....well, ok, we WERE off. Off most of the summer. Being in Arizona, it was a hot summer, and riding in 115 degree heat is not fun. I won't do it. Besides the snakes, the heat is unbearable. We xould have trailered up north, but my work schedule simply did not allow for it, as it would require overnight trips to make it worthwhile. We did work in the Queen Creek public arena many mornings, working on gait. Both Santana and I HATE arena work. Boring!!!! But we did it just to keep going. And 7 am wasn't tooooo hot many mornings. WE also took a couple of riding lessons from Charlie Hill, who is an amazing horse trainer who won the Mustang Challenge several years ago, and who was a friend and student of the late, great, Ray Hunt. We learned some great stuff from him.
Two weeks ago, the weather here started to tease us. So, we decided to go for our first trail ride of the season. Short, one hour, in the San Tans. Yahoo!!!! Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I should not have opted for his first ride in four months to be with a group of seven horses. He was feeling good, and was not happy about the horses in front of him and behind him trotting up and down hills, and he really thought he should be able to take the bit and do as he pleased. Fortunately, I am not a complete dummy. Good ol' Vickey and Dakota were with us, so, I put Santana behind "The Great White Butt" and Dakota kept Santana from becoming unmanageable. We finished that ride, and it was fine.
That was a Friday. Vickey and I decided to go out again the following Tuesday. ( last week) It was just the two (four) of us, and Santana was a perfect gentleman. He was his normal self again, listening to me well. We did the same one hour ride. It is still too hot to go out longer, and, Santana needs to get legged up a bit before I push him a little longer.
A couple days later, Susie and Tommy were ready to ride. So, off we went. Same ride. One hour. It was great. Both boys were so good, and they were both so happy to be on the trail. It was a long, boring summer for them.
Today, we went out with a bigger group. Me, Vickey, Susie, Vickey's sister Kathy, and a long time friend of theirs Lea Ann. Before we got on the trail, we were in the parking lot. Wainting to head out, I look over at KAthy's trailer to see my buddy Vickey with her jeans down around her ankles. What???? She got bit by a spider and it really hurt. I had given her a "Santana Trail Safety Vest" for her birthday a couple of weeks before. I told her to get her bug bite-sting spray out of her vest. She did and her sister sprayed it on the bite and it immediately felt better. Yea! Glad the vest came in handy already. Anyway, we got out on the trail. Santana was feeling great, and he walked right out. In fact, he left the others in the dust. He was just walking but walking at a very nice speed. The others were busy talking and relaxing which was fine, but Santana and I were on a mission, which was to maintain a nice forward walk, maintaining a 3MPH walking average. There were lots of "roller coaster" sections on the back part of this trail, and Santana was good about listening to me and slowing down and walking on the ups and downs. Given his druthers, he would rush through all of it. Anyway, unlike our first ride out of the season, he listened well to me despite the group of horses around him. (of course they were behind us most of the way.) It was a nice ride.
We are waiting for the weather to break so we can start going out longer...... and for the snakes to go away!