I was going to write about how wonderful my thanksgiving was, which it was. I had planned to include a wonderful turkey brine recipe (we will get that up soon). Today calls for a different story. I sprained my right ankle very badly at the beginning of november. As luck would have it, it right ankle I was stuck at home and could not drive, not to mention the crutches or the giant boot I was supposed to wear. All of these things combined meant that I could not ride my horse or couldn’t even drive to go see him. This made for a very long month as I am used to seeing Ace several times a week if not every day. Well, this last week I have been hobbling around without the crutches and driving short distances. I woke up this morning after my husband left early for hunting and thought I’ll go see Ace.
I figured if I was going all the way out to the barn I should just ride him, why not! Well, I thought to myself maybe I should’t use the stirrups that might be easier on the ankle. Then I thought maybe use the english saddle instead of the western saddle as those stirrups are less clunky and I can just flip them over the saddle. This way they won’t knock Ace in the leg or my ankle. I loaded up the car and headed to the barn to hobble out and catch my horse. What could possibly go wrong?
Anyone who knows me has heard about Ace, I tend to talk about him a lot. On my way to the barn I’m realizing what a terrible idea this may be but that didn’t stop me. I was thinking how on earth am I going to lunge him? Ace doesn’t lunge in pretty circles around me while I stand still in the middle. Ace tends to lunge in large ovals and squares while I walk in a smaller ovals and squares. Occasionally just for fun he will pretend he is going to run into the wall. He will then stop just to see if I am really going to make him keep lunging (the constant struggle of who is really in charge). Then, I remember its end of November meaning my wonderfully behaved horse has turned into to demon spawn. Ace will think of every bad thing he can do until he decides I’m serious today we really are riding. Well, by now I’m convinced I may die this morning but at least I will get to see my horse first. When I walked (limped) my way out to his pasture and called him he came running over to the gate (yup I taught my horse to come when called). While I was trying to open the gate he was trying to push it down while knickering. Once we managed to get the gate open and shut with Ace through it he got his favorite banana cookies. This is when my 15.3 hand horse decided he missed me so much he rubbed his head all over me trying to pull me close all while knickering and snorting. It was pretty cute.
We walked up to the barn and I put Ace in the crossties and brushed him. This is the point I busted out the english saddle (we have been riding western for almost a year now). I put the saddle pads on and the saddle at which point I buckled the girth on one side. When I walked around to buckle the other side I realized my horse has gotten fatter since the last time we rode in this saddle. I told ace to suck it in! I put my helmet and then his bridle. We walked to the indoor arena which was thankfully empty. After making Ace suck it in some more we went over to the mounting block. This is when he gave me that “Are you sure you know what you are doing look”? I ignored his look and told him to stand still and I climbed aboard. We started at a walk reminding Ace I do know how to ride, and I am still in charge despite my absence. We practiced yielding off my legs and neck reining as well as stopping and backing up. At this point I thought this was going really well so lets try at a jog. I kept waiting for the point where Ace turned into a monster but all the hours and hours of training in the summer seems to have truly paid off. My horse was an angel (a fat one) but a completely different horse than he was last winter. Last winter I wouldn’t have even thought about riding him without lunging him especially without stirrups.
I could not have asked for a better day after thanksgiving. Today I realize how thankful I am to have my horse. We had a rocky start as a team but landed at a wonderful barn with wonderful people who have helped us along the way. Today I saw a horse that has realized I am not going to get rid of him and that I love him.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
― Winston S. Churchill