Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back to My Roots ....

Although I have two horses, I haven't ridden in some time.  They are both pretty old (going on 24-25) and one has bad feet.  Even when I lose both these guys, I will never lose my love of riding.  I didn't realize quite how much I missed it until recently.

My friend Sandy horse camps with her family quite often up in the Sierras near Sonora Pass at a campground designed especially for horses and their riders called Clarks Fork.  She has asked me several times, but I was never able to go because I worked.  BUT NOW!!!!!  I'm all over it!!!

Lucky for me, she has an extra horse and no one to ride with her.  She has been riding them a lot lately so they will be in shape for the 9000 foot altitude.  Today I went with her to make sure my saddle fit Pete well enough so it did not cause sores.  Horses have different size withers and backs, so saddle fit is very important.  I have ridden this saddle for 25 years and it's still in great shape and fit him fine.
My pickup license plate was COWGRL for many years, so I had these spurs made with the same name (leaving out the O due to the short space).  My second pair has my name on them.  There is nothing more important to a horse rider (not counting the horse!!) than his saddle, spurs, bridle and hat.  Everyone has their own ideas about what they feel works best for them.  No need to stick a horse with sharp rowels (the round thingy) so I had mine made with blunt edges.
Although most trainers ride their horses in a snaffle bit for a few months as a training device, I use it on my horses exclusively.  It's easy on their mouth, yet gives you feather touch control.  The lighter you are with your hands, the softer the horses mouth, the more control you have.  I could spend hours on this, but ... moving on ...
We saddled up this morning at her ranch outside Merced and rode for two hours through the orchards and fields, walking, trotting and loping alternately to "leg them up" like I would for a half marathon.  Boy was I surprised at how much my knees bothered me (and my butt, but we won't go there).  It takes all over muscle control to ride a horse, especially one you are not familiar with and I was feeling every one of them.  That's okay ... you couldn't tell by the smile on my face.  I loved every minute of it.  Next Wednesday I pack up and hit the trail to Clarks Fork for 4 days of camping and riding.  No RV this time .. it's a little too big for the campground.  I'll sleep in the back of my truck.  I do have a bad feeling about this whole thing ... I see new trailer tires in my future ... and maybe even a new horse if I can find a place to keep it while I travel!!!

So for now I'll don my hat and say so long Pardner .... Happy Trails!!!

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