Today I went out to take a salt block to my horses They'd been without for a week or two and I kept forgetting to get one. I don't normally get to see my horses during the week (they are 15 miles away from where I live). Sometimes I can manage it, but it is almost impossible to do anything with them now that it gets dark so early. That's why I spend all weekend with them...I'm making up for the lack of them during the week!
Anyway, today I did go out early because I had some work to do that I could do in the evening. They were ecstatic about the salt (I gave them a block, but also offered them loose salt...that surprised them; they expected the bucket I held to have oats in it).
Then I jumped on Chico to take a short bareback ride around the loop (about 1.5 miles, through the woods and along the road). This was Chico's first official bareback ride off the place other than around the yard. He was awesome (he's a very confident horse anyway), and his back is SO comfortable! He is rather round and short backed. I was shocked by how comfortable he was to sit on bareback. We trotted and he was even more comfortable! Then we cantered, and OMG, I could have done that forever! He has the smoothest canter of any horse I've been on. I think it is due to his conformation...he might be built rather upright with short pasterns, but his short coupled body means that he is just naturally collected. He is a dream to canter on. I'm not kidding...it really was the most comfortable ride...I could have sat on it for an hour without tiring!
We stopped cantering at the nieghbors pond so that the dogs could go down and jump in (it's a ritual). So I was standing, letting Chico air up and the dogs swim, when a car came down the neighbors driveway. The neighbor raises arabians and has a lot of experience with endurance racing. She also boards several horses at her facility. The car coming down the driveway belonged to one of her boarders (I think). The girl drove very slowly and while she was still far away, rolled the window down to ask if it was okay for her to drive past (I appreciate the caution, but really, would I ride my horse on the road if cars were a problem?). I said yes, so she pulled out, then stopped alongside me to chat a bit. She was shocked that I was riding bareback, and ON THE ROAD of all places. She said, "You must have a good seat! Or you really trust your horse!" I said I trust my horse. Then she asked how old he was and I got raised eyebrows again, indicating surprise, when I said he was 4. She asked if he was one of the neighbor's horses, I said, no, he was mine, but he lived at the neighbor's...I don't think she knew he was a mustang even though his brand was showing plainly. Then she left. I didn't ask her about her horse, but I've seen her driving back and forth while I ride past there, and once I might have seen her sillouette in the indoor arena. I don't think she rides her horse outside. I don't undestand the mentality it takes to be able to ride only in an arena. I've done it, and I'd do it occasionally for training, but always with the intent to get out and go somewhere! I think there are a lot of people that are afraid to ride their horses outside. This girl was included. I was thinking it'd be fun to see if she wanted to ride with me sometime, but by her comments, I decided it probably wasn't worth even asking. Anyway, it was interesting, and of course, made me proud of my good little mustang again.