We went to a local equine center and spent the day with animals. We had a quick lesson on the different styles of riding horses (Western vs. English). The horse trainer demonstrated some tricks. Then, they let volunteers brush the horses before they showed us how to saddle them. I ran for the brushes!
I've never cleaned a horse before, and I've always wanted to. The instructor showed me how to use the double metal loop to gently brush with the grain of the hair, then follow up with a bristle brush. They said how it's important to clean where the saddle will be so that dirt doesn't cause irritations to the skin. I had fun cleaning Top Gun. He was a big beautiful boy. One of my co-workers cleaned Top Gun from the other side. He must have thought it was spa day.
Then they saddled up the horses and asked who wanted to ride. YOU BET! Since I sort of started a relationship with Top Gun, I ran for him. Wahoo, I got to him first! I was able to get up without incident (hey, it's been decades since I've ridden a horse, and he's a tall boy). They adjusted the saddle, and away we went. We walked around with the instructor holding the lead. He told me what to do, which sounded so simple. What, wasn't I doing that? Ummm, not really. Ok, I see how I tried to use the reigns like a steering wheel. Which only confused poor Top Gun. Once I fixed that mistake, he was much happier. Top Gun soon relaxed. Then we were not only walking, we were trotting. The trainer warned me that Top Gun has a bumpy trot. He wasn't kidding.
Soon we were both at ease with each other, so the instructor turned me loose and told me to go wherever I wanted in the arena. We not only trotted, we cantered! It was so cool to ride that big beautiful horse. It gave me such a sense of glorious freedom. It gave me the bug to go riding again.
|Just starting to ride Top Gun|
I monopolized about as much of Top Gun's time as I could, then decided that I should let someone else enjoy him too. The instructor (Top Gun's owner) told me that he doesn't adjust well to following commands from other people riding him, and he did really good. Glad he told me that after, or it may have made me nervous. Which would have made Top Gun nervous! I dismounted without a step just fine. Whew! I did it. And I loved it.
So, I know what we are doing for my birthday this year. Trail riding, and I can't wait. The last time I rode a horse was in college with my college roommate, Jus, probably the summer of '89 or '90. For something fun to do, we went on a trail ride towards the end of the school year. Wish I could find the fuzzy out-of-focus picture from way back then.
I rode a couple of times growing up (as in single digits, not like I did it often). The first time or two was on our family vacations to Colorado. Here's a picture from when I was 10 or a little younger...
|I guess I had a flair for wearing clothes that clashed on the weekends as a kid, too.|
After riding Top Gun in the arena, I walked around and looked at all the other animals they have.
|Meet Ham (left) & Bacon (right), not their real names|
And I met my new boyfriend, Jake. He's a total lush when it comes to a butt rub, so we bonded. Both of his eyes were brown/blue in each of his eyes. I've never seen another like him.
|I'm a sucker for those eyes, and his hair|
Speaking of visits, Tullybird will be here tomorrow--in just a few hours as a matter of fact! I have the week all planned out for meals/drinks/shopping, and... horse back riding! We are going to hit the trail for a ride. WAHOO! I am so excited that she's coming for a 2nd visit this year!