While I am very interested in getting Joey back in shape and riding, I do have 3 other horses that need riding, and I have some updates where they are concerned.
I am strongly considering entering an endurance ride to take place on October 1, 2011. I have yet to decide which horse to use, however. Woody, my grade horse of unclear background that I'm pretty sure is an Azteca, has great endurance and is super-broke, but has a rougher trot than I care to ride for miles on end. Vaquero, my paso fino with tons of brio, has a smoother gait and more motor to cover miles, but can be tough to calm down, and I worry he won't get his pulse down fast enough to complete a 25 miler. So I have stepped up riding them both on alternate occasions, and will probably make up my mind as they progress. I plan on riding one and ponying the other when I can't find friends to help me ride them.
Yesterday, by buddy Alex told me about a place up the road in Blanco, TX, run by a cowboy. He said they had some cutting horse training going on over there, so I thought it worth a look-see. The cowboy's name was Dick, was about 6 foot 5 inches tall, and was quite a colorful character. He did have those ropes that run a flag back and forth, and he told me I could bring Joey over there for a few months, and get him used to tracking that flag. Apparently, that's part of cutting training.
Dick proceeded to give me a few tips for riding Lola, all of which were appropriate, and things I knew, but had gotten sloppy about. He reminded me to NOT lower my hands, keep them up. Give reining cues from a more up the neck position, etc.
Lola rode well, and we worked on correct lead departures, always a challenge for her. She is very left lead dominant. She would barely take the right lead EVER when I first got her. Even at liberty in the field, I don't recall ever seeing her in the right lead. But after some work, I've been getting her in the right lead more often. We were riding in a nice big arena, with good footing, and so we worked on cantering in circles and for long stretches. She did very well.
After one terrible stop, all my fault, we worked on her stops too. Dick saw my terrible stop, where she stopped quickly on her front end and with me jammed into the saddle horn, and he quickly went about correcting my behavior. Of course, I had NOT given her time to stop. I had just been riding and then slammed on the brakes. After his not so subtle reminder, I took care to lead the stop with my seat, energy, and only last and gently, did I add the reins. Her stops were much better, and I didn't impale myself on the saddle horn. Why is it always my damn fault when I'm riding the horse? Why couldn't it just ONCE be the horse's fault?
The country was beautiful, Texas Hill Country gorgeous. Lola did well, and it was a lot of fun to be riding in a new place. I hope to go back more often, and hope to add more stories from this place to my storybook of horse adventures.