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.