Last night was new volunteer training at We Can Ride so a group of current volunteers, such as myself, come to the barn to help with a little hands-on work with the horses. It is really a treat to get to ride the horses and to help a new volunteer get an idea of why I have been doing this for about 7 years now. It is total information overload but I guess we figure if we pack enough in there early on, if something pops up in a class you will instinctually be able to recall your training from the recesses of your memory.
The night started out nice enough. It was pretty darn hot out but since we would be in the arena and not outside, I figured it would be tolerable. Then things started to get a little stranger. I showed up a little too early but I figured someone would be there. I ducked in the barn and peeked in the office window hoping the barn manager would still be there- but she wasn’t and I got a little confused because there weren’t any horses in the stalls. I started to think maybe it was cancelled because of the heat until another woman finally showed up. We chatted and grumbled about the afternoon feeders who must have let the horses back out to pasture instead of leaving them in for us to ride in the training.
Eventually we trudged up the big hill and found them all at the top in a clearing munching away happily. Everyone else grabbed the horse they were going to be riding that evening and headed down. We couldn’t find Buddy because he wasn’t with the group but we figured he couldn’t be far so I walked over the next hill to go get him. There he was happily pulling on dewy sweet grass in the afternoon sun. I threw on his halter and bit back an overwhelming urge to try to swing onto his back and bareback ride him down the hill. I really just wanted to see if I could do it…but he is a pretty tall boy so I don’t think I could have done it even if I wanted to. As we led them down the hill the whole herd followed and got very shovey at the gate. We were all so confused- geez guys, this isn’t really like you all- go on! get! Finally as we are tossing our horses in their stalls to groom we notice the full feed bins as they dove in to eat. Wait a minute…weren’t they supposed to have been fed??? A quick peek into the remaining empty stalls confirmed that no one had eaten yet which is why they were all so pushy to get in the gait. Sigh….
Well once we got the feeding debacle figured out, we groomed and saddled to ride. I was assigned to ride Buddy in his western cut out fleece pad, a dressage saddle, and rainbow reins…go figure. The interesting tack choices at WCR never cease to confuse and amuse me. But we geared up and headed out into the arena for a warm-up. The class went really well and the horses were all fairly well-behaved. At one point the horses who were turned out came charging up to the arena gates and spooked both Misko and Buddy- I was pleased I stayed on, must mean my seat is slowly improving. Then at the end of the night when a storm blew up on us the horses were amazing and barely flinched even when thunder cracked right above us. We turned everyone out and called it a night even though the little storm cell had essentially already passed over.
It was a good evening with the bud-man. He is such an easy-going guy- bomb proof and even-tempered. whew, what a change from my last few weeks!