Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Late December Ride

Pie and I took advantage of the good weather - sunny, 38F with a wind chill of 31 - to take a ride.  We've only been able to ride 7 times in December so far, and hadn't ridden in almost a week.

We started our ride on the slope behind the barn, doing some figure work with cones.  Then we had our moment of excitement - Pie is still very young: he's only four and can sometimes get scared of things.  We were riding up the aisle between the paddocks on our way to one of the large pastures, when Charisma suddenly appeared out of her shed, rattling her hay feeder in the process.  Pie did a swift rollback followed by springing away into a few steps of bolting.  I was a bit surprised that I stayed on - I was riding in my close contact saddle on a loose rein and there was at least a moment when no part of my seat was in contact with the saddle and I had a passing thought that I might be gone.  But I kept my stirrups and, although I got thrown a bit to one side, kept my balance and stayed with him - I didn't get behind the motion and my stirrup that was taking most of my weight was underneath me.  I was able to ask him to stop after a few steps of his bolt.  Then we turned around and made our way back to the pasture we'd been heading for.  His job out there was to ride the fence line with me - the pasture is about 4 acres or so.  I thought he'd appreciate having a real job to do - we found one fence board that needs repair.

When we were done with that job, we headed past Charisma and her shed again and went back to the slope behind the barn to do more cone work, including a bit of trotting.  I took advantage of his being pretty forward today to start our softening work at the walk.  As they start softening work, sometimes horses which have always been ridden on a loose rein may interpret the ask to soften as an ask to slow or stop.  Since Pie was so forward already, I thought he might do well today and avoid this confusion - I didn't want to use a lot of leg.  He did really well - he got three steps of soft walk very quickly and consistently.  We were in the sidepull today, and I expect everything he learns to translate pretty quickly to riding in the bit.  Due to the work requiring him to use his core, it is very hard physically for him due to having to overcome his usual upside down posture where he hasn't been using his core, so that's all we did today.

Then we went up the trail for a hundred yards or so, stopping from time to time to watch and listen to the children on the sledding hill.  To finish up we went back up the aisle past Charisma's paddock again and back down to the barn.  I told him what a good boy he was and unsaddled and turned him back out.  Good Pie!


  1. He is a good boy, good on you for hanging on through the bolt and realising as good as he is ,he really is still a youngster!

  2. Sounds like a good day -- and I love the picture you have at the top of your blog right now.

  3. Isn't that about the worst Pie has done with you? Good that you stuck with him, and that he seemed to recover so quickly. He's been such a good boy all along, it can be easy to forget that he's still very green. But sensible--that's worth a whole lot!

  4. wow that was some spook! Worst he's given you yet?

    I know what you mean about horses used to long rein, Bonnie was like that too, and in the beginning every time I took up a bit even slight contact she would either throw the nose high in the air or duck, curl and avoid. Took me a bit to realize I had to get her to move more forward as the key, then I just wait.

  5. Good Pie!~ I swear, we are one day away from your weather. It is supposed to hit 52 here on Saturday...must mean that you are warming up shortly.

  6. Every now and then I guess Pie will remind you he is just a baby. But despite the rollback, he did not bolt, and that's the most important element of the spook. And then, he just went on his way again.

    Once again he's a Good Pie! I bet he enjoyed the responsibility of that fence check. He knew exactly how important the job was.

  7. Good Pie! Sounds like he recovers from a spook quickly, which is a perfect trait to have for a trail horse.
    And you....sticking to Pie like you're made of velcro. Wow! You've got a great seat and perfect balance.
    Sounds like Dawn should be next in line for a winter ride. After today, you should feel very confident that you could handle anything Dawn dished out. Go girl!

    ps Big storm heading our way from the west coast. It's already snowing and blowing and we're expecting even more tomorrow....with, worst of all, temps down to zero gah!).
    After this storm leaves us, it'll be on it's way to you. Batten down the hatches!

  8. I've heard it said that riding a horse is the art of keeping the horse between you and the ground. Sounds like your there.

  9. Glad you got some nice temperatures and got to ride - AND so happy you hung on! Pie is a good boy listening to your softening cues.

  10. What's that saying, I'd rather be lucky than good? I've thought that to myself more than once:) I think you're right, most horses like having an honest to goodness job, even if it's putting up a fence rail. I think that sounds like fun:)

    Thirty eight degrees sounds positively tropical right now, sigh.

  11. I'm hoping we get your weather in a day or so. Pie is still a baby but he's a sensible guy and it's nice that he came back so quickly. Glad that you stayed on too.

  12. Sounds like he's doing great! I haven't visited your blog in forever (I was sick for 2 weeks in early December, and have spent the rest of the month trying to catch up on work AND get ready for the holidays) but it's good to hear Pie is doing well!


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