Thursday, August 7, 2014

So. Many. Horses.

My barnmate TK took off to a tropical island to tie the knot with her man, making him an official horsey husband. I had the pleasure of horse-sitting her 2 ponykins. With another barn friend also needing help, I ended up taking care of FOUR HORSES on Monday night.

Levi and Roxy

Roxy, Ella, and Levi

Aboard Hemie for a mid-ride check up on the bay play day.

I love horse sitting because...well, because I like horses! I enjoy getting to know them better, forming stronger bonds with them, seeing how they move and act differently from my horse. I love being horsey-auntie in addition to being a horsey-mommy.

But I certainly don't think I could own more than 1 horse with my current work schedule/time availability (let alone money). Even just riding one and longing two others took my whole evening. Plus of course they're boarded at the far corners of the facility from each other - I clocked over 1 mile just getting them to/from turnout!

Backtracking a tad, on Saturday Hemie and I had a nice jump lesson. We started out doing quite a bit of flat work. We came out going rather mediocre, and Laurie told me I need to really start asking for more rather than just settle with what Hemie offers. She said I need to annoy him so that he gets used to louder aids and doesn't get upset by it later (like at a show). Hubs came and took video, but I'll have to upload later due to computer issues. Once we got to actual jumping, Hemie was a rockstar. We did a nice long course complete with banks and ditches and water and solid obstacles, and we had lots of fun!

Sunday was overcast and drizzly. Hemie got a turn-out and rubbed in so much dirt he could have passed for a chestnut.


Then I hopped on with just a halter and lead rope - normally I use a bridle even when going bareback, but he is figuring out the halter-as-bridle situation. We need to work on our brakes, but steering was fine.

When I ride bareback, I normally sit on a saddle pad, just for some extra comfort (ahem. withers.) and to protect my pants. A barn-mate half-jokingly stated that I was "very brave" to ride with just a saddle pad rather than a bareback pad, and kept pointing out to others "look - no girth!" when we passed by. Is this some sort of faux pas?  Thoughts welcome.

Monday we had a dressa-jump ride. I suited up for dressage, but we went the jump ring and it turned into a jump ride. We had plenty of forward and good connection to the bridle, but not a ton of relaxation and stretching. He was very spook-tastic. Such are Mondays.

On Tuesday we had a dressage lesson. He was a bit sassy, and was trying to pick fights the whole ride. But we just kept trying to outsmart the evasions and focused on straightness and forward.

After the lesson, Laurie gave me a giant duffle bag of bandages and other first aid gear. We were nowhere near my car, so I put it across the pommel and Hemie got a small taste of being a pack horse. Let's just needs work! Hemie wasn't a fan, but doing stuff like that is so good for him.


  1. I think the only reason your friend pointed out the saddle pad is because it's unusual to do it like that and sometimes they can slip and stuff. That said, I never wanted to buy a bareback pad and used a saddle pad. As long as we walked it was fine, but I took it off for trot and canter because I felt like it was a little slide-y. I don't think it's a faux pas at all! :)

  2. Riding in just the saddle pad could create unexpected slippage - so yeah, it's unconventional and VERY brave, haha. I would personally rather go without, but my guy has a nice rounded back shape, so no ouches for me to ride that way. I too would be impressed with you - which is what it sounded like she was calling you out for. If it works, use it. :)

  3. I'm guessing maybe she was a bit jealous/uber impressed that you didn't need a bareback pad w/ girth? In my experience, someone overly pointing out something means they're secretly jealous of it. However, to assume positive intent, let's go with they were very impressed! Takes real balance to ride w/o bareback pad. No faux pas!

  4. Ugh I know that feel when I had 3+ horses to ride one weekend D: I think my own horse ended up getting turnout only so I could ride the others.

  5. Haha, I wouldn't ride with just a saddle pad because I'd be worried it would slip if/when the horse did anything. No sense screwing with your system if you're happy with it though. Heaven knows I'm not much of a bareback rider and Courage' withers aren't changing my mind any time soon.