Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Horsin' Around, Part I

A couple of people in my family call the time we spend with our horses as horsin' around. For example, when my dad asks, "are you horsin' around this weekend?" it means he wants to know if I am riding. This past weekend we had perfect horsin' around weather, so I spent the weekend at the Painted Creek Farm with my sister. When we got the horses out on Saturday we quickly discovered that my sister's Paint mare Fritzy was favoring her front left leg. We noticed a teeny tiny rock embedded in the sole of her hoof. My sister really had to pry it out with a hoof pick. She was much improved by Sunday, and we are hoping she doesn't end up with a bruise and/or abscess.

We were going to ride off of the property, but did not want the lame mare to run around in a frenzy, so we just took the horses up to the arena. I am usually the one taking all of the pictures, but at one point I handed my camera to my sister and asked her to snap a few of me.

It is always interesting to see pictures or video of me riding my horse. I am always critical of my equitation, of course. Are my heels down? Are they pushed down too dramatically? Am I looking up? Are my arms angled properly, hands low? Am I holding the reins right? Why do my legs look so short? No wonder I can never cue My Boy properly with my legs. Yes, they are wimpy and I need to strengthen them, but they barely make it down the sides of his sausage belly! This day I had decided to part with my usual Rodney Atkins impersonation (baseball cap) and was actually wearing my cowboy hat.

My sister was having fun taking pictures and ended up documenting me mounting my horse. By any means, please do not view this as a tutorial of what to do. In fact, as I looked at these photos, I burst out laughing at one point (you'll know when you see the picture.)

I must be doing a last minute check on my cinch here.
I gather my reins. My Boy is really good for mounting. He usually stands very quiet and still. Notice how I can barely see over My Boy's saddle? Getting ready for lift off.

Goodness! What is THIS move? This is the picture I about fell on the floor laughing at. Although, I am pretty surprised at the extension and flexibility I have in those legs. I know that my horse is on the tall side. But I did not realize that I put so much gusto into my leap up. Also, I think many riders mount by facing the back of the horse and turning the stirrup. I have never done this. When I was young I had a pony that tried to bite me in the hiney when I turned around to mount. Maybe I developed the habit of mounting this way to make sure I could keep an eye on the horse's head, er- teeth. Or maybe I just like to do things my own way. Whew! I am in the saddle. I really prefer to use a mounting block when I can. I hate pulling on my horse's back. Once I mount, I have a ritual that I do. I lean forward and slick down My Boy's mane. Not that it even needs fixin', but I always do this. Always.

Have you noticed that my horse's expression hasn't really changed in all of these pictures? What do you think is going through that equine brain of his?

I do a little flexing to each side before we walk off. It's a nice check in. And to remind My Boy that giving to the bit is key.

We worked on our walk. Walking with momentum. Like we are going somewhere!

A little work with the softening exercise I learned from an episode of Ken McNabb's RFD series. Lots of turns, pressure on the bit, and immediate release once he gives to the bit. Also, flexes at the poll, and change in direction.

A little jogging, and some trotting out, too. No loping today. The arena is still a bit slick on the corners from our previous week of rain.

Goodness, it was warm. I love those days. Personally, I'd much rather be on the trail then going in circles in an arena. This schooling work is just a time passer for us. But it's important to keep both of our skills fresh.

My Boy's got that dang expression again!

Aww....that's better. Pony Girl always knows how to get her Appy pill to smile!


  1. Great pics! Isn't it nice to see pics of us riding! I can always find something about my pics that I do not like! LOL
    Loved them! You too are a great match! The last one is my fav!

  2. I too love them all but my favorite is the last one. Sure can tell you love your My Boy. BTW I love that name. Yes, arena riding gets a bit on the dull side (not that I have an arena to ride in) but I much prefer trails and/or road riding. In my neck of the woods we can ride on so many roads because we are in the middle of nowhere! Just like I like it.

    Also, I wanted to tell you my brother (Scott W) blogged today about his readers to post their blogging spots. Great idea!

  3. Man-My Boy is tall!! Great pics of you two.

    Got the My Blogging Space post up. Girl-you are just too fun!!

  4. Very nice pictures!!! I am such an arena baby. I love the arena. Though the barn that I am taking the new kid to is right on trails. So I am hoping to get him out on the trails once he is not a space cadet.

    How tall is My Boy?

  5. Wonderful pics! Great post! My favorite pic is the last one too!

  6. I agree with everyone else - the last picture is great. The rest are great too though - it is nice to see pictures of us riding these beasts. I'm often on the other side of the camera - I prefer that lately.

    Being able to climb up from the ground sure comes in handy on the trails - there isn't always a log or a rock to stand on. That is something I have to work on this year.

  7. Cruel Girl and horses.

    A nice combination.

  8. Awesome pictures! That is a funny one of you getting ON the horse. I turn the stirrup like you said, face backwards and jump on.

  9. What fun pictures!! I think it's funny to see pictures of myslef too!! I am always the one behind the camera!! Your boy is so handsome! I love his expressions!! And wow you are really flexable!!!LOL!! That mounting technique is awesome!! LOL!!! I turn my butt to the horses head, but I have never been bit!! LOL!!!

  10. Great pics Pony Girl. I agree with everyone else, the last one is wonderful, should probably be your screen saver. As for mounting , wow, I haven't been that flexible in years. My boy is a sweetheart and I'll say it again I just love his markings and color.

  11. First -- I love your new header.

    Second -- I could NEVER look that graceful mountiing a horse. Is that what you call it? Mounting? What am I saying? I could never look that graceful walking...or even sleeping...

    Third -- OMG...you are gorgeous

    Fourth -- I think it is precious how you can see the love in your eyes when you look at your horse. My Twerps wish I looked at them like that. If they were as obedient as your horse, I might.

  12. Love the photos! And what a beautiful, patient horse!

    How I remember pulling myself up into the saddle. Those days are gone. It's mounting block or no ride for me. Well, I suppose I could get a pony.

    You look terrific!

  13. Looks like a great day and fun to see the process!!

  14. Wow. No wonder you had to flex so hard. My Boy is tall and you are on the smaller side. You have at least 3 feet just to get your foot in the stirrup.

    You sure do look good up there, though. He is totally focused and listening to you. His ears go wherever you are.
    And I love that last photo.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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