The baby is at sleep...the men are at work...the crazy mother is at a meeting...I have the house to myself (mostly) and it's quiet!! What a perfect time to write a quick blog! Now if only I had a riveting, horse related topic! But seeing as how I haven't so much as sniffed my horse in three weeks, I don't have a lot of new news.
OH WAIT! So, the Pony Cousins are beginning to plan our big horse trip this summer. At the culmination of the trip last summer, our extremely experienced Trail Boss passed on her torch to me.
I am not a trail rider. In my youth, I trail rode very little. There always seemed to be some sort of mishap on the trail, and when you're out in the open, what's to stop your horse from taking off with you--or worse, dumping you and taking off without you? I remember taking my 20 year old thoroughbred mare on a trail ride with several other 4-H riders, and we had to face dogs, horses balking on the canal rode (one of my greatest fears was getting thrown into the canal), and a horse even jumped the fence he was in and tried to come with us. Scary stuff, especially for a 12 year old!
I think the next time I went rode out of the arena, my horse was fine, but the gal who was riding with me was on a horse who had a rib out right in his cinch area, and he jumped, bucked and kicked all the way down the trail. Poor guy.
Several years later I tried to trail ride my show horse during Christmas break, and in the pasture next to my house she reared up and came over backward on me. We were both okay, I just had some severe whiplash, but that was definitely my last trail ride for a while.
I'm not a person who comes off horses often. I know how that must sound, but for some reason I just don't come off. Twice I've slid off horses while riding bareback, I was dumped once when a horse was stung and jumped straight up in the air with no warning, I came off once when my horse balked at a jump, and one time she caught me off guard in a corner and went to bucking, and really I think that's about it.
So, back to the purpose of this blog. I am interested to know what my fellow horseman would consider good skills for a Trail Boss. What are the duties? What is acceptable and unacceptable? What should I be prepared for?
I should mention that in the year since I've owned Yellow, I have done more trail riding than I had in the previous 20 years of riding horses. And never once did I have an incident with him. Well, nothing serious, anyway. He was the lead horse once and refused to go through a fence, but once the other horses went through, he charged right through it. And really, the gals on the ride who went through before us didn't really give us a chance to work through it. I think the only other "issues" we've had were because I was apprehensive and nervous. I just really prefer an arena! But I am beginning to enjoy the scene change and obstacles of a nice, long trail ride.
Because the trail bosses I have ridden with have been seasoned pros, I've really only had issues with other riders being inconsiderate or maybe just ignorant. On a ride I took last spring, we stopped at a bluff to have lunch, and as soon as three of the riders were done they mounted up and headed back to the trail. Well, even Yellow wasn't a fan of this! He jigged his yellow butt back to the trail trying to catch the missing horses! Our trail boss gave the three women a fairly stern talking to, but I don't know that they got the point. I think my horse gave me the least amount of issues. The trail boss had recently had hip surgery and had a hell of a time getting his horse to stand still next to a rock so he could mount up. And once he did jump on his horse, his horse went to bucking. The poor guy didn't even have his feet in the stirrups! But he's a hell of a cowboy, so he rode it out and then did a little rodeo wave once he had things under control!
Anyway, I've just realized that during my few remaining moments of silence, I should probably get some food. There are just so many things I want to do in my 30 minutes of Palomino-Girl Time!
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