Thursday, December 08, 2011

lessons in riding, 14: two's company, seven's a... herd?

My schedule on Thursdays is typically pretty packed, so I had in mind that today would be a break day from riding for me and Keil Bay. Things changed late this afternoon and suddenly I had time available, so I went out and brought him in. He was a mud cake and had to be curried, and then I forgot to put my stirrup leathers back on the saddle so had to leave Keil Bay at the mounting block (he followed me to the gate and then waited there for me) to get them.

By the time I was in the saddle it was dusk and the full moon was up over the tree line.

I looked up, saw it, and said "Wow! Keil, look at that moon!" You might not believe this, but I am serious - he looked up at it.

All I wanted to do today was take it easy and enjoy some walking and a little trotting. He marched forward the same good way he has all week. I was focused on how his stride was moving my seat, noting that when I even thought about it his stride lengthened.

Then BANG. Cody managed somehow to open the arena gate. Before I could get to it to close it, in he came, followed by Salina, then Redford and Rafer Johnson, and finally Apache Moon.

I knew if I got off and took the time to get them all out I'd end up deciding it was time to stop. So we rode with the herd.

At first they were all following Keil Bay. Then gradually each one found his/her spot and something to do in it.

Salina and Redford went to the corner by the hay tent and grazed for stray bits of hay. Rafer Johnson found an empty hay net hanging on the gate and tossed the metal ring in the bottom into the air over and over again, pointing out that yes, the hay net is empty, and yes, technically, this is the time I usually serve hay.

The pony rustled through fallen leaves looking for acorns. Cody stationed himself at X so my changing directions across the diagonal wasn't really an option.

Keil Bay and I used the empty half of the arena and did some trot circles, leg yielding, a little shoulder-in, and mostly just relaxed. Those dark shadows in the back field aren't quite so scary when you have your entire herd with you.

Keil and I have had a blast this week - and I guess it was time to share the joy!


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

It's nice to share ;)

I've really enjoyed reading about you and the big bay's stellar week. Hugs to all the equines!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think your herd are a hilarious bunch of characters. How nice that the big bay didn't mind them in the arena while he was working.

You and Keil have had a wonderful week. Maybe it's the full moon who knows. And yes I believe that he looked up and saw it, these equines are a lot smarter than humans give them credit for. I'm convinced they understand a lot of what we say to them.

billie said...

Thanks, C - it's been terrific. So glad you and Val are having equally good times!!

billie said...

A, they are a crew, aren't they? I wish we lived on enough land that it was safe to hack out with Salina and the donkeys - they could come as far as they wanted and then stop to graze until we came back.

Have you read the novel The Hearts of Horses? It was good and last night, for a few minutes, reminded me of a scene where a young woman rider/trainer was riding along with her little posse of horses. When I was on Keil Bay and the moon was high and this herd was behind us, I felt a little bit like that - out in the big country, just me and the horses, heading to the next place.

Of course that romantic image falls apart when this crew starts demanding their hay, in stalls, with clean water buckets, and blankets, etc. etc. :) But for a little while we pretended.