Becoming a Saddle Bronc Rider 101

In honor of the back-to-school season, I thought it was appropriate to talk a little about the progress our four-legged pupils are making. Remy is doing very well. She is growing by the day and is weighing in around 40 pounds if I were to make an educated guess. She is loving her big brother and he is actually starting to love her. I find them snuggling together more and more. When they’re not slurping gallons of water out of their bowls in one sitting.

Forward steps have been happening in the last few weeks sort of by happy accident and/or luck. I start by mentioning how we took Harper and Remy out on a long neighborhood walk on the same leash. They were on either end, and I was holding on the middle. They walked in front of me like a team of sled dogs as if it were old hat. I was so proud! More walking lessons are needed, but for the first time out, I was pleased.

Remy has managed to sleep in our bedroom with her big brother a few nights in the last two weeks. She comes in and snuggles with him on his giant round pillow, and it’s really hard to bring her back out into her crate. Looks something like this:

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ImageShe’s mainly in her crate at night, but it’s nice to know we’re breaking her in to sleeping in with us gradually and appropriately. In some small miracle, they do know that nighttime in the bedroom is for sleeping and they both keep to snuggling or moving around quietly until Brian or I gets up. She’s really being a good girl!

Duck, on the other hand, is quite a pill. There was a new member trail ride out at the barn this past weekend and I went out with high hopes for a normal day and an enjoyable ride. Unfortunately, that is not what I got. Duck had a pretty good fit in front of several other people and horses; I determined very quickly he would not be going on the trail ride due to poor behavior. He reared up, fell down, broke the hitching post and cracked my cheek with his head, and repeated this all in about 10 minutes of being saddled. “Feeling his oats” would be an understatement. Luckily, we got away with a mended hitching post, a bruised cheek, and a squashed toe. Oh, and several great bruises on my arms. Brian is concerned people will get the wrong idea…I assure everyone, it’s just my horse that is physically abusing me. But I keep going back…I can save him! He didn’t mean it!

Long story short, I did a little ground work with Duck that afternoon and hoped for a better trip next time. At the new member event, I spoke to a specialized, corrective farrier and will be using her services to get Duck’s front two hooves up to par. They need just a little bit of natural trimming and attention to make him an entirely different horse with better feet. I can understand; when my feet hurt, I’m be cranky too.

Tonight, Brian and I went out to see the rascal. We worked a little in the round pen and then worked our way to the outdoor arena to ride. With a few bucks here and there, he did just okay. Like maybe a 4 on a scale of 1-10. I know there will be those days when nothing feels right, the horseflys are out in mutant-like force, and my whole body hurts from Saturday’s rodeo. I’m totally wiped out, but I’m not frustrated just yet. We have some work to do and luckily, he’s getting some good attention. In the meantime, he sure can pose for a mean photo:

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The stalls in the barn.

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Duck and his best friend Chance.

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A view from Duck’s typical pasture of the covered arena and round pen.

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Duck

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Round training pen, red covered arena behind it.

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Lesson over.

So, we’re still working. Duck may be smart and stubborn, but so am I. With some appropriate hoof care and consistency, I feel good knowing he will be able to navigate the beautiful fall trails I want to explore on a well-behaved horse. I can’t wait. More updates as they come…hopefully soon!