Thursday, June 04, 2020

I’ve been driving instead of riding my horses. That’s granted Rosie a lengthy, no doubt enjoyable, saddle-free vacation. Yesterday, after seeming slightly shocked as a saddle pad landed on her back, she didn’t argue. Rosie is a very experienced trail horse, tolerated the tacking-up, and waited in place as I mounted. My dogs, recognizing we were about to leave, excitedly circled and barked at Rosie’s hooves. She fussed, before settling quickly, and let herself be maneuvered into a position where my free hand could grasp Sunni’s lead rope. And we were off.

Rosie and Sunni are full sisters, each easy to ride but in some ways different. Rosie’s style was apparent as we started walking on a familiar trail. She was hyper-alert, with what seemed “lead mare” caution. Her ears in careful-listening mode, her head turning frequently to observe surroundings, and her body prepared for some instance of fright. I knew her hypervigilance would ease as this walking exercise became relaxing.

These sisters are different while being ponied. Rosie knows the drill, tends to be responsive to a lead rope. Sunni ignores a rope-handler and tries to eat grass all along the trail. Her determined stops sometimes nearly pull me from the saddle. So, I usually ride Sunni and lead Rosie. Yesterday’s ride reminded me to keep us on wide pathways so that grasses are harder for Sunni to reach.

We’ll get more into the groove. These horses are perfect, it’s me who’s the problem. I’m having to renew my riding skills and to relearn the trail issues associated to all horses. As I become more confident and skilled, my horses will settle more. Rosie will become less hyper-alert when I am also. Sunni knows her ponying role and will stop insisting on having her way.

Yes, I’m back in the saddle.

Dear Friends: Our pets’ behaviors (horses included) reflect our own confidence & skills. Diana

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