The Nebraska Horse Expo is just a week away and there are still some loose ends to finish up for Expo and for work. I just hope I don't call one of our partner companies and identify myself with "horse expo" rather than my employer's name. The phone has been ringing so much lately on both accounts.
It's been a weird weather week. One day, cold and damp, and the next will find the temps creeping up to almost 60. I took off on one of those days. Had some Expo errands to run and then stopped at the DMV to license the new commuter car. By the time I got home, the wind had picked up and temperatures plummeted. I rode bareback in the arena for a little while, but it certainly wasn't what I envisioned earlier that day.
Today was another taste of spring and no wind! I went out to the corral to fetch Windy. Baby, our draft horse, walked toward me and then stopped in my way. I was going to move around her and then thought to myself "when was the last time I rode her?" I am guessing the summer before last? What the heck. She dropped her big head and neck as I slipped on the halter.
I tied her off while I got the tack. We don't have a draft horse saddle, but I use an Abetta with a fiberglass tree. It seems to be wide enough with a light pad. A few years ago McCain bought me a nylon headstall – lime green – for Windy. He didn't know it was draft horse size, so it became Baby's bridle. So with her lime green headstall and purple and blue nylon saddle, she certainly wasn't making a fashion statement but she did look dressed up enough to do the job.
I took her in the arena and unclipped the lead from the halter. Baby isn't particularly a tall horse; standing just under 16hh. But she is big and could be powerful, if she weren't overweight. So I wanted to take a little of the fresh off her before I got on. I clucked and started her free lunging; literally taking the buck out of her.
After about 5 minutes, I climbed aboard. I didn't have a mounting block, it was a big stretch, but she stood like a gentle giant. The stirrups were a tad short, but I wasn't getting down and doing that again, so we got by. I kissed her into a walk on the rail and she dropped her head and nicely collected herself. After a few laps, we moved into a pretty little trot.
She doesn't neck rein, so at first, any time I was turning her, it'd be with a plow rein. I started applying a little outside leg with the rein, occasionally touching her with my spur. Finally, by the end of the ride, she was moving as decent as can be expected, off my leg.
I didn't overdo it. She was working up a good sweat just the little bit we worked. But it was good for her and good for me to give her a little time every now and then. The ride was different than I expected to do today, but just what I needed in its own way.
(Jenn (at AK Pony Girl), I thought of you and The Mare today. She reminds me so much of my Baby.)