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December 28, 2017: The Horse Life: Riding with the Posse

A few days ago I got an email from Deb Moore saying that she’d be out with the posse today, weather permitting. Right now, weather permitting is temperatures around 0F here, and lower at her place. I did not think that she’d come over, though the sun was shining brightly.

I was wrong. Promptly at 1:30 p.m. she showed up, as planned with a handful of her young riders. The kids and Deb unloaded the horses from the stock trailer, saddled and prepared to go. We also had Raudi and Hrimmi tacked up, so no one got cold waiting around for others to get ready.

I rode Raudi and Pete rode Hrimmi. Pete and I lead our horses to the trailhead so that they’d get warmed up. I also walked Raudi because I am working on her ground manners. She did just fine though she was eager to keep up with the rest.

We had Ryder with us. Deb had two dogs with her. Pete and I mounted up at the trailhead and I put Raudi out front because I knew the way. Raudi was uncharacteristically slow for the first part of the ride. She kept looking back; perhaps she was wonderous about the fact that there were so many horses behind her – six in all. And she stopped a few times. In the future I am going to carry a crop on group rides so that I remain consistent in asking for the forward command.

It was an amazing ride – the kids rode bareback and had excellent seats as was evidenced by the fact that in heading around the bend for home one of the horses did what I called an Air B and B – a buck and a bounce. The rider remained in her seat and we continued on.

I was (again) most impressed with the fact that Deb was both attentive to her young charges and at the same time hands off, meaning that she did not tell them “Hands down, heels up. Now do this, this, and this.” She did indicate that more training takes place in warmer weather – on Deb’s part, this has to be a judgement call. She gave an example of this, saying that they were all riding down at the river and the horses balked when they came to a crossing. Deb wisely decided to work on crossings on a warmer day.

It was so incredible the kids were so happy – they were laughing, talking, and at one point even singing. And Deb seemed happy too. I think she has found her niche in working with kids and horses. But what an amazing undertaking – dealing with all those kids and all those horses – this is not something most could do well.

Towards the ride’s end we did the creek loop off of Jim’s Road. I lead Raudi across because there were horses on all sides of me. And after, I made her stand still twice on Jim’s Road while the other horses passed by. This is an integral part of her training. In past Competitive Trail Rides, she has gotten real antsy at pulse and respiration stops. This is in part because she is food obsessed and wants to get at the grass. I figure that now is the time to break this bad habit, while there’s no grass. And come spring, we will keep at it.

Raudi is in training, and so am I. I usually ride alone or with Pete, so I am not used to group rides. The last time I rode with Deb was last spring – on the Crevasse Moraine Trail system. It was extremely buggy and for Raudi, a not so fun ride. I didn’t put bug dope on Raudi. She just wanted to bolt and get away from the mosquitoes. Today there were no bugs.

We all arrived back at Base Camp safe and sound. We tied our horses up. Deb and crew put blankets on the horses. Me and the girls, we got down on the ground and made snow angels before they all departed.

I told Deb before she left that I hope to ride with the posse this spring because I need more experience riding with others. My thinking is, this might actually be fun. Imagine that!

Deb, horses, dogs, and girls pulled out of the driveway and I checked my GPS watch. We rode 3 miles, at 2.5 miles per hour. No record, but considering it was cold out, it’s its own sort of accomplishment.

Next: 360. 12/29/17: Another Project

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