Monday, March 29, 2010

Steen vs. the Babbling Brook

Monday found Steen

and me out on our first real ride of the season in the company of Jean and Schooley. The horses were pretty calm starting off, and the sun was out, there was a nice breeze and it felt good to be in the great outdoors. We meandered around the property for a while, the only incident being the startling emergence of a wild turkey in the underbrush. Steen bolted but didn't stay freaked out after I brought his brief dash to a halt.

From Cathi's land we went to the adjoining property owned by our vet, which includes an eventing course we're allowed to ride on as long as we don't go over the jumps. One of the obstacles is a creek crossing, and Schooley tromped on through so I half-hoped Steen would tromp on after him. No such luck. Steen stopped on the bank and quickly decided the quickly rushing water was life-threatening.

I dismounted and walked into the water (yay for cowboy boots) and tried to walk along with a very nonchalant manner to suggest to Steen walking in streams is no big deal. Once again my mecate came in quite handy for leading, and I was employing the "don't look at him and he will follow" philosophy, so I didn't see Steen gather himself up to leap.

From there things went downhill fast. I don't know exactly what happened, but I ended up knocked over hanging onto the reins in a (fortunately successful) attempt to keep Steen from crashing into Schooley. I lost some skin on my fingers and gained a bruise on my leg, but was otherwise unharmed. I then spent the next ten minutes or so teaching Steen to cross the water without knocking me over, and eventually I remounted and we rode on.

For a few minutes after the water, Steen was pretty keyed up, but I just asked him to trot along the edge of a bean field, back and forth four or five times, and he chilled out. On the way back he went through the water with me on his back, with only a few dorky high-stepping trot/leap strides and minimal stress.

So, all in all it was an absolutely wonderful ride.

Oh, and Sham seems to be adjusting to the new lodgings without a problem. He even walked right up to me and let me pet his face.

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