Yesterday I left the house at 4:42, dressed, helmet and boots already on. I jogged to the corn crib/tack room, grabbed Arabee's halter, quick-brushed her (it's frozen so she wasn't muddy, yay!) Applied tiny no-slip saddle pad, saddle, girth, fastened the crupper, one hole tighter on the girth, breastcollar, one more hole tighter on girth, picked up front legs to smooth out skin under girth, one hole tighter on girth, rhythm beads, picked left side hooves, one hole tighter on girth, right side hooves, put on the dr. cooks bridle. Now it is 4:56pm. This is taking me too long!
Matt had somewhere to be last night that he had to leave the house at 5:45, so I figured if I got off at 5:30 I'd have time to untack and jog back home in perfect timing. Or, that was the goal anyway.
I finally swung my leg over her back, adjusted the stirrups, and took a lap around the barn lot, walking very nicely. The girth was a little loose yet, so I decided to tighten it another notch. Another lap around the barn lot, and we ventured out across the road!
You would have thought we were playing spy or something! Arabee was tippy toeing and rubber necking the whole way, we walked the 75 ft of road, turned into the other driveway (we keep a feedlot of beef cattle at the barn, it was in the family way back) and walked that way. She was nervous as a tick. I found it kind of funny when she wasn't jumping back and forth on me!
We made it there and back mostly at a walk, she only broke gait a little bit, and was pretty good. It didn't kill her, and I'm hoping that built her confidence in me some. Overall a success.
I figured it was time to trot, (we really need to get that started!) so once back in the barn lot we trotted west, which went great. I brought her down to a walk to turn the corner around the big tool shed, then clucked her back into a trot. That is when she threw in a canter stride or two, and at that point, the crupper must have tickled her funny, and she started bucking and cantering the whole length of the tool shed, as we rounded the corner I thought "I am going to come off this horse!" then remembered the magic word. I commanded "WHOA" and she stopped, just like that! Too bad I didn't think of it sooner~
She calmed down faster than I did, so we walked a bit. 5:26 pm. One last thing I was going to have her walk through what was once a puddle, now a thinly frozen sheet of ice, then we'd head back and be done. 10 minutes later this mare still wasn't going to walk through that puddle, and I was supposed to have been done 6 minutes ago! I finally had to get off and lead her through by hand. It wasn't the ending I would have chosen, but at least I got her to go through it. Next ride I'll make sure she rides through, just to prove the point.
We jog in hand back to the corn crib, I whip off her tack, lead her into the paddock with the dr. cooks, take it off and rub her head (a reward for job well done) which she LOVES, and is a good way for me to sneak in touches on her ears, she's very ear-shy, but has improved since I've had her. Matt calls...."are you done yet??" I run out, shut the gate, and am back just in time for him to leave.
Mostly a good ride, but I really need to work on streamlining my tacking up routine!! A good 20-25 minutes out of my riding time is spent doing just that, not to mention getting myself dressed for the cold.
Any hints on faster tacking up??