Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teenagers! (I love them)

So, as I posted yesterday, my grandson's girlfriend came out to ride.  Shea has a few horses of her own, does barrel racing and Western Pleasure as well.  She has not been doing much riding of her own horses for a couple of different reasons.  Her WP horse came up lame (Navicular) and they have been rehabing him for 6 months.   She had a bad bad wreck on her barrel horse last August, and her horse has not been "right" ever since, so they are working through that as well.  (BEC I wish you were still in town because she could sure use some of your insight on that subject)

Since she has been horseless for the most part, is out of school, and has a lot more free time on her hands I went ahead and invited her to come and ride Melody.  I knew that I was taking a small risk, having never seen her ride, but I have seen pictures of her riding, and so I knew that she had at least some experience.  

As it turned out I had nothing to worry about.  As I watched her groom Melly and get her saddled it was clear that I was watching a girl who was comfortable and confident around horses.  If she had a question, she asked, but they were good questions (not that any question is bad) and really more about my preference than about not knowing.  There was never the deer in the headlights look that I got from the last young lady who came out to ride. 

I saddled Trax and we headed to the arena together. Of course I had to do my lunge routine, but I knew  Melody does not require such things, so I told her to mount up and just ride at a walk around the arena to let Melody get re-acclimated to the goats and such. 

Here she is getting to know her mount.
Don't they look fabulous together?

I am quite sure the Melody loves this girl too, as she only weighs like 90 lbs soaking wet.  Not to mention the fact that she has a great seat, pretty soft hands, and Melly likes anyone who recognizes her princess status! 

After that it was mostly just riding around, experimenting with cues, and getting a feel for "her" horse.  I loved that I didn't have to watch her constantly or supervise what she was doing.  She actually rides better than I do I think, and I could tell she was having a great time. 

Melly was so good for her, never giving her a lick of trouble, and being very patient while Shea figured out her cues. Shea understands collection and moving off the leg very well, so that was a plus as well. 

I believe I was showing her how to cue the spin
Remember the last time I rode Melody I said that she had crow hopped on me? Well I know now that it was not a crow hop at all.  After both horses were sufficiently warmed up I asked Shea if she wanted to do a reining pattern. I have one memorized and it is an easy one so I walked her through it, and then as she rode the pattern I called out each step.  The first time she got a little confused, but then Trax and I went so she could get a good visual.  Then she went again. This time she had it down and while I still called out to her, she really didn't need me too. I also focused on things like "Bigger circle is fast, go ahead and let her go...now slow her down...keep her going...get ready for your stop...etc etc etc.  At one point during her second set of big circles I saw Melly give a little .... not a hop....but more like she had a hitch in her giddyup.  I'm not sure how to explain, but Shea felt it too.  It looked almost like her hip got stuck or something but that isn't really accurate either.   However now that I have seen it I know it wasn't any kind of "I'm being bad" thing. It was more of a, "Ouch that kind of hurt for a second" move.  So very soon she will get her chiro work.

Riding while talking
Oh to be that skinny again! 

Another really cool thing that happened during this ride was Trax....he did not 1, but 2 flying lead changes practically on his own.   The first one came out of no where and I was not expecting it. The second one was in our first round at the pattern. The second time we did the pattern though I totally threw him off on the lead change and it took us half our circle to get it.  But dang I was excited!

I have to admit that I showed off just a little, and did a few trail obstacles on him for her.  It was pretty cool to see her jaw drop as he slid like butter across the L  It was quite pretty even if I do say so myself.

The last thing we did before we called it a night was my usual side pass left, side pass right.  I did Trax, she watched me, and then she mimicked and why yes, Princess Melly is smooth like butter too.  Now if I can just get her to do it over a pole!

Shea is excited to come back and ride her again, and I am excited to let her.  We had a great time, our horses did really well, and I would even be willing to let her ride Melly in a show if she wanted.   But for now it was just nice to have someone who loves to ride, who knows how to ride, to ride with.

In other news, I am looking into putting together a Mike Major horsemanship clinic.  It started as a simple comment of facebook, "When are you coming to AZ" and has turned into me looking for a venue, and rounding up participants.  I've never done this sort of thing before and it may turn out that I don't have what it takes to pull it together, but I'm sure going to give it my best shot.   There is a lot that goes into it, as many of you already know. And while it isn't near as much work as putting on a show, I'm so afraid I will neglect something important.

Tomorrow I hope to get Big Red under the saddle. He is being a big fat turd lately, and I really think he needs some time in the desert.....alot!


  1. It really helps having someone who knows what she's doing help keep your horses active. For years, I kept hoping that one of my kids would start dating someone who had experience with, an interest in, and enjoyed horses, but so far all the dates have been more concerned about staying clean. I couldn't even get my son's girlfriends to pet my horses. One gal he dated in high school owned a horse once, but "gave it away because it was crazy." When I introduced her to my horses, she stood back 10 feet from the fence, looked around for an escape route, and wouldn't even give them a chance. My daughter dated a boy who won a lot of cutting competitions, but when I tried talking horses with him, he showed no interest. It was more like a chore to him.

  2. Yay someone to ride with!!!! And she is a good rider, that sure is nice. I am glad I have my couple friends to ride with but they live so far its not as often as I like. She sounds like a perfect person to come along and ride for/with you.

  3. There is nothing like having a good Riding Buddy:)

  4. Hope she comes and rides often with you.
    That's wonderful that you and Trax are "on track" now!