Sunday, October 21, 2007

Perfect Fall Weekend

It was another weekend with excellent weather. At least the temperature was closer to normal, around 75 degrees or so. On Saturday I spent most of the day riding my horses. Darn near perfect to me! I got to spend the evening with my husband, which ended the day on a good note, too.

I took Jimmy over to the old Starfire place to go on a road ride with B and one of the boarders there. It was great to take Jimmy to a new place to ride and explore. I chose to take Jimmy because the horses had to be in for a few days due to the rain and bad weather and I trusted that Jim would be well-behaved. I thought Zoe would be a bit too energetic. It was a great ride for Jimmy. The person we went with was a bit conservative since her horse had some lameness issues and could only trot for a bit at a time. Jimmy was unhappy with that and took any opportunity to start trotting. I love that about him. He has such good energy and willingness, and truly loves to ride down the road. I felt bad keeping him at a trot since I could tell he really wanted to move a bit more. But we made it around just fine. It was a pretty decent ride, about 6 miles. The barn owner's dog came along with us. At the end Jimmy still seemed to have a lot of energy and wanted to keep going, so I told B that I would go ahead and ride him home. I started out from the barn, got about a mile away, looked back, and saw the dog still following me. I live 4 miles from the barn and didn't want the dog to follow me the whole way, so I turned away and cantered back to the barn, the poor dog following me as fast as he could.

B was riding in the indoor when I got back, so I joined her with Jimmy. J was super! So light and floaty. He is such a great horse and I love riding him. I could tell he had a good time that day, too.

After lunch I tacked Zoe up and started riding her through the soybean field next to the house. We walked and trotted out towards the neighbor's house. I could see some people at the house, so kept going over to say hello. About halfway there, Zoe wanted to veer off to the right. When I asked her to stay straight on to the house, she thought it would be a great time to start cantering, and even more fun to buck. We started bucking across the field. Luckily she was bounding through the field in a nice, balanced way and I could easily keep my seat. I sat deeply and relaxed my legs (do you know how hard it is to keep your thighs loose and relaxed when you start to think about falling off a bucking horse??). My feet stayed underneath me and I never pulled on the reins. I kept a steady, calm voice and repeated, "whoa, Zoe" over and over again and gently steered her back towards our yard and the tree line on the north side. I was relieved to feel her slow down the closer we got to the trees. We started trotting about 10 feet from the trees, and walked into the yard. We came up to a rotted out tree stump and Zoe stopped dead, looked at that, snorted, and jumped over the small hole. I saw Sven walking near the driveway, so I yelled for him. At this point, the danger was over, so my adrenaline started kicking in and I could feel the shakinesss starting as I caught my breath.

"She bucked me across the field!" I yelled to him.

"So what?" he replied.

So what?, I asked myself? That was a big deal! Does he have any idea how close I might have been to dying or getting hurt??

"They were big bucks!" I retorted, almost defensively. "She bucked all across the field," I added as I pointed back toward the field to emphasize how big the field is.

"Well, you look okay to me."

"Yeah, I did a great job of keeping my seat. My feet stayed in the stirrups and everything."

I started to take my feet out of the stirrups, and he pointed at me urgently and wanted to know what I was doing. I just said I kept my feet in the stirrups!

"Yeah, I am getting off the horse now," I admitted. I still hadn't caught my breath and I was worried that the adrenaline shakes would affect Zoe and set her off again. I wanted to get off while I remained calm and get her on a longe line so she could burn off some of her steam.

Once I got her on the longe line on the circle, she took off. She ran full steam around the circle for at least 10 minutes in each direction. Finally she settled down to a trot, though still showed no signs of pooping out. I got back on her, rode around the yard a bit, then went back out to the field. Zoe did great. I came back in the yard, worked on lateral movements. She was very light and responsive and cooperative. I took her back out to the field to go in all the directions and to do a final test of her calmness and ability to listen to me anywhere in the field. Again, she did a super job. In the end, I was very happy with the ride and how Zoe worked for me once she worked out the extra energy. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit tired after all the excitement.

Sven and I dropped off the painting he did of Lili and we came home and had some dinner and watched a movie ("Next" with Nicholas Cage). It was a nice evening. I managed to not fall asleep during the movie. :-)

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