Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Becoming one

I feel weak and shaky, but it's a good thing!
I didn't go out expecting it, but today ended up being the day. Someone asked me, "so,a re you gonna ride Solomon today?" I get asked that a lot. Today I look at Sol, and he looked at me, and I asked the barn owner and the boarders, "do you think he's ready?" Everyone said yes. Solomon, he seemed ready too.
"Yes," I said, "but if he doesn't like it or I'm too much for him, I'm getting off him immediately."
You know, I hadn't realized how much my confidence had been damaged because of comments (all on the net) about fat women riding. I was so scared that I would be too heavy for him. I was so worried that I might hurt him. Other people, people I know and respect whose opinions I trust, they said "fuck that, he'll be fine." I listened to them, today. I'll admit, I'm like a new, young mom who treats her baby like he's made of glass. I want to be so careful and so gentle.
So we put a nice light saddle on him. I think maybe it was an English saddle. Little thing, light too. I was glad for that, and I think Sol was also. I made sure it was sitting on him right, and I made sure it fit right. He knew a couple of tricks with the bit, but it didn't take too long to get it on him- the barn owner put it on.
So I went down to the arena with the young man who offered to lead Solomon. I was thinking I'd just do that, but it went even better than that!
First off, Solomon turned out to be the perfect height, from the mounting block. Not too short, not too tall. I did the bounce on one foot thing and easily swung into the saddle. I was careful to sit down gently. Solomon seemed to say "ooooh can we go?"
So the young man lead him around a bit, and then gave me the reins. As TB Friends Joe would say, well okay then.
Someone said one has to be firm with Solomon. That he was a good boy but he had an abusive background so he needs a lot of firmness.
But Solomon, he knows me, and I know him. He trusts me. We like each other. He was so good. I barely had to move the reins at all. It was like, I would think it, and he would do it. I did not have to yank on the reins. I didn't have to pull them taut. He was so responsive. And he looked HAPPY! I kept asking people, "am I sitting okay? Is he okay?" Yes, yes. He was listening to me. I was telling him he was a good boy. I would tell him to walk, to ease up, anything, he did it. I worked hard to sit straight and be balanced, to keep my heels down. To hold the reins right. I forgot myself and made the softest click sound. Sol perked up and trotted. I grabbed the horn ot stop bouncing (I know, not supposed to grab the horn) but I learned quickly how to ride and not bounce. His movement is smooth as silk. Even his trot is so smooth. He really seemed to WANT to trot. I let him have his head a few times around, then stopped him, which he did immediately, I am proud to say.
He stopped on a dime... and pooped. Heh. Well. When you gotta go...
After that we walked for a little while. I made sure we went in the other direction for a bit. Didn't want to go all one way.
I decided to stop not too long after we started. Solomon seemed like he'd be happy to do more, though he was walking a little bit slower, but I didn't want to overwork him, and I didn't want to not be able to walk tomorrow, haha.
So we went to the mounting block and when I said "ho" and "stand" he did, and he held perfectly still for me when I dismounted. Then I hugged him and told him he was such a good boy for me, and I told him "thank you" and he leaned his cheek against my cheek and blew in my hair. We stood there for a moment while I stroked his neck.
I took him back up, picked his hooves (as I did before we rode) and brushed him. He hadn't even broken a sweat. He didn't breathe hard or act like he had the slightest issue with my weight. It was an amazing experience, a beautiful experience. He was ready, for sure. I was the one, I think, who needed to be ready. But once I was up there, we just, we became one, it was nothing like riding a random horse that did not know me. We just, we knew each other, and we took care of each other.
He got carrots in his bucket today, I tell you what. :D
I feel so happy.


fadetopurple said...

That is freakin' awesome. Congrats. It sounds like he's come a LONG way, and so have you. I'm glad you found a place where you could volunteer and get so involved with a horse.

chalina1 said...

Bit late but great to hear you had a ride on him! I hope everything works out and you keep spending time with him