We had perfect Indian Summer weather to play with our horses during our October play date. Della’s sister, Cynthia, was thinking of buying a horse and said she had never ridden a gaited horse. She came to the right place to fix that! I had her test drive a Rocky Mountain Horse, a Peruvian Paso and a Paso Fino so she could feel the difference in their gaits. I suspect Cynthia will be thinking about whether there will be a gaited horse in her life in the future.
Playing in the trail course is always fun. The horses’ pleasure was all the greater since we had re-seeded the grass a few weeks ago and it was green and luscious. What better reward for going over an obstacle?
Then we went into the arena and played with some of the new Parelli Patterns on the ground for a bit. Sheral had brought her minature gelding, Walker and his cart so we also got to drive the little guy, weaving through the barrels like a pro. I had ground driven my horses, but it was my first time driving in a cart. I was pleased that ground driving skills seemed to transfer over to the cart just fine. It makes me think about putting a cart and harness for my horses onto my Christmas wish list. What fun.
Lunch was good, horse talk flowed and we got to watch the RFD TV video of Dennis Reis working with Prince during his Albany Tour Stop. After lunch, I put a bareback pad on Prince and he followed me around the arena while I set up the barrels, parallel parked for me to mount like a pro and then played the patterns with gusto – particularly his halt – back ups – from any gait. He is a great youngster – as sweet and cooperative a horse as I have ever worked with.
Sheral stayed and rode Mystic doing the patterns with me. I’ve always been bored by arena work, but Sheral and I and both horses had a blast playing with the patterns. The horses really tune into your body language, providing a clear path to riding with a carrot stick and bridle-less riding. After doing them a few times in the arena, we went out into the pasture and did the patterns with imaginary barrels and posts and the horses did just great, changing gaits and turning to the lightest suggestion. Still, I think the high point for me had to be seeing Sheral ride Mystic without pain. It was Sheral’s first ride since her hip surgery and the grin on her face made my day. Seeing her relaxed on Mystic taking him from a walk to a gait to a canter to a halt and back up and through the pond was fabulous. All in all, a very good time.