Friday, December 23, 2016

First ride on Joe Bob--reprint from The Adventures of Joe Bob. (and an addendum)

Today was our first outing together. It was not as Idyllic as either of us would have liked.  We started out OK, heading over toward Mike's sister's house. We picked up a dog there, a border collie who is really into chasing horse tails. I was able to keep her in front of us, but either my nerves or his got the better of us both and we ended up getting really short and nervous.  He got impatient waiting on me while I talked to my brother in law and his wife, but then we went on. Somewhere in the next 5 minutes he got really agitated and I had to dismount to fix his curb chain which was way too tight. I was riding him in the wonder bit as I have been advise, but may try to find my snaffle for the next ride.  I had to get back to my brother in law's house to borrow a footstool so I could remount. I'm thinking I need a footstool everywhere I go where I might dismount and need to remount. Then he wouldn't stand by the mounting block so we went round and round, back and forth and generally had him a sweat just to remount. He finally stopped in front of the block on the off side, and I went for it.
In the meantime, Mike had walked down the drive way and he seemed really nervous about all the dogs and Mike in the distance. He was also hearing his herd whinny and I'm sure he wanted to be barn sour, but he is so well trained that he didn't "do" anything bad.  A few times we walked sideways down the road, but as soon as I moved his butt over and we turned around to face away from home and relax he was fine. Then we hit a stretch where he was almost perfect...then he heard the herd again and got a little squirrely.

All 4 feet stayed on the ground at all times.  He just got quick and agitated and my own fears of being run off with came into play. I suspect they are dumb b/c every time I whoaed him or moved his hip he immediately disengaged and stopped...good boy Joe Bob. He hasn't been ridden in quite some time, so I feel pretty good about the way things went. I never felt unsafe and I felt like he was trying really hard all the time to do what I asked. We did some obstacle work which went pretty well too. Then I dismounted and walked back down the road to Mike and then we came home together.  I jogged him in hand which went great until I rolled my right ankle on a rock and went down on my left knee.  Joe Bob stopped and looked at me like I was a fool and that I should get up b/c I was embarrassing him in front of the other horses. He stood perfectly still.  He let me lean on him to get back up. Good Joe Bob.

When I took off his tack I saw that my saddle left smooth hair but there were not even sweat marks so the specialized I have always had for Liberty may not be wide enough. Or I may not have ridden him long enough to make him sweat under that part of the saddle.  I don't know him well enough to know if he acts badly if he's uncomfortable or if he just keeps plugging along.  I have a couple other saddles to try so I can find out later on if another one fits better.  I may also try Sherman's walking horse bit or a couple different snaffles I have.

In reflection it could be that I'm used to my little bitty horses and I just need to get used to how he moves. My walkers always needed a pretty snug rein, Joe Bob may need a looser one. I need to experiment.

My knee turned out to be a bloody mess :-(

I'm still thinking every time I ride a new horse...why aren't they as good as Liberty. This isn't fair of course, b/c Liberty does plenty of not good stuff and I always joke and say "Liberty wasn't always Liberty" Meaning, of course, that he had to be trained and grow into himself.  However, Joe has so much personality it's going to be a fun journey.

Tomorrow if it's not raining I'm going to ride Vandy. I have a bridle for him to put his bit on...he is more the shape and size of Liberty and I may end up just using his Hackamore. IT's my plan to get him a teal bridle from Trail Blazer's tack with a breast collar to match b/c he is so much smaller through the chest than even Liberty. I was able to make Liberty's breast collar fit Joe Bob, but I had to adjust it so much that isn't pleasing either, so Joe will also need his own breast collar. I like to have a set of tack for each horse when possible. Otherwise Liberty, Hermoso and Vandy will end up wearing a pink breast collar b/c they are small and so is it...with different colored head stalls and nothing will match. That pink head stall is so tiny it only ever fit Fiera and Ollie and I was shocked it fit Fiera.  Of course, all this stuff costs money so for now I'll just acquire pieces slowly. 

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