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Another milestone for Buck

January 14th, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Anne has returned from Christmas with her family back east so she came out yesterday along with Jen for our Sunday ride.  We put her on Silver and then the three of us headed south down the road to see how Buck would do.  In the exact same spot in the driveway as last Wednesday he shook like a dog after a bath and nearly unseated me.  I was slightly more prepared this time but he doesn’t have the belly like Silver for that extra security and I swear I thought I was a goner.  I managed to stay on but I tell you what, that is the strangest feeling to be atop a horse shaking his entire body to get the saddle settle in.  Not for the faint of heart.  Seemed to entertain Anne though.  I’m here to help, that’s my motto.

About two miles into the ride the others began to trot and Buck waited until I asked him before joining.  I didn’t feel like I had very good control for that first time, but honestly, I think it’s “pilot error” (my own nervousness) – he stopped just fine when I asked him and never bolted.  I tried very hard to not tense as we went over the first bridge and Anne watched him right along with me.  As he hit the hollow sounding bridge he seemed more interested in the birds Jack was chasing.  In fact, other than just once spooking a little (few steps sideways) at some birds launching in flight, the ride was incident free – he was very curious and constantly looking around but very calm and relaxed with his head down and eyes soft.

Another mile down the road we came to the first batch of dogs, this group comes out into the road and is more interested in the horses than Jack at times so I was anxious to see his reaction with this group.  Buck just walked slowly by.  We trotted again shortly after that and this time I was able to get two distinct speeds in his trot, a nice jog and then one a tad faster.  We were doing well at this point and I noticed him tiring just a little by the third mile.  I was really excited that a car approached from behind and as it came within his view, he raised his head a bit and that was all.

We came upon the second batch of dogs about that time and these are the ones that bark but try to get Jack playing.  The husky was feeling particularly playful so she and Jack ran willy nilly in and out of the horses and just all over the place – perfect for a training lesson on Buck.  Other than a polite side-step around the dogs once or twice, no problem.   We headed over the next bridge which was deep in the treelines and he did awesome over it as well.  He was doing so well we decided to trot again and Anne qued Silver.  I let her get a little ahead then asked Buck to trot.  All I remember is thinking, this can’t be a trot, there’s no way his legs could move this fast  and then I heard Jen say, “Wow!  He’s got a REALLY fast trot.  Are you OK up there?”  She got Cartman to canter and came up along side to make sure I was ok and I told her this was the faster trot I’d ever seen in my life.  She let Cartman continue on in a medium speed canter and Buck was keeping right up with him, even maybe a little faster, in this incredible gait.  I couldn’t sit to get rhythm and I couldn’t post either so I just gave up and rode like a jockey sort of on my knees.  Finally I asked him to slow down and he went into a normal trot but I tell you, that was one strange ride.

We rounded the last mile and we let the horses go just a bit, they were cantering and Buck went back into his super-fast-wacky-trot while I laughed hysterically and tried to make peace with it.  Hopefully I’ll figure out a decent riding position to enjoy it.  We arrived back at the barn safe and sound, although the ride was over but I was on a high the rest of the day.  I kept telling myself that this isn’t a horse born in a stall with people around him daily.  This isn’t a horse used to depending on humans to meet his needs.  This is a horse that until two years ago was running wild through the countryside and had never interacted with humans at all.  And this horse decided to let me get on his back and agreed to do the things I was asking.  I can’t explain the feeling that gives me.  Riding any horse is just awesome but there is truly something about riding a mustang that’s just plain different.  And considering I had a goal of getting on him for the first time sometime later in the fall or next spring, I’d say we’re doing quite well together.

On Wednesday, we canter in the pasture.  Well, that’s the plan anyway.  Looks good on paper eh?

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