My poor horse, Yellow, must think I've lost it. First, I'm riding him almost every day like we're training for some sort of Olympics. Then, I stop riding him for three months. Then, I start riding him sporadically, and start putting on some serious pounds which causes me to be off-balance, especially when posting. I'm posting a lot more frequently, and all of a sudden he's become a walk-trot horse...no loping. No rollbacks. No galloping into a sliding stop. And certainly no cattle work.
Worse yet, I don't even saddle him anymore! All of a sudden I would rather poke around riding bareback, or try this new saddle, a hunt seat saddle.
It's all very odd.
Yellow, it's because you have a sibling on the way. Well, sort of. If this baby comes out looking or shaped like you, I'm going to have a heart attack. But I did find out in April that I am pregnant, and have had to be cautious ever since. And who pays the price? My darling Yellow horse.
I had to wait for doctor clearance to be able to ride, and she said second trimester was safer. But I'm not allowed to lift more than 30 lbs, and throwing a saddle was completely out of the question. Well a fat-lot of good that does me! So I just started riding bareback if there was no one around to throw my saddle for me.
And then one day I became inspired...I remember back at the barn in Spokane, someone told me my Yellow horse had a lot of good English action. "WHAT?!? You mean I bought this western pleasure/roping/reining horse, and he looks like one of those sissy English horses that prance around like fricken unicorns?!?" No offense, to all you English riding folk. But it's just not what you expect to hear about your stock horse, you know?
So I drove my hiney to the local feed store and got a new dressage-style pad. I managed to find a larger girth (my former mare that I showed on in 4-H was not quite as...round, we'll say.) and my breast collar. I saddled up Yellow and explained to him that this wasn't supposed to be pretty, but functional. And it would hopefully help me get a little posting balance back. Or I would fall off, and in that case, he needed to drag me by my foot down to the hospital. I quickly told him the quickest route. Then I asked him to get up next to the fence so I could mount.
I wish you could see the look Yellow sometimes gives me. This was one of those times. I never have to use objects to get on, and he was just thinking, "Listen lady, if you can't mount from the ground, you really shouldn't be riding. Don't make me call your doctor."
So, we headed to the riding area, doing one-rein stops all the way there. He seemed perfectly comfortable with this half-saddle on him, and oddly enough, I was comfortable too! I think I have better posture when I ride hunt seat, and it took some pressure off the belly.
We didn't ride for very long because it was crazy-dusty in our riding area. Quite the opposite from Pony Girl's riding area! Wanna trade, PG? But I did lope him in a few small circles...shhhh! Don't tell! He was EASIER to lope in this danged English saddle! Or maybe I was using my seat and legs more efficiently? Whatever the case, it was FUN!
I have only ridden English once since, and that was for our pony cousin roundup in Cle Elum. I have it on video, and it doesn't look too shabby, especially for not having had an English lesson in over 5 years, and being on a horse who has NEVER been ridden in that manner. But I think he likes it!
Anyway, Yellow, I am very sorry that soon I will have to stop riding again. And realistically, once this little one is here, who knows how much time I will have to devote. We will remain members of the Back Country Horsemen, I would still love to take you to a Clinton Anderson 3-day clinic, and we will be joining the Yakima Valley Team Penning Club, and either get into team penning or sorting, or both. But, about this time next year, you're going to have to be your old, solid self so Baby Grace can get her first few rides in on you. Of course, I won't let her steer. I know you don't like to be tugged on, but it will be a lot like when you gave Stella her pony rides, except that Travis and Nana will be snapping about a million pictures and Travis will probably be a nervous wreck and threaten your life just before he hands our daughter over to me, sitting on your back.
The good news, Yellow, is that we have the horse trainer looking for a small QH for Gracie. I have spent many nights explaining to the bouncing baby after a particularly exciting horse day that Yellow is Mommy's horse, and we will get her a beautiful horse of her own...just don't get too excited and start thinking Mommy will give you Yellow. Mommy and Daddy will give you a lot of things...Mommy's horse is not one of them.
On a side note, I have to say that while I am not yet a parent, I have heard that many horse training techniques can be directly applied to children. Is this true? What techniques might some of you parents or aunts or uncles use?
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