It was somewhat hot and humid again today but I didn’t ride all weekend so I decided to bite the bullet. Since I was just going to ride in the arena, I decided to ride English for a change. I even put on the only breeches I still have. They’re kind of more like tights with a wild stripe on the side. And I put on my riding boots that I probably haven’t worn for 15 years.
Luke looked all revved up and raring to go. I should have worn spurs because the heat and humidity made him pretty lazy. My saddle is a Wintec dressage saddle. I used to have a much fancier, Passier saddle but the tree was too wide so I sold it and went with the cheaper, low maintenance synthetic saddle, which fits both my current horses well.
I’d forgotten how comfortable an English saddle is and how much better Luke moves in one. I may have to use the English saddle for ring work and use the Western saddle for trails.
I said I would write about my part-time, trail riding-stable job, and how it led to leasing, then buying a horse. My English riding session today is a fitting lead in as the stable I worked at was different from most trail riding places in that the saddles were all English. I’m not sure what the reason was. They were cheaper to buy? But it sure threw people off when they came out thinking they were going to cowboy it. And the men! They were not happy campers about it.
I started out just going to the stable to go out on trail rides myself. They allowed people to lease horses for so much a month, which was cheaper than the led trail rides, so I switched to that for awhile. I was at the stable so much, they offered me a job. I already had a full time job, so I only worked at the stable a few evenings and weekends.
One of the other women working there was taking dressage and jumping lessons at a fancy boarding stable. So I started taking lessons there too and leased a fancier horse from the fancier stable.
But I still kept working at the trail riding stable, taking people out on trail rides, sending parents out with ponies to lead their kids around on, hitching up teams and driving hay rides in the evening, keeping bon fires going for the hay rides, grooming and feeding all the horses, training new horses (after a few months of riding, I was already a trainer), and I went out riding on my own when I got a chance.
The English saddles used for trail rides meant that I had to help people get on by having them step into my joined hands or on my thigh and boosting them up. They often used my head or hair for balance. That’s probably why my neck now makes a grinding noise when I turn my head.
It seems like I had a person fall off almost every time I took a group out. I asked them if they wanted to canter and they’d say yes, then boom! They’d fall off. What was with that?! Good thing they signed releases.
The lead horse I rode was named Ringo and he was incredibly fit. He was ridden at least 8 hours a day. Yet, I could still take him out at the end of the day, assume the jockey position, let him have his head, and run full stream across fields.
I felt safe and free and invincible on Ringo. He never shied at anything and would stand completely still wherever I got off and dropped his reins. I’ve never ridden another horse that I could trust as much as I trusted him. I’m not sure I’ve known any people I could trust as much as Ringo.
But I have driven a team of horses that I trusted as much as Ringo. Their names were Bill and Bob, and I’ll tell you about them next time I post.