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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back in the saddle!

Hey, it's me again! Long time, eh?

Solly is doing great. He enjoys goofing off with me when I visit.

He gets a ton of treats, though sometimes he does have to work for them. This helps him work his back and flexibility a bit. It's also entertaining.

The only problem is sometimes he'll decide to "bow" while I'm trying to get a hoof to pick, lol!

He still really loves belly skritches!

And even more treats!

Today though, I visited some friends who live about 40 minutes away (well, when there isn't traffic) and I got to RIDE again! :D

I got to ride two horses, in fact: Bella, a, 18hh 1900 pound Percheron, and Comet, a Paint/TB mix. I don't have pictures and videos of me riding Comet, but I have some of Bella and I!

First of all... I'm 5'2". an 18hh is REALLY REALLY TALL for me, haha! The dismount onto the ground was... interesting. I am not used to falling THAT far before hitting the ground. I managed to maintain my balance and dignity, however.

Her movements were HUGE. It was quite a different experience for me, because her movements were even bigger than Synergy, the draft cross mare a friend of mine owns that I rode a couple times.

I really had the feeling that I was on a massive charger... except she isn't really the charging time. She's more the eating hay and feed type, lol! Sweet, sweet, PATIENT girl though! I just loved her!

I am not used to short reins that aren't split. My hands were a bit high because I didn't want to catch the loop of the reins on the horn, but it was a little challenging to reach them and keep a straight back, haha!

I was a bit rough starting out but we got to know each other and I started to get the movement that goes with riding again.

I did have a little Bo in my head, saying "HEELS DOWN EV" and "relax your shoulders" and "chin up" and "line up your heels with your hips" and "keep your back straight" and "move with the horse!" That helped, haha.

Bella was trained in dressage at some point, and she does prefer more contact with the bit than I am used to... I'm glad she does though, since those reins were so short!

Patient patient girl. I had a hard time getting her to trot, but then I wasn't able to figure out how to sit a trot with such long strides. I'll get it down though!

Just starting to turn.

Man I was so happy!

Here we are doing some big circles and then going around a barrel. Yay!

Her back is different from the backing commands I've learned in the past, but we got it down... albeit one. Step. At. A. Time. I gave the command, she thought about it, and then she took one step back, hehe!

This is Comet and his momma.

This is Bella's daddy and Comet's momma.

I had such a great time! After I hopped off Bella... well, dismounted and free-falled, haha, I got on Comet. He's a lot smaller but he has carried people who are a lot bigger than me just fine.

BIG difference!

The saddle fit me a lot better, which was a nice help, but also... he was so much narrower, and I found him to be much easier to sit. His gait was shorter and faster, which is what I'm used to, having learned to ride on stock horses.

He tested me plenty, that's for sure. I was warned that he does that with everyone, haha. We had to have a conversation about how he was not going to rub me off on the fence... but once we got down to business, he was a delight to ride!

I got him sidepassing in no time, and his momma taught me how to get him to turn on the forehand, and then we also did a bunch of TROTTING! He is a zippy, forward horse. His sire earned a quarter of a million dollars racing.

At first I did not move well with his trot. Felt really bad about that, though he was patient with me. It took a little while for me to get a feel for it, but he was happy to just trot all over the place, and soon I found myself moving with him. He has a really nice jog that's easy to sit! All the riding I'd done on Bella had really limbered me up, and all the martial arts training I have done has helped me a lot with my balance and flexibility.


I was worried. I took a major shot to my confidence last year, overhearing someone say that I am "less than a beginner" at riding. Well, that may be so... but I will only get better with hours in the saddle! The friends who let me come down and ride were delighted to have me, and they want me to come back and ride again! They said they'd be happy to have me along anytime! :D I'm going out there again on Saturday.

I am so very grateful that these kind folks and their patient, sweet horses are giving me a chance, and giving me this opportunity. I felt really comfortable and safe with them... and there is nothing like time with horses!