I did something this weekend that I haven't done in a very, very long time.
I rode three horses in one day, meaning, I spent ALL DAY in the saddle! It was so nice, although, by the end of the third ride I was definitely tired and a bit sore.
The first ride was long and energetic and I really worked Gabe and got him breathing hard and sweating. This is always an accomplishment, considering he's usually a lazy pants. We went out road riding, rode about six miles, maybe a bit more, and trotted most of it. He's fitter than I thought he was! We got some really, really good lofty, HUGE trot strides out of him. Holy cow. I couldn't even post when he moved up into the "power trot" it was so huge. I had to get into two point and just let it happen and stay out of his way while keeping him on the bit and rounded. If I tried to post it, I felt like he was going to throw me right out of the saddle with each stride...imagine riding a GIGANTIC bouncing ball, that's what his power trot feels like. Now, if I can figure out how to get that out of him in the arena, and not just out on the trails/roads! Guess I need to really start working on strengthening my abs so I CAN ride it well, instead of just getting up in to two point.
The second ride wasn't as long but it still required effort. I rode Montana for about 45 minutes. He's doing very well under saddle, but still has a bug up his butt about me doing anything unusual in the saddle. If I wiggle around or reach around to scratch his butt or side, he gets quite agitated by it. And, he's a dunderhead about standing still for mounting. I must have gotten on and off that horse, from the ground, a good 10 times during the ride, making him stand still during and after, sometimes just standing in the stirrup and leaning over the saddle and scratching his flank area (which he HATES and tried to dump my butt in the dirt). Why is mounting from the ground exhausting for me? Well, he's nearly 16hh and I'm a wee 5'2" tall and not quite as flexible as I used to be. I'm sure it's amusing to watch. By the end of the session, he was much, much more tolerant of all of it. Funny thing is, he doesn't care at all what you do to his flanks unmounted, but as soon as that saddle goes on and you mess with 'em, he has a tizzy. His halt and slow "buttons" are working well...don't even have to touch the reins to get a halt, just tighten the abs and sink into the stirrups and he stops or slows, depending on how much. He's coming along nicely...not as quickly as I had hoped, but we're getting somewhere.
Finally, it was Calypso's turn. I don't think I've ridden her for well over a year, but, she needs work. My daughter, love her to death, has been balancing on her face when she rides, and, unfortunately, that has turned Calypso's mouth hard as a rock. So, she's back in training for fitness and a tune-up while Jaquie works with Kayleigh on her balance. Kayleigh will be riding on the lunge line on Kahlua for awhile, at least until she has an independent seat. Anyway, by the time I got to Calypso, I really was done working horses, I just wanted to ride. So, I worked on softening her mouth for about 10 minutes then Jaquie and I went out for a short trail ride. Jaquie rode Chief (who also needs some work) and we just ambled along, nice and easy. I forgot what a pleasure it is to ride a good, broke, quiet trail horse who doesn't ask questions when you point her at something, she just does it.
I think Jaquie summed it up well at the end of the day: "We have a good herd of horses out there."
And she's right. They all have their individual quirks, but none of them are bad or dangerous or nasty horses and I'd be hard pressed to have to pick one to sell.