Learning Again

Friday, September 04, 2020

Returning to work forces me to create time for riding horseback. Yesterday I hurried home, let the horses have hay before riding one and ponying another out to neighborhood streets. We “bumped into” our neighbor, Susie (driving a brand-new car), who said we could cross her property. It’s an easy and quick way to reach a back road going under local power lines.

Her back-property is in a natural state, I’ve crossed it on foot, a rocky acreage with lots of rabbit brush and lacking a well-beaten path. One must decide where’s best next to step. The horses and I crossed moving toward the power-lines, a couple of times mistakenly walking on private properties. Fortunately, nobody complained and we reached our goal.

We first stopped beside a canal where I let the horses graze on their favorite, green and very-sugary grass. Reluctantly, they moved away to walk a mile or so walk beneath power-lines. The animals were agreeable, my ride nice. But returning to the canal and sweet grass area was another story.

I rode Sunni, she was outfitted in a bit-less bridle. This sort of bridle offers a rider at best minimal control. Sunni is kind and easy to get along with, but the green grass ahead made her want to hurry, and of course so too, our ponying horse, Rosie.

Heading toward that grass, I kept us together, and while there allowed time for grazing, before asking them to cross the canal. As we headed toward Susie’s again leaving the grass, both horses were reluctant. As we crossed that natural acreage with no a clear path and me worried about where best to walk, my tension communicated to the horses. They jigged and jogged, Rosie too little appropriately behind, and Sunni’s minimal headdress making my guidance nearly zero.

Upon reaching the street and heading toward home, the horses settled.

Lessons learned and future steps: (1) Cross Susie’s property on foot, tying ribbons to identify a horse-pathway; (2) separately ride each horse across the natural acreage, accustom each to departing and returning to the sweet canal-grass; (3) and have each while in training wearing a headdress that gives a rider appropriate control.

Dear Friends: Whew! Success with horses requires a willingness to cope. Diana

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