Last Saturday I drove down to see Blu - it felt like forever since I had seen him - 3 weeks since my last ride. I was supposed to have driven down on the 23rd for a day trip, but after driving to Berkeley and San Francisco on the 22nd I was just too tired to contemplate the trip. So I'd stayed home.
There wasn't much that would keep me from making this trip!
I had hoped that Ken would be joining me. Bill and his son were going to be there and since it was the weekend of Halloween we'd thought it would be fun to have everyone there. But Ken didn't go and Bill and his son ended up heading home after their lessons. Sharon and I stayed, though, and had lessons on both Saturday and Sunday.
I arrived before noon on Saturday and since the day was going to be packed full with Todd giving multiple lessons I immediately started getting ready. Blu was turned out in one of the pastures next to the arena and had been running all over - making a nuisance of himself to the people riding. But at least I knew he'd had a chance to get his yahoos out! I saddled him up and Todd said he'd started riding him in a bosel and I should grab it, instead of the snaffle we'd usually used.
Todd got on first and used the time to show me how riding with a bosel was different than a snaffle. Since there isn't a bit, the pressure on the nose is different and the use of the reins is different. You hold the reins much wider apart (what Sharon and I have called the 'flying W' for years) and sort of use the opposite rein than normal because of the way it moves the bosal on the nose.
Once Todd had gotten Blu to go through his paces it was time for me to get on. Ouch. Holy smokes those reins (called a Mecate on a bosel) were painful! They were the classic horsehair style and were quite "pokey" with the ends of the hairs sticking out all over. They were beautiful, of course, but ouch!
Once I got accustomed to the feel of the reins themselves I had to get accustomed to the use of them. I'd say it took about 30 minutes to truly get the feel of how to use them. Todd was pleased with how quickly I picked up the feel. And Blu was fun to ride using the bosel. It was quite different - not having that direct contact with his mouth. I liked it - especially because I have to learn not to hold onto his mouth so much. I need to trust that he won't run off just because I release his mouth. And riding with the Bosel makes me trust him because I wouldn't have as much control over him if he DID decide to run off.
I was loping and had a big smile on my face when Sharon, Bill and Christian showed up. Their timing was great.
Since I'd not been on Blu in three weeks I was reluctant to get off. Quite content to sit on him for hours, I chatted with Sharon while Todd went back to the barn to get ready for Christian's lesson. Eventually I had to get off. Much sooner than I wanted, but really, there was no purpose to just sitting on him. So I unsaddled him and since the weather was fabulous I took the opportunity to give him a bath. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to give him another for months, with the weather about to change.
With him all wet I could really see that his coat was getting long. Not nearly as long as Cre's used to get, but long enough. When I'd bought him in March he really didn't have a long coat at all. I think that was probably because he lived inside, in a barn that didn't have a paddock, and was probably lit quite a bit more than at Todd's place. Lighting makes the horse's body react differently - it thinks it's summer so doesn't get as heavy a coat.
I took a bunch of pictures with my phone while he was grazing and drying.
He's such a cool looking horse that it's fun to take pictures. Though I've yet to do a 'formal' photo shoot - it's hard to do when I'm the photographer and horse holder! For some of these photos I dropped the lead rope, realizing that he really wasn't going to go anywhere.
Once I put Blu away I grabbed a seat and watched the tail end of Sharon's lesson and Todd's ride on Nazz.
When all the lessons were over and Bill and Christian headed home, we went into the house and started fixing dinner. It was the perfect opportunity to carve pumpkins but we didn't have any so Mike and I drove to the store and bought all they had - 3. Cody drew the faces and carved two of the three and Todd carved the third. I cooked the seeds and made three separate batches. One was garlic salt, another salt and pepper and the third batch was an experiment that turned out to be delicious. Cinnamon sugar! Yumm. Perfect with coffee (or so I understand - since I don't drink coffee I had to take their word for it.)
Sunday morning the sun was shining! Another beautiful day and I got to spend it in the saddle! There isn't much finer than a beautiful Fall day spent on horseback.
When I got on Blu the reins seemed to find all the holes in my fingers that they'd created yesterday. Instead of having blisters I had holes from the horsehair reins (gives a new perspective on the agonies of wearing a horsehair shirt). We discussed other options for mecate reins and when I'm in Vegas for Cowboy Christmas I'll be keeping an eye out for a show bosel with mecate reins that are COMFORTABLE!
The ride itself was great. 100% positive. I'm not saying Blu was perfect, but for every challenge he put up I met it and overcame. Gives me confidence and gives Blu the thought that the more I 'win' the challenges the less likely he is to put up more. This will probably be one of those comments I'll look back on and laugh a year from now.
I was camera happy - phone camera, that is. Had been taking video of Todd on Rocky doing their flying lead changes and thought Blu looked really cool with the bosel. At the time I took this picture I saw the shadow of my phone on his jaw and wasn't going to keep it, but what the heck. He looks handsome.
Over all I'm really happy with the rides I had on Saturday and Sunday. We walked, jogged and loped in both directions and we did lots of turns, using leg pressure 99% of the time. I am looking forward to my next ride in two weeks. I'm on call the weekend between and so I can't be out of town. Ah well. It'll be a chores and football weekend, I'm sure.