Friday, January 2, 2009

A Moment of Silence

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.

My Yellow horse would never let me slide off his back!

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.

Returning from a successful trail ride in Portland with Middle of the Road and Pony Cousin JW.

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!

Our lunch spot on the Hat Rock trail ride.

And this is why they call it "Hat Rock."

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!


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yes, girlfriend! Get your priorities straight now, ok? (As I sit here munching a peanut butter blossom cookie..yummo!)
Food comes first...and then blogging. hehe

I was reading the number of times you've fallen off your horse and I though 5 was a lot. But I suppose that 5 in your 20 years of riding isn't much.

I've always been told, it's not a case of IF you fall off your horse, but WHEN.

I was feeling kind of cockie, since I'm like you in that I seem to be pretty well-rooted in my saddle and can stay on through sudden spooks and bolts.

But this recent and first fall of mine ha shattered that belief. It happened so fast, I'm not even sure what happened.
One minute I was comfy in the saddle, then we started to turn, and my horse did some kind of jiggy side-ways thing, and she went one way and I went the other way. Sort of like teleportation, but I got left behind.

If only my foot wouldn't have gotten snagged in my stirrup at the last second, I'd have only ended up with a few butt bruises.

But now I'm facing surgery and months of rehab/physical therapy.

I still love trail riding and can't wait to get back, but it's inherently more dangerous than basic arena work, for sure.

There are so many uniqueobstacles and unforseen outside influences (read: spooks) that can cause trouble while out on the trail.

It's not for the faint of heart or for someone who just wants to sit back there and daydream.

I learned the hard way. Bad things can happen in an instant. :(

Hey! Best wishes for your new Trail Boss position. I bet you'll do just fine and have a great time. :)

New Mexio

Palomino Girl said...

Lisa, you bring up a very good point and one of my other complaints about trail riding. Too many people just want to sit and be passengers on their horse when trail riding. This is how a lot of accidents happen, in my opinion. My horse constantly wants to pass other horses and be in their rear. I could let him pass, let him ride up on other horses, and do whatever he pleases. But, I know that's not necessarily the best idea and definitely not safe. So I have to constantly RIDE my horse on the trail. Which is fine. It doesn't take away from the enjoyability of the ride, it actually helps keep you aware and alert to other things! You bring up excellent points! Especially about the eating!

Leah Fry said...

I take my Boyz down our road, but we haven't actually gone out in the big world. We live near Johnson Branch State Park, where the trails are supposed to be really nice. We're ready for that yet.

Enjoy your 30 minutes.

Pony Girl said...

You'll be a great trailboss, PG! Actually, you'll get to be in charge of a lot more than just trailrides, LOL! :-)

Andrea said...

Oh dear, I fear that I lack in this department as well. I was a show rider and never made it out to the trails. The first time I went on a real trail ride was when I moved to Utah and some friends of mine convinced me to go out with them. My thought at the time was, "LAME!!", but I loved it. It was so much fun going up an down the mountains and loping through the fields. Trail riding will never be the same after that. Her in Louisiana people have trail rides up and down dirt roads and drink beer and then about half way through the ride about 10 people fall off because they are so drunk. You would not believe how well behaved some of those horses are with drunks up on their backs. Crazy southerners!!

I am sure you will do a great job. I would look to my trail boss to know the trail we are on and maybe have some fun facts to share with us while on the ride about the trail and area we are riding in. I bet you will do wonderful!!

Stacy said...

Hey Palomino Girl. I have only been reading your blog for a short time but I love it. :)

I have never gone on a REAL trail ride. Ever. *sniff* I know... I want to! It sure looks like you have a lot of fun. I think you would be a great trail boss.

Desert Rose said...
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