Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh Killian!

Last Sunday was the day for the gal to come and try out Killian.  It is sort of a free lease sort of thing, although neither she nor I are comfortable with just turning her loose with him just yet, so we opted for some riding together.   I met this young lady while working at the ranch store, in fact she was the one who trained me.  She is an old soul in a young body, if that makes any sense.  I have adored her from day one, so I was really excited to see her again.

I picked out a saddle for her (One of the many I have been snatching up to get my saddle shop started), A very nice Circle Y Equitation, which has had the stirrup leathers shortened.  This makes the saddle entirely too short for me, but I thought it might do her just right. As it turns out, it is still a bit short for her too, which means this one will go on the sale block for vertically challenged people.  However she rode in it anyway, to decide if it was right or not.

JBC is not a fan of arena riding, which works out since Killian isn't either.  So we opted to head out to the desert.  We got a later start than I would have liked and it was getting hot quick.  I was happy when I watched her mount up.  She was able to swing up on the big guy fairly easily with out having to drag herself up the saddle, causing it to slip.

Of course Killian was his usually steady Eddie self, as was Trax.   I had thought about taking Melody but wanted to be able to keep an eye on JBC, rather that constantly watch if my horse was going to spook.  So I chose to ride Trax......because he never loses his mind.  (the irony of that statement just hit me)  Actually Trax is a pretty steady trail mount and for all his quirks, he is the one I am most comfortable on.

Anyway, we hit the desert, did some trotting, she managed to find Killian's easy gait and we headed straight for the closest stock tank.  Stock tanks in the desert are rarely "tanks" and usually just a big hole that has filled up with water and stays that way.  I don't know if there are springs or what, because they do get low when there has not been any rain, but they rarely run completely dry.

I knew that the horses would want a drink, so we rode them up to the edge and let them drink their fill.  I was not surprised when Killian waded in.  He likes water.  I was completely shocked when Trax waded in up to his did Killian.

Then Trax started playing and pawing and I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to roll on my saddle in the water.  No sooner did I say that but looked over to see Killian going down in the water. I told JBC to step off, which she did but in the process ended up losing the rein.   Then I was saddled with the task of trying to catch Killian before he made for home. This required doing a little "Flag work" a pond.  Sometimes I wish I had a camera crew following me 24/7, because I would have loved to have been able to see this.

Trax was up to the task physically, but not mentally and suddenly decided that there was something to be afraid of.  I guess he thought he'd just go ahead and bolt up the hill....into another tree.    I don't know if he felt my anxiety at losing the red horse, or if he figured that since Killian was loose he could be too.  Regardless, I forgot about Killian for a minute. shut down Trax's train of thought before it became a full on reality, and then hopped off my horse so that I could walk to Killian without chasing him off.  When I finally got the situation under control I looked back at JBC.  She was trying desperately to get her feet and her boots out of the 8" deep mud at the bottom of the tank.

When I think back to this particular situation I admit to being kind of impressed at myself for being able to think fast enough to keep my own horse from bolting, & getting the red horse caught. I did it all in a matter of seconds and did not even get my feet wet.  JBC, did not fair so well though.

She was a little shook up, not scared or hurt, just wasn't ready for all of that on her first ride.  I also think she thought I'd be mad because she almost lost the horse.  I would not have been mad, but I'd have felt bad for making her walk all the way back to the gate.  We darn sure were not going to try to ride double on the paint horse.  

I did end up getting my feet went eventually, but of my own accord.  I led both horses back in the water so they could finish their drinks.   Plus it was like 500 degrees out and the water felt pretty good.  I splashed both ponies to cool them off and then we mounted up and headed for home.  We laughed all the way home at our silly ponies.

No trail ride would be complete without the ear shot

And of course Killian- taking his sweet time. 

All in all it was a fun ride, and she says she will be back hopefully every week.  I think that the next time we take them to water when it is that hot, I will throw a couple of halters and long leads in to a saddle bag so that we can halter and unsaddle them and that way if they want to go in and play in the water they can do so without the hindrance of a rider and without ruining my saddles.  Someday I want to take Killian swimming.  He is a great bareback horse and I'll bet he is a great swimmer.

I'm really glad that the impromptu mud bath didn't scare her off.  She seemed to really like Killian, and seemed excited to have the chance to come and ride for free when ever she wants.  That is much better than paying to go on trail rides, which is what she has been doing just to get in some horse time.

Since then it has been sooooo hot and I have not been able to get any riding done.  The princess is being neglected, as is Miss Sassy.  But hopefully this weekend I'll get some more saddle time in.

In the mean time I have been trying to get work done on my saddle stock.  I am up to 3 Circle Y's for sale, 1 Colorado Saddlery saddle, and the cutting saddle is almost done too.   Then I have 2 more that are coming in on consignment.  One is a custom made saddle which was hand made up in Prescott.  It is very nice saddle but has been sitting for too long and needs some serious conditioning. The other one is an Aussie saddle.  I'm kind of excited to get this one in.  I have always wanted to try one out.   I haven't been able to sell much yet, although I have a gal interested in the CS. We just have not been able to connect for her to try it out yet.  This is the wrong time of year to be selling anyway.  I'll wait for fall and then really start pushing them.

I need to get a little AC or swamp cooler for my little work shed so that I can work on stuff in there during the days before work.  I don't think I'll ever get rich doing this but perhaps eventually can start taking on some refurb jobs for people who don't have time to clean and condition their own saddles.   I've got a pretty good system down, am working on getting a shaping stand built, but am still searching for that perfect product for the final leather treatment.  I like the Skidmores I used the first time.  I have 3 other products I am trying out right now.  Eventually I may do a post on comparisons.

Well, hope everyone is staying cool and getting some good equine time in.


  1. The look on her face while emptying the boot is priceless. Looks like she had fun. You know, I have my trail riding buddy help clean up manure and do other barn chores in exchange for riding my horses. It really helps in the heat. I can't stay outside for more than about 20 minutes if it's above 105 outside, so I have to clean manure in shifts. I think I've been making 4 to 5 trips outside each day to clean up. However, now that the house next door is up for sale, I think I might start just leaving the manure out there to scare away non-horsey people. Let them think there are bad smells and flies. It sounds like Trax is your trail horse and Melody is your arena horse, but you'd like them both to be more versatile?

  2. It looks like she had fun and besides, some people pay a LOT of money for a mud bath.

    I may have to drag the old Simco out of hiding. It could use a once over and I honestly don't have time. I have heard great things about saddle honey or harness honey. Slop it on, rub it in and let it sit. Wipe off the excess later on and done. Another blogger posted about it not too long ago and I've heard a lot of great things about it on one of the driving boards I read.