Thursday, May 19, 2011

Back on Jak

Robin and I spent the last few days visiting her family in Arizona.  We had wonderful weather and lots of relaxing family time.  We also got to spend some time with the horses.  For three days I got to ride my sister-in-law's horse Jak.  He is a spunky little Appaloosa with a lot of character.  He was also the first horse I ever rode.  I have a picture of me riding a pony when I was 5, and I have a vague memory of being up on a horse at one my dad's friend's houses when I was maybe 10, but Jak is the first horse I rode where I was in charge of the reins.  That was a little over 5 years ago.  It is funny to look back on those first rides; I never would have thought horse ownership was in my future. 

It had been about 2 years since I last rode Jak, and I think he was a little surprised by my progress as a horse person.  Like I said, Jak can be a bit spunky, and this often leads to him taking a few advantages of his rider.  But on our rides he never got the best of me.  We did some nice walking, trotting, and a little loping, along with some fun foot-work.  After he realized I wasn't going to let him make any decisions, he kind of started to enjoy himself even though I didn't always have the best seat.

Jak's saddle is actually Robin's old saddle from when she had her first horse Blue.  It is a really cool little leather saddle, but it had gotten a little sun-beaten and dried in recent years.  Robin and I spent a few days oiling it, and I could feel the skirts and fenders loosening up with each ride.

Unfortunately it was a little small for me (it's only a 14 inch seat), so I was perched a little more forward than I would have liked, and there were no more holes for me to let the stirrups out any further.  But I made do.

I also spent a little time with Rojo.  He's my mother-in-law's horse and he is a friendly Missouri Fox Trotter.  Up until this trip I had only really given him a few pets through the fence.  This time I had a lot more fun with him doing a little groundwork, grooming, and even worming (though he didn't appreciate that much).

Rojo and I, working on our "step by step" leading
On the final day I even rode Rojo.  I had never been on a gaited horse before and it felt very strange.  His whole body felt loose and relaxed as we strolled around the arena.  I could feel his hindquarters moving up and down, but he always felt smooth.  We spent a few minutes at the trot/fox trot.  He's a little rusty, and I know nothing about asking for funky gaits, so I kind of left it up to him to shift between the two. 
Even though I was his third rider that day, Rojo had no problem standing quietly while I mounted.
It was fun to ride out in the warm desert, but I'm really excited to get back to Bear and see how his vacation treated him.

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