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Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Part 1: A Man's Horse

So I have absolutely positively PROMISED myself I do this weekend in order. Otherwise I'll just skip to the end and do the most exciting, leaving out all the wonderful things that actually happened.

Just a teaser and then back to the chronologically correct story:

Sometimes I think "why do I have so many trailer adventures?" After all, I maintain my trailer, care for my trailer, drive safely and defensively etc. But then I consider that I drive my trailer, on average, 500-800 miles a month. That's a lot of miles. My frequency of trailer adventures is probably similar to others, I just drive more. There was that time I had a trailer blow out on the interstate, that time where Sally decided to lay down and I had to drag her out, and then that time when my trailer brakes locked up on the interstate while going 60 miles an hour. Wait a minute - I didn't tell you about the last one? Oh - that would be because that happened yesterday.....

but I digress. Back to the beginning.

Matt, my best friend and boyfriend over the last 9-10 years agreed to go trail riding with me on Saturday.

Matt rode as a kid and a young teenager. His last ride was at 15, when he suddenly decided that he didn't like horses and quit. As we really got to know each other when he was 17, I never had the pleasure of meeting the horse-riding-Matt.

Now some people have asked for my secret of getting him to ride with me.
1. I have never pressured him. I did not ask him over and over. If I thought it would work out for a certain weekend, I would ask him - once. I then accepted his answer.

2. I found out why he quit riding. It turns out that his cousins would put him on the rankest horse, go on a trail ride and then take off at a dead run 5-10 minutes into the ride. The horse was always very sour and refused to listen.

3. I participated in activities that he enjoyed as often as I could. It wasn't why I did it, but I think that helped him want to do activities with me that I enjoyed.

See? Very easy.

Before leaving my parents I casually mentioned my trailer brakes weren't working. He decided to take my plug apart right there and see what was going on. My selfish thought was "At least my lights worked when I arrived.....what will work after he puts it back together?" The plug was very corroded (which I knew) and the wires were pulling out of the connector when the plug was tugged (ie pried) out of my truck plug in. Some wires had detached, leaving me without brakes. Matt connected the wires, told me to get a new one, and put it back together. Voila! I had brakes AND lights. Stay tuned.....

We picked up Sally. I've mentioned before that Sally and I have an understanding. Not a friendship, not a relationship. She doesn't get snuggly with me and I respect her space.

I forgot.

Sally is a man's horse.

Sally sometimes gives Loreleigh trouble tacking. Doesn't stand still, gets a bit witchy etc.

I turned around and Matt had already saddled her. Sally looked positively in love. She didn't move a muscle during the entire process.

Matt jumped in the saddle. And immediately looked at ease. Not. Fair. I've been riding 3 solid years to achieve that look.

I expected Matt to be timid and with his cousins antics in mind, I was determined to go slow and be understanding. Matt took off at a trot. Then decided to canter. Apparently what Matt had said was true - he can ride, he just chooses not to. As a typical women I had ascribed all sorts of things to his reluctance - fear, not riding well, not being in control. Apparently sometimes when man states a fact, he means exactly what he says. Apparently the horses his cousins had given him were really rank, not just taking advantage of a novice rider.....

At the top of the hill we stopped to give the horses a break. At this point in the ride Sally is usually witchy and grumpy. Her fat has been jiggling for an hour and it's time for a lunch break, and she's being thwarted. I looked over and expected to see the usually Sally-grump-face as Matt had been schooling her for an hour at this point and wasn't taking any crap from her.....and instead....saw her fawning on Matt. Actually nuzzling him. Disgusting.

Apparently there really is such a thing as a man's horse and it has nothing to do with how "rough" men are with horses.

As we flew down the trail and I was grateful that I decided to try out the renegades. Whohoo!

I'd never used them on Farley before and decided this nice easy trail ride would be perfect, as Oroville is rocky. I needed to tighten the cables, but decided that they would stay on for our nice and slow one hour ride.

Uh huh....

After 1.5 miles of trot and canter up and down hills, they were still on. They are absolutely FABULOUS. Easy on, easy off. She gave me a little high "headedness" (using quotes because yes, I know this isn't a real word) during the first few trot strides, but that was it.

My next step is to buy a pair of zeros for her hinds.

After the ride I checked her rear hooves and there was a big-ol' chunk out of the inside of her left hind.

The top picture is a better representation of exactly how MUCH hoof is missing. :(

On the plus side she's still totally sound, not sore on it etc.

I'm not sure if we'll do the next ride season barefoot. I'll take it one ride at a time. I'll start with a 50 and see where it goes. It will be exciting. Stay tuned!


  1. I dont think endurance riders will ever truly achieve that "in the saddle" look, considering we soend so much time posting and not sitting :D

    Not all guys are rough with horses! just the old cowboy ones...

    My sassy is deffinitley a guys horse, she pins her ears at my mom, and my girlfriend... but she LOVES me :)

  2. Well, you have yourself a good guy it sounds like and maybe this horse riding thing will blossom since he seemed to really enjoy himself. Just my opinion but I have never really bought into the theory of a horse preferring a man over a woman, instead I think horses sense things in people regardless of sex. The mare obviously felt safe with her new mount, felt some kind of connection. They really are amazing animals. BTW- did I miss something, what happened to the trailer brake part of the story??

  3. oops! I should have said "new rider, not new mount... sorry!

  4. Trailer brake story is coming - it's going to be like part 3 or 4....

    I've worked with a couple of horses that I truly believe were "men" horses. Not that they wouldn't do what I wanted them to do, but they responded much better to a male for some reason - and it didn't have anything to do with confidence or strength. Very odd.

  5. This is great! I'm glad you got him out. And you're right. He does look at home on little Sally. Like he's getting ready to ride the fence line.

    And of course, the typical "over the ears of my horse" picture. Always a plus :P


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