I Would Walk 500 Miles…

Lies. Not 500. And there wasn’t much walking. But I did about 25 this weekend with Simba.

EVERYTHING HURTS OHMIGAHD.

Saturday dawned bright and deliciously cool. There were a few days last week that felt like summer — hot, dewy with humidity, and oppressive. I bailed on riding most of the week because it has become increasingly exhausting doing so much driving. I’ve decided, based on that, to cut back my riding time to just Thursdays and Fridays now that we’re in the swing of things. Four days a week consistently is better than nothing! Anyway, I scooted up to the barn early in the AM, intent on getting stalls done ASAP because Hannah was going to meet me at 11.

This was my first ride out with someone without D and Tory, so I was curious to see how Simba was going to be. Not to mention, it was “Monday” morning for him, and while he hasn’t even been anything close to a true fruitloop recently, I was just a smidge concerned.

Hannah arrived a bit early and after we figured out where her truck and trailer should be, I introduced myself to Tucker. Okay, I know this is ridiculously dorky, but as a “small time” blogger with content that is neither intellectually stimulating or all that entertaining, it’s REALLY cool to meet up with other bloggers that DO have these aspects to the entries they share. So, I say this with the upmost sincereity: NEENER NEENER I MET TUCKER AND GOT TO RIDE WITH HANNAH. *blows raspberries*

PROOF!! Tucker is such a handsome, well mannered fellow!

(Yes, I am five. Yes, I had the same reaction when I met Kate of Adventures with Lucy and got to ride Lulu. No judging!)

It took us both a bit to get organized — her with tack preparations and me with making sure my horse had a brain in his head, but once we were mounted, we were off! Simba strode out with a big stride but was his usual “ohmigah I must snort at EVERYTHING” self when he was out in front. Hannah and I wove through the back trails, popped out onto the dirt road, and headed toward the infamous rail trail. I have been taunting Hannah with the rail trail ever since I brought Simba home, and it only took us 7-ish months to finally get together to ride it!

We turned onto the rail trail, and I could practically see the glee radiating off of both Hannah and Tuck. Go time? Go time!

Tolerant pony is tolerant.

So, we went. And went. And went. And went. I finally got to explore parts of the trail I hadn’t ever gotten to before…and let me tell you, there still isn’t a part of the trail that I dislike. However, we hit Pratt Pond. Pratt Pond is out in Greenville/Mason, NH and oh my good lord it is absolutely gorgeous. There was a place you could even get into the water…so I eagerly pointed Simba in that direction.

Simba flipped me the bird in response, which honestly surprised me a little…he has been SO good about anything I’ve pointed him at that it was bound to happen, but I was hoping water wouldn’t be his worst enemy because I love splashing in ponds during the warmer months. Oh well — something to conquer next time!

So pretty…!

Simba and Tucker got along famously and both critters were VERY good. Tucker threw one good spook at Hannah over a surprise!rock, and Simba didn’t even react to Tucker reacting. He allowed me to hold him back so he would gait and not pace and he did not have a mental breakdown. Unfortunately, it is VERY obvious that he is unable to gait at speed to keep up with anything…his gait is painfully slow, and if I need to catch up, we either go into a terrible pace or a canter. We did get to enjoy some extended canters for the first time, which was really nice and (admittedly) a huge boost in my confidence. I’ve been bucked off more times than I’d like to think at the canter so it takes me a bit of time to really trust a horse to go into a canter without me micromanaging them. Thankfully, Simba is breaking me of my micromanaging habit because he HATES IT WITH A PASSION THAT BURNS HOTTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS and we had some nice, somewhat controlled canters on a loose-ish rein. Granted, the first few strides are terrible and messy as he figures out where the hell to put his legs…but once he figures it out, he holds it well. His canter has a ton of motion to it, and as he has a naturally shorter stride, it’s taking me some time to figure out how to sit it.

We got to this part of the trail (which was previously unexplored by me) and we both went “CANTER NOW KTHX”.

Once we got back and I peeled myself out of the saddle, I realized that twenty miles may have been a bit much for me. Simba, however, came back tired but could have easily gone for another 20 miles if I had asked. Goofy horse!

I ended up riding on Sunday as well…and that was kind of a comedy of errors. Nothing remarkable on Simba’s part, outside of the fact that he was VERY good and really did not put a hoof wrong the entire ride…but between one of us getting tossed, one of us having an issue keeping ahold of her crop, three wussy horses (and then my moron) who refused to cross a bridge, and terrible, terrible wardrobe malfunction that had me free boobing the entire trail ride…it was, um, special.

Trailer parade!

Speaking of special…I have had quite a bit of interest in Simba, but very few people who I’ve been willing to let within 50 feet of my horse. So, the search continues for his perfect person!

I’m now house sitting right next door to the barn for the next 20 days, so Simba ain’t gonna know what hit him. I hope to take him off property a few times and maybe do a fun little shoot once I give him the bath to end all baths…poooor palermeenie pony is going to be all kinds of sick of me by the time I’m back home!

Surfacing

*pokes head up*

Heeellloooo?

*crickets*

Well. I suppose I deserve that.

I’m not dead. Pony is not dead (or sold, though not due to lack of interest…more like lack of me being willing to let half these people get within 50 feet of my horse). I’m exhausted and unmotivated and feeling a bit blocked in the writing department these days. One and two are well known, but I’m still struggling with admitting to number three and WHY this particular issue is happening. I’ve always loved writing and it’s always come quite naturally to me, but lately (and when I say lately, I mean the past five years), I have struggled with it immensely.

Only way I can see through is to just sit down and do it. Slog through, so to speak.

So. Onward.

The past few weeks have been a bit scattered re: riding. The last major riding update I did, it was when Simba banged the shit out of himself trying to Superman out of the trailer. Prat. Good thing he’s cute!

Darker, dappled and clean!

That mantra has held pretty true since then. He is, steadily, taking one step forward and two steps back. We are both enjoying the rail trail, which gives us the opportunity to gait out at length. His gait has become a million times stronger, and I’m having an easier time switching him between gears. He and I took a ten mile ride on Sunday (!) and I was finally able to get a clear, true running walk out of him — exaggerated head nod and all! He definitely prefers to rack overall, and sometimes will do a stepping pace if he’s lazy. The hard pace only comes out now when he’s tired, and he’s starting to understand what I mean when I check him back into something four beat.

We have also mostly installed a canter button. Getting it from the gait can be hairy (“Legs! I have legs! I’m going to throw them everywhere!! Aiiieeeee!”), but we have achieved it enough to where he has put two and two together. I have also discovered he has a zoom button. We had a splendid little hand gallop, and just for funsies, I asked him for a little more. He gave me a LOT more and went “wheeeeeee!!!”. Thankfully, he has NO buck in him whatsoever, so his version of “wheeeeee!!!” was to pin his ears back, dig in, and fly.

The Lookout behind my aunt’s house.

He is still his usual self — tense and looky, but as we’re getting to know each other, he’s starting to settle more and more. The little nuances of getting to know a horse are becoming more evident — he hates being micromanaged in any way (which is hard for me, because I am a micromanager). He reads more contact on the reins as a reason to be alert and on guard, and is more likely to spook or be dumb if there’s heavy contact on the reins/his face. He is very, very capable of being careful with his feet when going down hill or navigating rocky terrain, and he’s the first horse I’ve ridden regularly that I’ve been able to trust going downhill without me constantly reminding them to balance themselves. He is always loud and clear with his communication…you always know what’s coming next with him, and he will usually let you know about it far in advance.

Also, he really hates ground birds.

So do I. Simba’s levitating skills are well intact and apparently I’m able to sit said levitation without faceplanting, so that’s something.

So, that’s where we’re at right now. Our adventures have been adventures, but nothing grand enough for me to go “okay, I was wrong, he needs to stay!”. We’ve made some awesome progress in the past month and I’m pleased with it, but it’s a detached sort of “oh good, he’ll be in better shape for his next person” pleasure. He’s a good little horse with so much to offer…he just needs someone to be head over heels in love with him!

Exploring the other side of the trails.

This weekend, Hannah of The Longest Format and I will be getting out to play on Saturday, and I’m hoping to con D into going somewhere off property on Sunday. The more ride time I can get on him, the better he’ll be all around!

In other news, I REALLY WANT A CORGI PUPPY BUT I CAN’T HAVE A CORGI PUPPY SO I’M GOING TO THROW A LITTLE TEMPER TANTRUM. Harrumph.

ADORABLE LITTLE SQUISHY BABIES!

Over and out, ya’ll!

Pure Exhaustion

Simple as that, folks.

Between running back and forth between the barn, work, attempting to have something that looks like friends/social life/not being a total hermit, photography stuff, and house sitting arrangements…I’m kind of dead. My only downtime is when work is super slow and I can hop on Microsoft Word to work on blog entries, my own personal journal, and other writing projects I’ve stupidly started.

I’ll have something that resembles an update midweek or so if I can get my act together. In the meantime, here’s a really cute Hanoverian colt!

Benedict HM, 5 week old Hanoverian colt.