While I had my pony out, the barn owner added a different horse to my pasture. The little herd of three was unfortunately reduced to two on the Thursday prior, and the balance was being restored. Razz is dominant and the horse they added was a small framed, submissive palomino. No big deal, right? When I turned the boy back out I watched them for a good 20 minutes. Everyone was happy go lucky.
My husband left for a turkey hunt on Sunday. He went to my family land in the mountains. Not long after he took off I went back to the barn. One look at Razz and it was evident that things had been a little rowdy overnight. He had a small whelp on his left side in the saddle flap area, and a huge, swollen bite on the right front side of his neck (complete with individual tooth impressions from both the upper and lower). He was still touchy in the loin area too. So I groomed him well and turned him back out.
Another boarder was at the top barn getting ready to go out for a ride when I headed up to the car to leave. She owns two horses and offered me one to ride. Of course I accepted. Both her horses are Peruvian Pasos. I'd never ridden a gaited horse before.
My horse was nervous about me riding him at first. He wasn't naughty at all. Just tense as hell, not knowing what to expect. I was aware another lady who isn't really familiar with horses had been coming out and riding him some. As I groomed him (he was sooo muddy) I spoke softly and tried to be as unintimidating as possible. My glasses darken in the sunlight and I took them off a few times so that he could see my eyes and understand I meant him no harm. When I first mounted he kept his ears tuned in on me 100%. I was tacked up western. Haven't done that in quite a while. Paso was very responsive. Hardly any aid was needed to ride him and I liked that. He neck reins and works off the seat. I kept my hand super quiet just above the wither, free arm bent at 90* (think reining position). No leg at all. Not needed. At. All.
It was refreshing to ride a horse that operates so effortlessly. I praised him and rubbed his neck regularly. His nerves eventually settled and we had a nice ride. He was really athletic too. At one point we were galloping down the trail, I was in front. Everything is green in the woods now, except for that fallen pine tree laying on the right side of the trail. The needles are still attached and bright orange. Homeboy sprung left out of nowhere, the upper half of my body continued to go right. I wasn't expecting it at all. Thank god for the built up pommel on that western saddle. As soon as he spooked I instinctively gripped with the legs but the pommel made it much easier to stay centered over him. We were out for an hour and a half. Upon returning my pony wasn't sweaty at all, even under his long, thick mane. His owner made the comment about how he comes back all sweaty with the other rider and they don't gallop the way we did on our ride. She thinks the other lady makes him nervous, confirming what I was picking up on as soon as we pulled him from his paddock. I took the chance to mention " if he's not used to a lot of hand or leg it will drive him nuts". Paso goes in a long shank bit with a spoon port. Poor thing has probably had the roof of his mouth torn the fuck up.
It was fun spending the morning on a different horse, but I'm not ready to go western, or gaited, any time soon. I feel right at home in my english saddle with a rein in each hand. The paso strikes me as an arab/iberian blend. Huge neck and shoulder relative to the rest of his body, refined and compact, athletic, sensitive.
So it looks like Razz will have one more break in our riding. I'm headed out of town this afternoon, gone for six more days. This is it though, my commitment for the year will be fulfilled. Relieved doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about that.
|my peruvian paso pal|