Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

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[Riding] Roman Rejuvenated

As I said before, I apologize for not making a horse post last week; I was exhausted when I got home, and kind of highly stressed. The past week or so was just plain BAD: my plumbing broke down, my microwave broke down, my cellular phone seemed like it was breaking down, my car broke down, my computer broke down... and somewhere in there, /I/ broke down. (All but the microwave have since been fixed, so my stress levels are a bit lower again.)

In addition, there just wasn't much of interest that happened last lesson to post about! I rode Roman around, didn't make any particular progress of note, came home and slept.

This week, however, was a different matter.

When I arrived at the stable, the first thing I discovered was... two saddles stacked one atop the other on Roman's post! This puzzled me. One was clearly the ratty years-old leather saddle I was used to riding in. The other was a brand-spanking-new Wintec adjustable saddle (like what one friend in Texas got recently for her horse), so new the price tag and 'care of' booklet were still affixed. The new saddle was missing stirrup leathers and stirrups.

I wandered out to find Kara supervising a class in the outside ring, and she came over to explain. The other regular rider of Roman, as fed up with the aging, uncomfortable saddle as I was, had decided that rather than wait for the school to purchase a new saddle in July, she would go get a new saddle /herself/ and just donate it to the school. And she had dropped it off just a few hours earlier!

So I spent a little bit of time moving the stirrup leathers from the old saddle to the new one, and then I got Roman out. Groomed him (and noticed a bit of a smell from one hoof that seemed not-quite-right), and tacked him up with the new saddle. Then my classmate and I went out into the ring.

The new saddle, for all that it needs to be broken in and that it's Very Different for posting in, is so much more comfortable than the old saddle that I do not even have WORDS for it. My posture was VASTLY improved by the change in saddles. Roman, too, liked the new saddle much better, jogging cheerily around the ring for warm-up.

Of course, he decided it was time for his old tricks when we went to the trot. This time, I could get him to the trot, but he'd slow down with each step until he was back to a jog. Grmph! I really, really had to work for every leg of a trotted lap, this time; by the end of the lesson I was exhausted and a bit sore in the thighs. But as both my classmate and I did fairly well overall, Kara let us do something new at the end of class. Something that Roman was /more/ than happy to go do.

Today, she let us jump for the first time. Only a little teensy jump, a foot-and-a-half high obstacle, something the horse could really have stepped over in a pinch. But both horses /did/ jump it, and wow, was that fun. And while Roman wouldn't trot the non-jump leg of the lap without making me work for it, when he came around that corner, you could tell he wanted to just /fly/. Now I understand the difference between using this horse for flat-work, and for jumping!

I also asked Kara about the hoof smell while grooming, and she took a look. Alas, one of the transient riders of Roman (i.e. who rides him as a horse in a rotation sometimes) had not dealt well with his hooves. (Worse, since there was outdoor-ring sand packed in there, it had to be one of the more advanced riders, the ones who use the hunter/jumper course outside.) I cleaned as best I could, but the smell turned out to mean he had a bit of thrush. Soooo, after finishing the lesson and grooming Roman again, I got another lesson in equine health care to add to my notes. This time it was 'where the thrush medication is kept, and how to apply it.' Once that was dealt with, Roman got his treat and put back into his stall, and I headed off to dinner with a friend.

The woman at the restaurant laughed at me being covered in little bits of hay stuck to my riding shirt. (I've been a regular at the restaurant for years, so I can get away with this.) Ah, well. :)
Tags: horses
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