DRAFT only (on going editing.... to be told as a story in October)

I was a lone ranger. I had the shortest horse ride ever. I was determined to ride Rocky our golden dunn colored horse all by myself.  I wanted to be independent and not have everyone get the horse ready for me.  I wanted to be an independent cowgirl.  I was 49 years old and just learning to ride well.  I am tired of all the perfectionist instructions from my spouse.  Bless his heart he just wants to keep me safe.

One early summer evening I got the idea that I should bring that steed in from the pasture, halter him and comb him and ride him all on my own.  No one was home and so that is exactly what I did.

I was too inexperienced to know that it would of been a good idea to do a few minutes of ground work with this horse.  I was pumped up with adrenalin and very nervous but excited too, to be able to manage the horse and reins and saddling all on my own.  All was going well.  I was exhausted by the time it was "getting on the horse" time.

 Have you ever brought in and haltered a horse from the pasture?  You have to comb his back and belly and then throw the saddle blanket on his back, making sure the wither is close up on the blanket and centred, swing that 28 lb leather saddle off the saddle rack and walk over to the horse and get myself in the position where I actually could heave that saddle up high over my shoulders and on his back.   I had to make sure the stirrups and latigo and the chest straps and band is out from under the saddle.  I am exhausted already.  Rocky is a very solid and sensible animal and does not startle or put up much of a fuss when getting him ready for a ride.  They call this tacking up.  Ha! I was tacked up all right and I didn't need leather or bit or any stirrups!

It was a warm evening out so with my adrenalin running and sweating with  saddling and bringing the horse in and combing him and such;   I had already used up 75% of my energy.   I kept talking to myself and relaying the steps in this process and ensuring Rocky's tack is clipped on and girth band tightened.  It is now time for the halter to come off.  So I unbuckled the halter from the side of his head and slid it down and over his nose  I throw that on the ground and get the bridle with the reins and bit.   Rocky handles me being clumsy and not smooth with this bridling  The funny part for me is parting the mouth and getting his jaw open enough to slip that bit in and keep the chin strap from going in his mouth.

 With my short legs I stretched up my leg  and slipped my boot in the stirrup and heaved my body over his back as smoothly as I could;  hanging on to the horn instead of his mane , oops .....and did I say I had short arms too?  well I felt like I had short arms and so I hurried up getting in the saddle and then success I'm on!  i picked up the reins quickly because I should of been holding the reins the whole time. Too much to mutitask though  with  hanging onto the horn and reins and put my leg up and in stirrup and heaving my body smoothly over his.   Easier to hold the horn!

 Nervous and excitement in my veins. The adventure starts now.

Rocky walks on and I have to kick his sides quite a bit to go (he doesn't like to leave his other horse friends in the yard)  He starts walking on and I am bumping his sides to keep him going.  we turn right at the corner and head up to the road to the coulees and then I turn off into the ditch and steer him towards the field behind our barn. This is where the round bales of hay are.  This will be fun I said to myself because  Rocky and I will just walk around the bales and I can practice my turns and leg work and maybe we can do some trotting too!   We went around the first  bale and I was guiding him to the next one.....then...... it was so Rocky bolted away from the bale and turned into the ditch and onto the road and went into full gallop I grabbed the horn and was so scared...I couldn't get my hands to pull the reins and when I did pull he kept running!  I thought quickly and very quickly.... "well Donna just hold on to the horn and stay in the saddle" he was heading towards the left turn into our yard...he actually turned his head around and looked straight at me, like as if he was saying
"are you still on"??  I loudly replied to his thoughts and said to him "ya Im still here you are not getting rid of me"..he galloped on and turned down into our lane and raced to the barn  I thought we were going to  charge into our house.  Nope!  full dead stop on all four feet!  He stalled at the barn door.  It was like turning off a switch.

There we were ,,,,I was still on him and he had got his way.  hmmmm not good and I am so angry!

Getting angry at a horse is a waste of energy.  I shakily got off of him.  I had to move him on the ground in circles to make him work to let him know being in front of the barn will be harder work than riding out to the hay bales and taking charge on your own.

Rocky and I did a series of workouts on the ground with me holding the reins out away from him and making him trot in circles going left and right;  this is work for a horse and its called  lunging and when a horse dominates the ride with what he wants to do instead of what WE want to do then that hard ground work had to be done right where he stopped.  It calmed me down to keep
from yelling at him too.   This is a typical barn horse.  He gets his oats here and to leave the yard without another horse and rider with me was not a good idea at my level of riding.

this lone ranger ride was a HUGE learning curve for me and I now respect this horse and the knowledge and power of working as a team.

Rock on Rocky!

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