Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Soft, relaxed

We did the mines ride today - down in a canyon, past several abandoned old copper mine shafts. A new fellow came with us, S from California, on his bay paint gelding. This means there was a bay roan paint mare, a bay paint gelding, and a bay paint stud. We were extremely colorful, yet kind of repetitive!

Dixie was very brave. She balked pretty hard once, when we had to head downhill past a rock wall (scary horse killer rocks, who do they think they are, just standing there ominously) but I wouldn't let her turn to run and she eventually moved past it. A short section of the ride is a steep downhill bit, over big boulders and small rocks - I've taken her on this ride before, but just gotten off and led her. Today she didn't seem like she was going to rush it, so I gave her plenty of rein and she walked quietly down it like a large spotted mountain goat. Very impressive.

I mainly concentrated on staying completely soft and not bracing up and starting a fight. I realize I do this every couple of months - realize that bracing against her is counterproductive, and swear to be soft. Oh well, at least I remember eventually. Hopefully I'll do better at remembering. Gotta keep trying!

It's something different each time that reminds me to be soft and not fight the horse. This time, it's Kate's excellent post. Thank you!

EDIT: Wow, I'm a space cadet tonight. I forgot the most exciting part: we saw a rattlesnake! S was in the lead, and she pulled up when she saw him slithering across the trail. (None of the horses ever even saw the damn snake.) We watched him cross the trail and get into a giant sagebrush bush in safety, then we detoured well around him. Very pretty, definitely a rattlesnake. Probably a Great Basin rattlesnake, like this one from a couple weeks ago.


  1. That sounds like a wonderful ride! And I'd have loved to have seen the rattlesnake - we have one species around here but they're very rare.

  2. Sounds neat! I've come accross rattlesnakes on several occassions but each time I've seen them from a distance and stopped to let them slither accross the trail.

    On one occassion while riding down a fire road, I came accross one that seemed as wide as the road. I probably am exagerating the size but it seemed HUGE. I give them a lot of room.


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