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October 13, 2013: A Bit of Sunshine on a Rainy Day

It’s good to begin with a plan. In fact, successful horse people advocate this. But I think that sometimes it’s sometimes okay to forego the original plan and go with another. This is what happened here today.

Today my friend Heather came for a visit with her horse Rio. I hadn’t seen her since last June, when we did the competitive trail ride clinic in Fairbanks. I asked her what the day’s plan was as she was unloading her horse from the trailer. She said it was to first take Rio for a walk, then to do a saddle fit check. Heather had, last summer purchased a

Synergist saddle, but discovered that it pinched her horses’ withers.

So Pete, Heather, and I put Rio’s saddle pad and saddle in place. Heather was right – it was pinching him. Most likely she will have to send it back and have it adjusted. But we will next take a closer look at her Equimeasure pad.

The deviation in plans occurred after the saddle fit session. Heather stayed put in her saddle, and Pete went and got Hrimmi. I went and got Tinni. Pete walked Hrimmi, I rode Tinni (bareback) and Heather RODE Rio. We all went around the loop.

Upon our return, I went and got Raudi and Signy. Pete held Heather’s stirrup with one hand, and Hrimmi’s lead with the other. Whoa, Heather nearly lost her balance getting on, but recovered nicely. Off we then went. Heather again RODE Rio. Pete again walked Hrimmi. And I rode Raudi and ponied Signy.

For both rides, Rio was calm, composed, and collected. At the same time, he was clearly enjoying himself, and he was listening to his rider. And Heather sat square in the saddle. I was most impressed.

Understand: It’s taken Heather ten years to get this far. Rio was two when she purchased him, and rather wild. And Heather didn’t have access to the best trainers. But she persisted, with the end result being that she now has a decent riding horse.

Getting this far wasn’t easy that long ago. Last spring Heather came to our place and had Bill Sullivan work with her and Rio. Looking at the pair, I thought that they still had a long ways to go before they could be considered a team. Today, they were very much a team.

I have to say that I was also impressed with how our horses did. Tinni was a bit stiff today, but otherwise responsive. And Raudi and Signy moved along nicely. We even practiced some, in the second go-round, Heather being out front at first, then Raudi, Signy, and I taking the lead. And lest we forget – Little Hrimmi kept her cool the entire time.

There was also a time, a few years back in which I would first have put a saddle on Tinni before taking him for a ride with another horse. And my taking Raudi out, saddle or no saddle, would have been unthinkable. And I most definitely would not have ponied another horse.

So, what’s next? Well, Heather and I are both planning on doing the competitive trail ride, that is the Bald Mountain Butt Buster, next July. Heather’s a little dubious, but I am saying we are going to bust butt. I can hardly wait.

Next: 202: 10/1413: Big Ideas