That's how long we were out trail riding today. The temperature? About 75 and a tad humid. The sky? Sunny with a bit of a cooling breeze.
The horses? WONDERFUL!
We encountered cows, cars, scary rustling cornfields, farm equipment, a barking dog, hills, mud, mud puddles, fields, ditch crossings and one big creek crossing. Gabe stepped right into the creek without hesitating, reached down for a sip, played in the water with his lips then started pawing and folding his knees. That booger was gonna ROLL in the water! But I kicked him on and prevented that little inconvenience. At least I know he's not terrified of water puddles, always a good trait to have.
The scariest thing on the whole ride was riding next to the dry, rustling cornfields. He wasn't too sure about all that noise! And when birds fluttered through the field, it was way too scary and he had to snort and jump at it. By the end of the ride, the cornfields were no longer an issue for him at all. Cars along the road didn't phase him a bit. The barking dog caught his attention, but wasn't a big deal either. Even the cows running up to the fence to visit didn't get his dander up. He pricked his ears at them, snorted, and walked on. No big deal.
He did prance a bit at some points and did his head flinging thing a few times, but nothing major, just him feeling good. We rode most of the ride on a nice loose rein with him just looking around and watching things.
However...I need a new saddle. This is the longest ride we've had and the ill saddle fit just won't work for long rides. Shorter rides are okay, not ideal by any means, but okay. When I pulled the saddle off after our trail ride he had one big bump right on his spine where the narrow channel was pinching him. I've known the saddle didn't fit perfectly, but I guess I didn't realize how imperfectly it fit until after this ride. It also needs to be reflocked, but there isn't a local saddler that can do that and I'm really hesitant to give up my only saddle for 6+ weeks to get it reflocked. I guess it's time to start saddle shopping! I hate saddle shopping...but most of all, I HATE the price tags on those saddles. *sigh* I guess I need to get out there and take a couple of tracings of his back so I can find one that really fits him. I have a couple in mind, I just need to get out to the tack shop and sit in them.
He has a high wither, but he's much, much wider than most Thoroughbreds, so he's going to be a tough fit. I think I'll go with the interchangeable gullet saddle this time around, just because I know his back is going to continue to change shape as he gets fitter.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if his occasional misbehavior is a direct result of the pinching saddle. I would be pissed too if my gear pinched and the person responsible for it didn't remedy the situation!
I'm very proud of my big guy...he's definitely a gem! Even with occasional tantrums he throws.