Riding 29 year old Sandy in 1997

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Riding Dawn

I realized today that I hadn't ridden Dawn since the kids came up at Thanksgiving. Partly that is because Dash is my first love so I usually ride her just because I enjoy her so much. Partly it is because Dawn is a pig and likes to roll in mud so it's faster to tack Dash up because I don't have to do so much cleaning. And partly it's because Dawn occasionally has attitude and most of the time I don't want to deal with attitude, although truth be told she seems to have outgrown most of it anyway.

Dawn usually goes on the tough rides, the posse rides, and the posse training ride, however, and this weekend we are having a mock search. So I need to ride her because she usually settles down if she's ridden three days in a row. So that's my goal for this week, to ride Dawn every day.

So I went out about 3:30 and put the other two away and led Dawn to the tack room. She wasn't as filthy as she was right after the last rain so it didn't take that long to brush off the mud and put on a saddle. I took her into the round pen to settle her down and she immediately began tearing around, which is what she normally does when I first bring her into the round pen.

I let her run, then started controlling her. In about five minutes I was able to bring her down to a trot and walk on command, then back up to a more restrained canter. Many reversals of direction were done to further engage the "thinking side of her brain" as the horse whisperers call it. Finally I slipped on a bridle and got on her and rode her a bit at the walk and trot but only in the round pen.

She did fine. She's really wonderfully responsive, even more so than Dash, and I started working her on collection a little bit. I'm planning to start taking some dressage lessons soon and I'm debating about using a lesson horse or maybe trying to do it on Dawn. But she's a long way from collecting on command so I'll probably take the lessons on the trainer's horse and try to teach Dawn some of it on my own time once I start getting the hang of some of it.

But it was good to get back on her again. And I need to be sure, now that tax season has arrived, to give Dawn her turn in the rotation and not just ride Dash all the time because it's quicker. The more Dawn is ridden, the better she gets. I say all the time that she's actually the better horse. But Dash is the one I love, so unfortunately for second-born Dawn, she's still second choice for my pleasant evening rides.

Until the going gets tough. Then she's #1.

I think sometimes about selling her to someone for whom SHE will be #1 all the time, but I enjoy having both of my girls, and their mother, and I know it would be hard on both me and the horses to separate them, so as long as I can still scrape up the money to feed them all, I will keep her.

And I'll be back on her every day this week, so when it's time for the mock search this Sunday I will simply load her up and let her do her job, instead of taking Dash again.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.

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