zombies too.

There's quite a few long smooth straightaways too. Gas pipeline access roads and open fields. It's a nice mix of places where you can really stretch a horse out in his fast gait versus horrible soupy slippy mudholes where the horse has to pick his way along. A good ride with good company.

Cersei came with us, of course. We rode for nearly two hours, and she had a blast. James and I laughed, thinking about her first few trail rides as a puppy. We'd all start out together, me and James on our horses with puppy-Cersei gamely following. After a quarter mile or so, she'd be worn out so she'd run in front of us, sit down, and start barking. James would get off, grab her, and pass her up to me. I'd stick her in a messenger bag and off we'd go again. After a mile or so she'd squirm and holler so I'd let her down. She'd run like hell for another quarter mile before we started the whole thing over again. I guess it was annoying, but they're not puppies for very long. :)

Sunday I had another frustrating lesson. Things are still slowly coming together, I think. When I read Daun's year in review post, I got all depressed. Seven dressage lessons at the start of '08? Aaaarrrgh why do I suck so ba- wait. She's been riding correctly, with instruction, for like 5x longer than I've been bouncing around in blissful ignorance. I'm probably doing fine.

After the lesson, I went and tried Dixie with double reins. JME had suggested it, in the comments on her post about bitless bridles, and it worked quite well. I had the curb for when she got panicked about the strange feel of the snaffle rein, and the snaffle rein actually did encourage her to bend her body instead of scrambling through a turn only using her feet.

I only rode her for about 30 minutes. Dixie needs to build up stamina, but I think it's important to not fall into a pattern of working her hard every time I ride. Whenever I'm out there, she follows me around like a very large and very nervous puppy. I don't want to squash her interest in me.


  1. That does look like a wild muddy place to ride. Have you ever been going under the bridge when a train came by?

    I have heard that stirrup bars are positioned too far forward on many saddles. The only solution, alas, is a total saddle transplant.

  2. ha ha, i'm picturing the zombies... considering the strange characters i've encountered in the woods while trail riding, zombies don't sound so bad! :-\

    my dog is my best trail companion, but she's around 16 and has trouble keeping up, so we can't go far. she loves it so much, though.

    glad things are going well with the double reins. do keep us posted :-)

  3. WHP - uh, yep, I've ridden under the train tracks with a train going by on top twice now.

    Once was before I started blogging - I was on Champ (the Magnificent) and we were trapped between four wheelers coming from behind us and a train on the tracks. He was this close to coming unglued and I wasn't sure I could get off and hold him, so away we went under the bridge. He didn't ever quite bolt, even when we met MORE four wheelers coming up the other direction on the trail. A wonderful horse.

    The second time was Saturday, actually. The horses were seriously not thrilled - not nearly as magnificent and level-headed as Champ - but James got Surprise to go for it so Rascal and I followed. We got the giggles about it later.

    jme - oh, your dog's a trooper if she's 16 and still heading out with you. Watching dogs and horses get old is so hard. :-/

  4. I have never ridden with double reins and I can't even imagine it. I am sure that I would do more harm than good. Pictures!

    sectu: latin for "just hold on a second"

  5. Hrm. Pictures. I bet I can get Kelly to take pictures of us. I'll see what I can do!

  6. Oh, almost forgot: WHP, I actually could get my stirrups re-hung. I don't know if I could do it myself, but I could get a saddler to rehang them. They're not on bars per se; they're loops that hang off of the saddle tree itself. It's kind of a stupid design - sometimes they slide forward or backwards along the tree, and I can't quite jam them as far back as they need to be. But it could definitely be done!


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