I’ve become fully convinced that the universe wants me keeping and riding horses. When I moved out to Wyoming last August, I had no intention whatsoever of owning horses; it was not a dream of mine. It was something I was interested in, but figured if I ever got into horse culture, it would be years down the road after I was well established in my new home.
Now, here we are 14 months later, and I’ve been given two horses and a saddle by my friend JW, as well as a mule to keep for awhile, and I’ve acquired a full tack setup for riding under the guidance of some new friends who have been very helpful and generous in getting me up to speed with how to saddle a horse and ride. Last week my friends Jenn and Jamie took me riding and taught me a lot, and today my wrangler friend Mason came over and guided me through preparing the horse to ride and riding basics.
I have two older mares, Jasmine and Spunky, who were also here last year grazing on my land. Rabbit is the mule. Last year there was another mare here as well, and she was really the alpha of the herd and was kind of possesive of me and kept the other horses away. Now that she’s out of the picture, Jasmine has really taken a shine to me. To me she appears to be the healthier of the two and the one I’d prefer to ride anyhow. She is very sweet to me, always comes to visit when I walk out in the pasture, she nuzzles me and rubs on me, and she’s completely relaxed around me and enjoys my pets and affection. Spunky is nice too, but she’s a lot more meek and shy. She doesn’t want anything to do with a harness or saddle. Jasmine however has no problem being harnessed or saddled, but she’ll take some work to be a good riding horse. She’s been well-trained and was a rodeo horse, but she hasn’t been ridden for quite awhile, and is kind of crotchety about the whole idea. She knows I’m a novice and sees what she can get away with. Luckily, I have these great mentors to help me along my path of horsemanship.
Yesterday and today, I rode Jasmine for the first times. It felt incredible to be riding my own horse on my own land with my own gear. I really never expected that experience in my life. Previously to this weekend, with the exception of riding last week with Jenn and Jamie, I’ve only ridden well-trained horses at professional horseback riding outfits. Yesterday Jasmine wasn’t happy with the bit at all, so I only rode for a minute before I quit, afraid she would start freaking out. Today we used a hackamore, a bitless bridle. My wrangler friend Mason could control her pretty well, but I had more trouble. She really wanted to go back to her friends in the herd, “buddy sour” as they call it, and was testing me and resisting quite a bit. At one point, I was even tossed off but I wasn’t hurt. I was using bad technique trying to rein in her head, and she backed us into the barbwire and then freaked out a bit. She didn’t buck, but did manage to spin me off. I’m cool with it though. It was a humbling lesson I needed to learn. It’s quite a learning curve for me learning how to control a horse, but it’s a challenge I accept and look forward to surmounting. Mason assures me she’s not a bad horse at all, in fact, she’s quite calm and tolerant, and certainly likes me. She’s just a fussy old mare who doesn’t really want to come out of retirement and needs a little further training and discipline. I’ll be working more with her doing ground work, and once a week Mason is gonna come out and help me work on riding and controlling her. I’m also watching lots of horse training video on Youtube. It’s all so exciting! This has been my most “Wyoming” week yet, hanging with cowboys and cowgirls, riding through the hills, and even getting chucked off a horse and into the dirt! At least I’m breaking in my cowboy boots and hat.