Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Riding We Go...

Wow, where did the month of June go? I feel like just yesterday it was getting warm out and I was anxious for the last day of school to come. Now, we are almost to July, a month that will bring a few small nights out for B and I, and a visit from my mom.

I realize that I never posted pictures of my horses and goats. I will do that sometime in the next week. This past month, we had two of our three-year olds broke. They finished about a week and a half ago, and now it is up to B and I to keep them going with their training. This has not been an easy process for either of us...especially me.

Three years ago, I adopted three, week-old foals from a rescue. I always wanted horses, but more to ride then to raise as babies (I was concerned with the amount of care they would need and the likelihood of death is so high). However, my friend convinced me to adopt these three. I waited and waited for them to be old enough to ride. At the time, they were up at the farm, and they stayed there even after B and I bought our farm, as there wasn't time to get them at first. As we were waiting to bring them down, we took in 4 more horses. Two young babies, one retired police horse, and one as a foster to be a friend to the police horse until we could bring my horses down. I was excited because we finally had horses that were old enough to ride.

I don't pretend to be an expert rider. In fact, I MAY be considered a novice, but probably more of a beginner. I have ridden several times, but never taken lessons. I sure read a lot about horses and riding when I was little because I was so obsessed with horses and wanted them so badly. But for the most part, I rode on vacations, and sometimes at friends houses. I often got the ridiculous horse that was stubborn, would take off for the barn, or even take me over a jump for no reason.

Regardless, I still loved horses and always wanted to have some so that I could ride them around and take them trail riding. Eventually, I got up on Teddy, the horse we were fostering. I was told when we took him in that while he would be antsy at first, all you had to do was be a little firm with him. So, the first time I rode him (with our friends who are horse people as well helping me out), he acted up and I tried my hardest to keep him in check. He tried to get me off a few times but didn't succeed. And he didn't settle down even after I was firm with him. But I stayed on. A few days later, I decided to try to ride him again. I went down to the barn while B was shucking corn, saddled him up and rode him down to the house. On the way down the driveway, I could tell that something wasn't quite right. He was acting antsy and being stubborn. Not bucking any, but acting weird. I finally got to the house and wanted B to hold him while I got off (Teddy was a huge horse, over 18 hands). B somehow didn't understand what I wanted and I eventually decided to turn back and get to the barn so I could get off. On my way back I noticed HUGE horse flies all around and figured this was probably what was bothering Teddy. He was still acting antsy and hadn't settled down at all in the few minutes I had been on him. We barely got to the driveway on the way back to the barn when he took off and started bucking. I tried hard to stay on. I knew I was next to a fence and was scared to death I was going to fall on it. Unfortunately, the saddle broke and down I went. I fell hard. I landed right on my back, hit my arm on the fence, and twisted my ankle...it somehow got stuck in the stirrup. I was in bad shape. I still hurt some today...my ankle never fully healed, and I have pain in my back...although I've had that pain for a long time and can't say it is from the fall completely.

I didn't ride for some time after. In part because I was recovering from the fall, and soon after, the rescue we were fostering Teddy for came and picked him up. Then it was winter, and we also only had one horse that we were able to ride.

Anyway, spring came and the babies turned 3, and it was decided it was time to break the two of them that were in the best shape. They did really well during the whole process. The trainer told us they learned very quickly and took to everything very easily. There were some things they were scared of, but after getting them through those obstacles, they always went. And now that they are done their training, it is up to me and B to keep them learning. We need to ride them several times a week so that they continue to be comfortable having a rider on their backs. I realize that this is probably not the most recommended way to go. Two beginner riders on two beginning horses. They would probably learn better with someone who fully knows what they are doing. But, it is hard to find someone around here that would take them for as long as would be needed.. And I'm unfortunately, extremely attached to these beauties that I've had since they were days old. Which makes it very difficult for me to get rid of them and move on to horses that are older and more broke. So right now, B and I are trying to to stay on top of them and ride them as much as we can.

Unfortunately for me, the fall I took last year has left me kind of scared and unsure of my riding. It isn't that I don't know how to ride, but I am incredibly scared of falling off again. The pain is too fresh in my mind. And I have no doubt that I will end up falling off again at some point. Getting over these fears is not the easiest on a horse that is green broke. I'm currently riding our mare, Sugar, who is a bit more high-strung it seems, then the gelding we broke, Trucker. She is very quick to move and really has a mind of her own. She wants to go her own pace and when I want her to slow down, she doesn't always want to listen. I know she is still learning. I know that things are going to scare her, and she is going to do things I don't like. My problem is staying calm during those times. And I've been having a really hard time doing that. I'm scared and I don't know how to get past it really. (And, I've gotten back on the horse, so I know that's not it!).

Teddy, the horse that bucked me off. A big, beautiful boy.

Sugar and Trucker (I don't have any more recent pictures), the two we broke. Sugar is the one I'm riding. At least she is a bit smaller then the last one!


Anonymous said...

I just love horses. I always say the first thing I'll buy when I win the lottery is a horse!

ann ominous said...

you riding English or Western?

Queenie Jeannie said...

Beautiful horses!! Time heals, so be patient with yourself. I look forward to reading more about your horses and your riding!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love horses, but I've never gotten to ride one yet :-(

Sandy said...

I feel your pain, physically and emotionally. I think you'll get your confidence back. You are very brave to have taken all this on with not a lot of experience. I am not a horse person but I have a friend/client I have been trying to find a horse property for over the last couple years. In our travels I have learned a great deal about horses, their needs and their habits. I have ridden a handful of times. I don't think I'll ever own a horse but I hope that once we find C & N a horse farm that I'll have a chance to ride and learn.

ann ominous said...

greetings, my best piece of advice garnered from years of riding is "find your whoa"

to find your whoa

practice ground work.
walk w/horse and halter or bridle, say whoa. stop. make horse stop. if horse doesnot stop. back horse up to the spot where you said "whoa".

in theory, your horse should learn even w/o bridle or halter that when your'e walking on the ground and you say whoa and stop walking, he/she should stop walking too.

practice "whoa" on the horse too. i am currently "refinding" my horses whoa. it may seem boring and it may seem silly to others to see you riding around in a small circle practicing stopping every minute or so, but it sure as hell beats being in a field and being run away with.

say it out loud, tug on reins, stop. if it doesnt stop, back back back.

don't progress to trot w/o finding the whoa.

The Blonde Duck said...

I love horses. I used to ride all the time in college. I miss it a lot. On cold days I get the urge to just fly--and I have no horse!

ann ominous said...

hmmm....yeah, the head tossing thing, i dont know what to do about in a western bridle...English bridles are such a much shorter rein, they can't toss their heads quite as much. I mean, they still do....but I feel like I have more control that way since the bridle keeps the nose tucked more y'know? that sentence doesnt make a lot of sense....

she might be tossing her head too because she's not used to the bit and the pressure?

be careful!! :-)

Imperfect said...

What beautiful animals! Just stopping by to say hi since it's been a while...eek!

Veggie Mom said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with us. And good luck on getting back in the saddle. Stopping by from SITS with some Comment Love!

Anonymous said...

What an perfect picture in the snow! Don't let one fall ruin your dream--live the dream. My husband's always telling my boys, when they go through the scared stage, to just stop that thought when it tries to enter your mind. Replace it with another thought. I'm so impressed with your determination to raise these horses!

Design it Chic said...

Your horses are so beautiful! They are big and gracious.. But just please don't be that hard on yourself..you can ride them well.. it's just that an experience like you had for sure it takes time to be forgotten..but rest assure you're still a good rider and your horses are loving you no doubt!
Have a great Monday!

Stopping by from SITS

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