Hangin’ with Harley

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Harley in hunter mode

The Morgan people are heading off to a show this week, so us Saddlebred people are on our own.  I made arrangements to ride Harley yesterday, and when I arrived at the barn, M was still there.  They were supposed to leave at 4, but D had a tire blow out on the trailer, so he was off getting a replacement.  M was scurrying around taking care of last minute preparations.

I got Harley tacked up and headed out to the outdoor arena.  It was a lovely evening, and I've only ridden outside a few times this year, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace.  M warned me to give Harley a coating a fly spray, and to be careful in case the ground was still wet. 

Harley is rather tall, and I am rather short, so for a moment I was afraid I would have to go back to the barn and grab a mounting block.  There's always one out there when I'm going to grab one of the lesson horses from the pasture, but when I needed one, it was mysteriously absent.  I dropped the stirrup to the very last hole, which D added to the leather for the times he had to use my saddle to warm up Blondie.  It was still a struggle hauling myself up onto his back, but I made it, and I didn't drop the riding whip!

I haven't ridden Harley in a while, and once again I was grateful for Blondie's smooth stride.  Harley has a hitch in his giddy-up, and rides on him are a little rough.  While he warmed up I posted with  no stirrups, and then tried to two point around the arena with no stirrups.  It's a long way around and I didn't quite make it.  Appears that I need to warm up, too.  Then we moved to a sitting trot, and then a posting trot.

The ground was a little mushy by one end of the ring, and the middle was like a mini swamp.  I was a little leery about going around the one end, and was careful not to steer him right through the damp spots.  When I asked him to canter, he started out nice and slow, and all of a sudden he just took off!  He's never done that before, and after I stopped him, I wondered what had set him off.  It could have been a pesky fly (they're the size of frisbees), or maybe he thought he saw a terrifying line.  He's deathly afraid of lines, the silly horse.

I decided to move into the indoor, because the footing would be better, and in case it was the flies pestering him.  D happened to walking by the ring, so I asked he could open the gate.  He seemed a little amazed that I was able to get on Harley by myself.  I was still surprised, too.

In the indoor, I worked on trotting, then more no stirrup exercises.  It was stuffier inside, and I didn't want to get Harley too hot, so I only cantered him a few rounds in each direction.  Then I walked him out, because it was almost 6:30, and I had told Dean to send help if I didn't call him by 7.  The thought of riding alone is a little unnerving for me, so I made sure he knew that I was at the barn, and when I thought I'd be done.  I didn't know that there would still be people milling about loading horses onto the trailers, so my fears were ungrounded.

After getting Harley put to bed, I noticed that ribbons from the last horse show had been removed from the trailer, so I gathered mine up and headed for home.  When I arrived at the house, I saw a large, battered package on the porch.  It was the saddle, which I was going to cancel because they couldn't give me an ETA for it.  It was delivered in 3 days!  The box didn't look encouraging, and as soon as I can find the manufacturer's contact information, I'm going to send them a letter expressing my dissatisfaction with their packing methods.  The skirt was bent, but Dean pointed out that it's flexible, so that was to be expected.  Now I have to wait until Monday to see if it fits Blondie, because I have no clue how western saddles are supposed to fit.  And I don't have a girth, because they were sold out of the one that  I had ordered, so I guess I'll have to drag Dean to another tack store this weekend.  Poor guy.

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2 Responses to Hangin’ with Harley

  1. Beckz says:
    Ha, I sympathise with the getting on a tall horse problem!
  2. Julie says:
    How do you climb aboard with no block to boost you up? Drop the stirrups and jump?

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