Bella, on a quieter day:
My horse riding Saturday didn’t start out too badly. I got to sleep in for 15 more minutes than I did last month, and it is starting to cool down. The downside, though, is, because of the recent heavy rain, the mosquitoes are unbelievable.
When I got to Patty’s house at 6:45 Saturday morning to ride, she was already getting the horses out of their stalls. She said the mosquitoes were bad, and when I looked at the horses, I saw that that was true. They were all over the horses. The sorghum field behind her property had been cut, but there was so much standing water that the mosquitoes were having a breeding extravaganza.
Bella with her fly mask on. It really protects a horse’s face to have these on:
Today I rode Bella, the third of Patty’s horses, and now I’ve ridden all of them. Bella is the horse that ended up in the concrete irrigation ditch a couple of months ago. She is the least trained of all the horses. Another friend of Patty’s, Kathy, arrived about five minutes after I did, and we saddled up. Patty was going to ride Benny and “pony” Rosie, a horse that belongs to a neighbor who is temporarily laid up after shoulder surgery. So, all four horses were going to get out for some exercise. Before we mounted, we all walked down to Rosie’s barn and picked her up. None of the horses were too happy, and they seemed irritable before we even started. Bella backed up a little when I mounted, but not too bad. She was just not happy with anything, nor were the others.
Kathy went up front with Snickers because that is where he likes to be, Bella was in the middle, and Patty on Benny with Rosie on the lead rope were in the back. Bella relaxed a little, but then she was kind of spooky as we crossed busy Greenfield Rd. Once we got over into the “brush” she was calmer, but then we all looked at our horses – they were covered in mosquitoes despite being sprayed with repellent before we’d left!
All of them were very cranky, and Benny was fussing with Rosie because he didn’t like her too close to him. We didn’t go far, and then Patty said, “let’s go back.” I agreed with her! She apologized for the short ride since both Kathy and I have to drive some distance to get to her house, but I did not have a problem with that. At least I got to ride for a little while.
The horses were a little happier when we turned toward home, but the insects were still horrible. Patty said, “let’s go around the (sorghum) field for a lap, and then I can drop off Rosie right before we get back to my house.” Bella was calm, but I also remembered that there was a narrow lane to walk through with a really deep irrigation ditch on the side of it. I wasn’t worried, but I knew it was “there.” Bella was actually okay when she was out front as we turned east, but then Snickers caught up to her and she became irritated again.
As we turned north, Snickers was in front, and Patty was in front of Bella, too, with her two horses. I was aware of the ditch next to me, and then, right in front of me, there were two deep holes in the dirt. Bella shied, and pulled back, starting to back up toward the ditch! I put my left leg into her and straight-reined her away from it. Luckily, she calmed back down and walked forward. The rest of the ride was less tense, but not relaxing at all. I will be honest, when I got to Patty’s gate and dismounted, I was glad.
Done for the day:
I still had a good riding day, and it wasn’t really fair to judge Bella on that ride. It was just an irritable ride for all the horses, and she hadn’t been out for a few days. But, if I were Patty, I would find a way to do some work with Bella. She needs some direction and training, and not just going out on trails. She needs to learn what cues from a rider mean, and how to put her body where it should be. My horses would have been like that, too, if I hadn’t worked hard with them.
After we un-tacked the horses and hosed them off, we put them out in the small pasture behind the stalls. Kathy left, and I helped Patty unload hay bales from her pickup. That was fun, too, because I got a little bit of a workout, and I felt like I was doing something useful for Patty in return for getting to ride her horses every week!
It was still a good riding day, but I continue to look for an opportunity to ride and train Arabians the way I want to.
Tomorrow: back to the Taos trip – the last full day at the rally