Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Surprise Ride

On this brisk, clear, fall morning, I surprised my favorite fatty by pulling her away from her hay for an early morning ride.

Yup, that's what I typically find when I want to ride her!
It was 7:30 on Wednesday, and, normally, I am already at work at that time.  So, not only did I surprise Hudson with a ride at an unusual time, I also felt slightly off-kilter and a little guilty.  But there was no need to feel like I was playing hooky, since my boss has given me the “OK” to shift my schedule, so I can ride before work a couple mornings a week this winter, as long as I don’t have other pressing obligations. 

This is a rare opportunity, and one I appreciate. 

But back to the fatty.  Between her ample boditude and her thick, winter fuzz, Hudson was a challenge to get a girth around.   I mean, seriously, I could barely get her usual girth to the first hole on each side.  She does brace up against it, so after a few minutes, I was able to snug it up a another hole, but even so, that horse needs more morning rides and less time in front of the hay. 

During the one animal communicator session I paid for, a year or two ago, Hudson was quick to inform me that the vet didn’t know what she was talking about, that she, Hudson, was perfectly healthy and it was fine for her to eat as much as she wanted.  And, for validation purposes, that does appear to be consistent with Hudson’s eating philosophy; she is a devoted practitioner of the Eat As Much As You Can, As Fast As You Can diet. 

I intended to use the time to enjoy a simple ride, see what the new schedule feels like, and make plans for future work.  During this morning time, I will train Dee to behave herself under saddle and start Stormkite.  And, as usual, when facing a horse challenge as daunting as that, I called on Hudson to help remind me that I can train horses, ride horses and love horses.  She is my go-to girl in most new situations, and the change in focus to Dee, then Stormkite, away from Starlight for the time being, counts as a new situation. 

Hudson is usually a bit of a ninny on her first ride after a prolonged period of time off, and indeed, this morning she was as tight as a spring, a big, furry, fat-covered spring.   Most of the ride, she stayed coiled, causing me to focus constantly on my balance, wondering if and when there would be a big BOI-OI-OING.   I actually wanted to let her do the blast-off she desired (forward, of course, not UP), but I held her in, because this seemed like just the right situation for a blown tendon.

About half-way through the ride, she started to take normal strides, but I still didn’t let my focus move off somewhere else, because she could tell the second I did that, and would try to make her own decisions about the ride.  For instance, when I moved the reins from one hand to the other, to put on gloves, she immediately noticed the change in focus and thought it must mean she could go back to the barn.  

It wasn’t long before I did let her take us back.  I was pleased with the workout, and I think she was pleased with the attention.  

I didn’t get in any planning at all, but that, truly, is one of the most wonderful things about horseback riding.  It forces you to focus on the moment, and let everything else go. 

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