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September 15, 2012: Riding with the Posse

It was yet another big day for Raudi and I. Yesterday, Pete and I arranged to ride with Deb Moore, who usually takes a large group riding when she goes out. By large, I mean six or more horses and riders.

We’d arranged to ride what I call the Residential Loop –a cobbled together assortment of state land and private trails. I used to ride it all the time on Tinni, and now I do it fairly often on Raudi. It’s a good rain or shine ride.

We had planned to gather here, and leave our place at 9:30 a.m. Pete and I finished chores and breakfast at 9:20 a.m. and then went to get our horses ready. The posse was already here. I was tightening Raudi’s saddle as they came, en masse, up into the yard. It looked like the RCMP was descending upon Squalor Holler.

I’d decided to use Tinni’s saddle. Big mistake. But I didn’t have time to give this matter any thought. Off we all went, at a good clip, down Murphy Road. Too late – I realized that I needed to adjust my stirrup leathers. And too, that this saddle wasn’t as secure as the one I usually use. Sitting on it is akin to sitting on a postage stamp. I could not get balanced, and Raudi became increasingly more pacey. It appeared as though it was going to be a harrowing ride.

I asked everyone to stop at the trail turnoff, and there I adjusted my leathers, Raudi standing quietly as I did this. From that point in time on, everything was fine. It was a good ride. The horses did slide around some on the slippery trails, and the rain did find its way into my rubber boots. And the homeward portion of our adventure was a bit too fast for my liking. Raudi, who I’d been holding back, finally shot off like a cannon ball.

The above only alludes to the fact that this ride was yet another milestone for Raudi and I. I had, a few years back, ridden with the posse, and of course, my heart was in my throat. I dreaded it beforehand, and during the ride just wanted it to be over. This time was way different.

Beforehand, I deliberated a bit as to which horse I’d ride – Signy, Tinni, or Raudi. Raudi got the nod simply because we are now a team. This time around, there was no angst, or fear that she’d do something stupid, like bolt with me.

I was, early on, pretty concerned about my saddle situation and consequently fairly quiet. But once this was taken care of, I relaxed and became quite chatty. I had previously noticed that Pete is always talking on these rides – and now, I was doing the same. I also began putting Raudi in differing places in the lineup, not just on Siggi’s butt.

And I wasn’t concerned when Raudi went at too fast a speed up to the final turnoff. I figured that she’d slow down quick enough and she did.

And so, now it’s really no longer a big deal to ride with larger groups of horseback riders. I could not have envisioned this eight years ago, when Raudi was a yearling. It’s amazing, how far we’ve come. . . .

After the ride, I tried out another rider’s saddle. I allowed Raudi to graze as Terri slipped it on her back. Raudi was intent on eating and moving around, so I took matters in hand, and I had her stand in the middle of the road, quietly, while we all futzed around.

Raudi did as I asked. I don’t think that Pete or Terri noticed. No matter. But it occurred to me that Raudi and I are now making progress is a huge way. We can now ride fear free with larger groups and have a good time. It’s taken a lot of time and energy to overcome this final fear-related obstacle. But by gosh, I’ve done it.

Next: 280. 09/16/12: The Saturday Evening (COM) Post