Friday, January 20, 2012

Hittin' the trails

Typically I am able to ride on the weekend, thanks to the full time job that allows me to afford my horse. Whenever I can ride, I do. Since he is a young horse who is on hoof/hair supplements, he has a ton of energy. He gets turned out daily and goes out with the "bad boys" to the pasture, a group of geldings that annoy the daylights out of all of the "normal" horses, but to really get him to think and move he needs to be worked. I am hoping to get him into a training program for a couple of months, but for now it's all me and the occasional training session. He's smart and picks up on things quickly, but is very lazy; so lazy that he spends more time thinking how to get out of something than just doing it and moving on. 

One of two moments I rode on our first outing

We love to trail ride. Or, at least, I thought I would love to trail ride my new horse. The first time we went trail riding he was amped up and I was unprepared, so for the safety of us and our companions that day, we had a very nice hike. I wasn't thrown and he didn't buck, but he wanted to GO and I did not. He rushed and pushed and made a general spectacle, and it was my first time on a trail without the dependability of a dude string horse so I was scared, especially of all of the cholla and prickly pear cacti he almost ran into. He got a D- for the day, he didn't fail (mostly because we survived) but hadn't exactly made me want to go again anytime soon.

So a few months later my trainer invited me to go on a trail ride, just me and her with her trail-wise mare. It was on a wider trail and during the warmer months and we hoped it would be a good experience for the both of us. We unloaded and I could already tell he was in a much better state of mind. He wasn't dancing for one, and I could lunge him without issue for two, and I was able to easily saddle him for three. Already a vast improvement from the last time! He had one small spook from a silent mountain biker, and got a little testy about an hour into the ride, but other than that he was a perfect gentleman. I did notice that when I asked him to trot, he goes into full-out extended "lets get there and get there now" fast pace that isn't very comfortable to ride, and a little intimidating. The trainer's mare had a very nice slow, itsy-bitsy pace that Indy just couldn't suffer through. So we needed to work on that, but all-in-all it was an exciting day and it made me want to do it more! He received an A- that day, I was so proud!

Indy and me on the second trail ride.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Little History

Indy (Nibbles), the first time we saw him
April 2011

As a present to myself for my 30th birthday I made the decision to follow my childhood dream and buy a horse. After thinking on this for a few days (and reading through Horses for Dummies) I concluded that I had no idea what I was doing and would need help; lots of help, like hand-holding-type help. And so I started looking around at local barns for lessons and boarding for my future wonder horse, dragging my less-than-enthusiastic husband with me. I’ll spare the gory details, but I finally found one that had all of the things I was looking for: available lessons, daily turn-out, and feeding three times a day. Oh, and the owner would help me find a suitable equine after she had a feel for how well I could ride, which is great, because like I said I had no idea what I was doing. I took lessons for a few months beginning in February of 2010. By the middle of April I was itching for my own ride and so we made a couple of trips to see friends of my trainer who had horses for sale.

Seeing Indy for the first time (he was Nibbles at this point), standing alone in a covered outside stall, a brown and white spotted gelding with winter fur, short tail, and a rubbed out mane…it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. I was still excited to check him out; he was young and already had a lot of experience under saddle, including western pleasure trainers and a few months on a working ranch.

Indy (Nibbles) with my husband, Zach

His try-outs were good, but he seemed lazy and would not go when I tried to get him to go. Unfortunately, he had been missed on the last farrier visit so the owners had done a quick foot job on him the day before and now he was sore. Bummer.

We left disappointed and during the course of the next few weeks saw some more horses, but none that would really suit me. While looking at another prospect we happened to be in the area of where Indy was, so we made a point to stop again, hoping that this time would be a better experience. And it was, he was feeling better, moving forward and looked willing. I called a few days later and bought him. I had a horse!

He was delivered to the barn on May 8, 2010. We have already had quite a few adventures that I will go into more detail in the future, but here we find ourselves facing the anniversary of our first year together and on the cusp of a new challenge…showing.

Indy, November 2011