Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 3: Cowboyin'!

This blog entry should be subtitled The Bad Parent.
On Sunday when  my 16 year-old son Ian drove me to get dog food (he has his permit and is gaining driving experience), we decided we would go riding after we got back.  We collected the horses from the pasture, and picked Nike (Ian) and AhD (me) to ride.
I helped Ian tack up Nike with my Bob Marshall treeless (Bad Parent choice #1) because it is comfortable, fits any horse, and I thought he'd like it as much as I do.  I should interject here that treeless saddles are great, but will tend to slip if you get off balance.  I used a black cordura western that I obtained in a trade with Kate, and I was happy with that choice.  I pinned my picture of Harold and Jed to my pink saddle blanket.
We discussed trails and Ian said he'd like to go do the Mineral Drive trail, a super nice one across the road that ends at a little private drive.  There are lots of good cantering spots on that trail, and Ian loves to canter now that he has had a good taste of it. (Which is why he wanted to ride Nike instead of Al, I'm sure). The problem with that was that our neighbors across the street were having a field hockey party - read 40 screaming teenage girls into this - and Ian wasn't too keen on going through their driveway to access the trails. So instead, we went straight into the trees across the road and bushwhacked our way down onto the trails. (This could very well have been Bad Parent Choice #2)
It was quite the adventure.  We round around and around, trying to find our way to cross over stone walls.  We ended up back up by our road, and then took a swampy route down the power line to a steep hill on the other side of that dratted stone wall, and entered the woods again to descend down to the trails.  AhD and Nike were troopers!!!!  My Curly is awesome at bushwhacking and led the way for Nike and Ian.  I was proud of everyone, as we slowly made our way through all the natural obstacles in our way.  I liken it to putting together a puzzle.

Once on the groomed trails, we picked up the pace.  Ian and Nike were waylaid a bit by the first tricky stream crossing because Nike thought crossing the snowmobile bridge would be easier, and Ian had to convince him otherwise.  Great job Ian!
The woods were quiet and beautiful.  We changed the tempo of the ride often, as the trail allowed.  We cantered whenever we could, and Ian was thrilled with the speed and amount of Nike's gait.  He was not as thrilled when Nike ignored his cues to walk through water on the trail, but hey, Nike is green and Ian needs to get it straight that he is the leader, not the passenger.  It's not always easy keeping your mount between your legs and headed in the right direction!  Believe you me, I know this because I live it every ride!  This is AhD's motto - Testing, testing, 1,2,3...
Rest stop at Mineral Drive

Harold, your photo is pinned to the other side of this saddle blanket
Not many photos from this ride because it was action-filled.  We wore orange, and realized afterwards, DUH, it's Sunday - there is no hunting allowed on Sundays - but we knew we would earn Brownie Points from Ian's dad for wearing orange anyway.  AhD jumped the small brook just before we landed on Mineral Drive, and Nike jumped it on the way back, giving Ian another thrill.  The ride was going GREAT!  We were having so much fun!
We made our way through the sand pit and charged up the small hill that has a water spot at the top.  Another water avoidance, but other than that, all was well and good.  We walked and  trotted up the trail all the way to the next steep hill available to charge.  Yee-haw!  My pony was on fire and flew up the hill, and apparently so was Nike because Ian said afterwards that he went from zero to gallop which surprised him. Ian was beaming and said that was the fastest he'd ever gone on a horse before.  Yee-haw!
We cantered our way from our neighbor's pond to the house, stopping on the way to say hi to Megan, who was on a four-wheeler with her friend.  Luckily, the forty screaming girls were in the house.  I made sure to keep AhD's pace nice and easy so there would be no out-of-control horses running through their yard, and this worked out great. (Good Parent Choice)
Back at the barn, we couldn't resist a one more short trip around Jason's Loop for cantering.  Now we are coming to the big Bad Parent Choice. There's a really nice place that is good for cantering between the stream and the power line.  I said to Ian, "Are you ready?" And then I let AhD rip!!!! Talk about zero to run?  My hoss can do that, and he did! We blasted up the trail, me leaned right down on his neck, and while I was excited and thrilled, at the back of my mind was...Is this smart?...so 3/4 of the way up I pulled AhD up and looked behind me to see Nike coming FAST with my treeless saddle on his side and a view of orange (Ian) on the ground. (BAD parent, bad, bad parent!)  Nike whooshed by us, obviously confused, and my fired-up Curly reacted, blowing up under me. I almost lost my seat then, but thankfully didn't because he was moving fast and it wouldn't have been good. I got him under control, while soothing  him and Nike with my voice. Nike stopped at the power line - what a good boy! - but Ah-D was WOUND. I turned him around, looking for Ian, and spotted him lying prone on the ground.  I kicked up AhD to get down there NOW, but being so sensitive, he was frightened, and when that prone orange lump started to stand up, AhD had reached his breaking point and flipped out, flying up and sideways from zero to screech.  This time I was the one hitting the ground!

I did not follow Denise's advice to go of the reins, and I was darn lucky that Ah-D didn't move forward and run me over, but he didn't, so I immediately stood up, still holding onto Ah-D and headed towards Ian.  Ian was fine, but  shook up and pissed off ("Mom!  Why do they always buck me off!") but he got over it.  I apologized to Ian, pointing out that it was totally my fault.  Apparently Nike had given one good buck at the start of his run, which didn't dump Ian, but it had put him off balance, causing the saddle to slip.  Ian chose to bale, seeing as to how he was now sideways on the horse with nowhere else to go.  He had a scary moment when he thought his foot was stuck in the stirrup (as did I, on my way out of the saddle), but thank the Good Lord above it didn't.  We collected Nike, straightened his saddle, mounted back up and headed home.  A bit more subdued. :) We did trot fast once; I didn't want Nike and AhD to get the idea that the episode had gotten them out of work.  Even if they like the work. ;)
It was my first time getting dumped from AhD!!!  Which is amazing, considering what we have been through during the last ten years.  I am not upset over it at all, and have no fear issues surrounding it - it's all hunky-dory as far as I am concerned. I know I have to work that buck out of Nike before he goes back to Terry, but I am not worried about that either.  He just didn't know any better. And Ian hasn't mentioned being sworn off of riding with me.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
All's well that ends well, and I hope you guys make better Parent and Horse decisions than I did on Sunday.  And, if your husband happens to mention to you with a smirk that he saw that Haflinger pass your Curly at the canter, don't store it away in the deep recesses of your mind to emerge two days later.  Learn from my mistakes! :)

Now I am wondering, Harold, did you enjoy your wild Sunday afternoon ride?



  1. Oh boy what a story!! I was on the edge of my seat!! Thank goodness you and Ian (and horses!) were all ok! 10 years is quite a time for no falls!! I keep wondering when it will happen with Linus and I?! Was AhD surprised you came off of him? Hope you're not feeling it today and thanks for a great weekend of rides!! : )

  2. ...maybe you landed on Harold and he softened your fall?? lol

  3. Oh my gosh, Susan! So glad you are both OK. Especially since you didn't let go of the reins, you silly girl! And another suggestion, you really should get tapedaros. Trust me..the cowboys knew. They wore open topped boots if they didn't use tapadaros..so that if their foot got stuck their boot would pop off. Today we wear lace up shoes in stirrups...even with heels we are an accident waiting to happen...AND, you should always have a breast collar on your horse especially with a treeless. Just dont' want you to get hurt next time!! Other than that, it all sounds like great fun and a beautiful day to ride. Thanks for the excitement!!!!

  4. I have been thinking a lot of your tapadaros, Denise! Ian and I were both wearing lace up boots, not cowboy boots. Thanks to Donna and Laurie Lee, I have two pairs of cowboy boots, and I am going to start wearing them consistently. And, yes, I have a breast plate but don't use it because it always made me feel like it was just extra equipment for the looks and one more thing that could malfunction on my tack. But, as you state, it has a purpose with a treeless!!!!!
    Donna, I am not sore at all. Strange. AhD was VERY upset about Ian being on the ground. I have no idea how he felt about me getting tossed as well, because I was paying no attention to him at that point. AhD always tells me when someone I am riding with gets dumped. His head comes up, he gets tense and coiled, and he looks to the accident without fail. By the time Ian and I were done talking about the incident - and Ian hadn't know that I came out of the saddle, too - and were mounted up, the horses were totally calm. We just walked on like nothing had ever happened!

  5. HEHEHEHEHEHE<< Oh my dear friend, what a ride what a great ride, one always needs a little challenge to reliaze horses are not bullet proof for us and these things happen with the most trusted horses,,, I am glad Jed and I are okay and not to wrinkled from all the wear and tear,,, aside from all that drama , what a great ride and fantastic pictures,,, It is always good we get taught some life lessons and can walk away, Great you kept you head and hung on to the reins,,, How black and blue is the Butt ?????? Great job for the both of you,,

    1. Oh, you and Jed are crushed and wrinkled alright! You have seen a lot of wear and tear since I laminated your photo and pinned it to my saddle blanket. Remember how your photo button got lost on the ocean beach last year? As far as black and blue and the butt, I am really not hurt at all. I must have fallen in slow-mo.

    2. What great words of wisdom, harold! You are so right...great lessons when we can get up and walk way! We've had enough excitement now Susan..so no more ok?! HA! I had a saddle slide off to the side with a treed saddle too...so it doesn't have to be a treeless to use one and have benefit. On the judged trail ride we did years ago, you got marked down if you didn't have breast collar on AND in endurance they require it. I am always reminding Tom to put his on too. So this is a lesson for all of us. Be careful ya hear! And really glad Harold was OK. LOL
      p.s. AND you are a GREAT mom! Dont ever think otherwise. We can blame this on your hubby for chuckling when the hafllinger passed you. There....guilt free! =]]]

  6. Ha ha ha!!! I love Denise's way of thinking; it's all Dana's fault!!!
    Oh and yes, you are a fantastic parent!!! I know you and Ian will be both be back out there soon!

  7. WOW! What a ride, adventure, lesson, whatever you want to call it! I'm so glad everyone is okay. Now to change the subject, I have never heard of law that doesn't allow hunting on Sundays! That just seems wierd to me. Do you know why?

    1. Because Sunday is Sunday, Janeen! Many of our die-hard Maine deer hunters buy a NH license and go hunt over there in November. :)


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