We all do it. We all celebrate the day we got on. Well here I am celebrating and I am going to tell you all about it!
I have had this 4 year old Appaloosa mare for a few months now. I think I picked her up at the beginning of December. From day one she has been a very chilled out mare. But because she is a baby I have been focusing on giving her good experiences and not putting too much pressure on her or me. She is broken to saddle, and has done a lot of western pleasure training. But she has not really been to anything like a big trail ride or endurance ride. I do know that she has been to a show in a huge arena but that was before I owned her. So yes she needs some outings.
But before I am confident on taking her on the outings, I wanted to...get on her and ride her properly.
Before this weekend, I had only been on her three times in a round yard and twice in an open paddock. But I had never been on an actual ride with her. I have had her with tarps and plastic bags all round her in the round yard. I even took her out for a video shoot with a film crew and drone in the air. She didn't care. But I needed to get on!
My awesome friend contacted me and told me she was going to be in town and wanted to know if we were able to catch up with her. I said hell yes! Then she asked me if we could go for a ride. What a perfect opportunity to get this mare out with my other horse on the trail. Our other friend was able to come with us too on her horse.
This time I didn't make up any excuses. I didn't hope for bad weather. I prayed for perfect weather. I prayed that my friends would not cancel. Well guess what? Perfect weather and perfect friends happened for me and my mare. We all got on our horses and off we went up the back of my paddock. After a little while we had to take my other friend back to the yards but my friend who came to visit us came out again with me on Nav. I was given the chance to cut the ride short but I didn't! Nav, my mare, my friend and I all rode out together. We rode back up the paddock to the back gate. Both our horses helped us open the gate. Off we went along the trail. I tell you I may have been a little nervous but my mare wasn't.
We rode calmly all the way around the trail at a nice walk. There was a few tree trunks and ant mounds eyeballed. A whole section of timber, bricks, tin, and building material monsters galore. There was even an open paddock with a bale of wire rolled up in it that was very interesting. But there was no terrible tantrums. No sideways dressage moves. No bucks, rears, pigroots or rodeo moves. My mare kept on plodding. She looked, but didn't panic. She trusted me. I think I found myself a good egg. Finally.
A positive experience for me and my horse is just what my head needed. I got on. I rode. I can trust my new mare. I can't wait for more adventures with this gal! Now I just need to get the guts to ride up there alone.
After only a few lessons I began trail riding and exercising other people’s horses. One Christmas, mum had wrapped up a saddle, bridle and brush set. I was so excited and hoped to find a horse in the garage…but there was no horse. Mum decided that I needed my own stuff as I had been exercising a lady's horse and mum had to drive me to pick up the gear every day. So, I had my own gear, was riding other people's horses, and having a great time. The horses I rode were the craziest of crazy. Bolters, rearers, buckers, you name it. But I kept riding. Actually, now I think of it I didn't really fall off. The only time I fell off was one horse who was terrified of the bush. As soon as you got near the bush he would dump you and run off.
So, when I was a teenager, mum met a man who had horses and she decided to let me have a horse too. We had a Standardbred given to us through the rehoming program. Rambo is what I called him. A 15.2 chestnut gelding. That horse was the best horse I ever had. I could ride him anywhere and he wasn't afraid. His only downfall was you couldn't catch the bugger. I rode that horse all over the place. Through McDonalds drive through, down the main roads of town etc and through all the neighbourhoods. Then I discovered boys. I lost interest in Rambo and my folks sold him to a man and with the money I bought my very first car. I heard Rambo went crazy on the man. As a young girl, I didn't really have any concern about what happened to the horse. As an adult, I now think back and wish I kept Rambo.
As I have grown older, I have become more and more conscious of falling off and getting hurt and not bouncing back like we used to. Being old means you have responsibilities. Mortgages, personal loans, kids, partners, all relying on you to have an income and without an income, what happens then? It’s always in the back of my mind that if I fall off and hurt myself enough to become incapacitated, what then? Am I the only one that makes every excuse under the sun to not ride? It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I have to go and do ‘this’ as it’s more important.
I know this is how most of us feel as adults. But I always kept riding Nav. I bought a few horses over the years to try and find another Nav but no horse ever was up to his standards. I call myself the lazy rider because I have this horse in the paddock that I ride once every now and then and feel safe doing that. I am the lazy rider because I see the leaves blowing a bit and think 'ahh it's too windy it might spook the horse and I might fall off'. Even though we know Nav won't spook. I am the lazy rider because I will make every excuse under the sun not to ride. This is my story, and I no doubt will have many stories of my misadventures to tell you in the future. I love riding, I love horses. But I am the lazy rider.
Navajo 'Nav' Atsili is a 14.3 appaloosa gelding. He was purchased from the sales at Camden six years ago and is one versatile little horse. He suffers from claustrophobia, impatience and stubbornness but his owner, editor The Lazy Rider, loves him to bits regardless.