Back in the Saddle   Leave a comment

Well, I did it.

I saddled Duffy up, took him down to the round pen, and worked him there for a while.  Then we went down to the tallest mounting block, and I got on.  We rode in the arena for a while, then went out and rode around this side of the ranch for a while.  That was when I asked him for a fox trot.

Now, a fox trot is a very pleasant gait.  The sound of the hoofbeats is distinctive; a slightly irregular, syncopated beat that the old-timers describe as saying “a chunk o’ meat an’ two potatoes, a chunk o’ meat and two potatoes”  Most of the other smooth gaits have a regular four-beat rhythm.  In addition, the horse’s head will nod, and his ears may flop and lips pop in time with his stride.  From the rear, you may see “a wrinkle an’ a crinkle” in his tail as he moves.  If you’ve got all of that, you’ve got a real old-timey Missouri fox trotter.

Duffy just wanted to pace.  A pace is not a pleasant gait.  It is hard, jerky, and whips you from side to side.  We went round and round, alternating walking and pacing as I tried to push him gently into gait.  Suddenly he gave me a few strides, as we hit a little downhill stretch.  I stretched up, sat down, and tried not to move a muscle.  It was only a short distance, and we were back to pacing.  Around we went again, and this time he kept it for a few more strides.  We did that three or four more times, and when he gave me the longest try yet and a couple of ear flops, I dropped to a walk, loosened the reins, and let him walk in.

We were both hot and sweaty, and both of us had a shower.  It was a good session.  I hope we can do it again tomorrow . . . but I’ve got a few sore spots that are reminding me of how long it’s been.  We’ll see how it goes.

You can’t very well take a picture of yourself riding . . . so here’s a shot of the amaryllis blooming on the patio.  Last night, with the sun setting behind them, they looked as though they were on fire.



Posted April 21, 2013 by stablewoman in Duffy, Flowers

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