Jewels: Started Under Saddle, Again

I’d had been searching for the right person to put a few rides on Jewels. Someone to help get her ready for me to ride. I figured, three to five rides at most. Then I’d take her from there. Wet saddle blankets are what she needs most right now. A few trips away from her pasture mates, so she doesn’t scream and dance. Just a lot of plain and simple, one on one time. The groundwork is done. I placed an ad in several horse groups in the “North Texas” area.  I had no clue there were so many “horse trainers” available. Most of which were ‘cow-pokes and wranglers’. Not really trainers at all. It took several weeks to weed out the want to be’s  and undesirables. I interviewed several over the phone. None fit my criteria. Ninety percent of the people wanted me to leave Jewels for up to ninety days. When I refused to put her in training for at least thirty days, they declined to help me. All of which told me it was best for her. Now, I’m not a complete ‘moron’ when it comes to my horses. I am fully aware most horses do well under an off site training program. Jewels does not. We’ve been there, done that already. Remember what happen last summer?

After weeks of numerous phone calls, I found a guy to ride my horse. The guy seemed to understand and he was willing to come here and ride Jewels. That seemed ideal for us both. He was set to come over last Friday morning. You know what happen the early hours before? My husband had another heart attack. He spent 28 hours in the hospital. They called it a “myocardial infarction”. He was lucky, again. They advised him to stay another day. He chose not to. I brought him home that afternoon. I had called the guy who was going to ride my horse and explained the situation on Thursday, apologized and asked him to come Saturday. He had other plans. On our initial conversation, he was going to ride her 4 days in a row, and said he could come Sunday. I realized then, he must not have been listening. I did agree for him to come on Sunday. The more I thought about it, decided this wasn’t the one who needed to ride my horse. I cancelled our appointment.

I called the next person on my list of hopefuls. We discussed how Jewels acts and how she would ride. I let her know Jewels was not a monster. She just needed a few wet saddle blankets prior to my riding her. The woman was a bit skeptical, how ever agreed to give it a try. She mentioned she had someone who can ride the mischief out of Jewels if the need arose. I assured the woman, ‘Jewels wasn’t the problem. It was more my issue’. We set up an appointment for Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM. Sunday morning rolled around. My husband and I hooked up the trailer. He seemed to be doing real well at the time, but had my doubts. How he feels and what he says are two different things the majority of the time. He’s often to proud for his own good. Taking his word for it, I started planning my day. Not wanting to leave my husband alone, asked him to come along for the ride and moral support. He really didn’t want to go. I wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Mid afternoon we loaded Jewels on to trailer. She backed out the first time. I remained patient, led her back-on to the trailer and she stood surprisingly still in the compartment. The drive was going to take 40 minutes. We left and arrived 20 minutes early for our appointment. I walked to the gate of the barn. There were three dogs that greeted me at the gate. A couple of cute mixed breeds and one old, Springer Spaniel. A young lady walked up and invited me to come through the gate and said “the trainer was in the arena giving a lesson to a youth rider”.  I approached the rail and the trainer greeted me. She would be with me as soon as her lesson was over. She asked me to get my horse ready in the mean time. I let her know I hadn’t brought a saddle. I felt she would be more comfortable and secure in her own rig. She agreed. I curried and brushed Jewels off as I waited for our lesson to begin.

While waiting in the wings, I noticed that all the horses in the barn were quiet. A cute sorrel was peering over the stall gate watching the excitement. She had such a keen expression. My eyes began to dart from one stall to another noticing how happy and calm they all were. No silly head bobbing or weaving from side to side. None of them were kicking and banging around in their stalls. What a nice change from my other experiences. The woman sauntered over the where we were standing. I reluctantly asked her why she was limping. She replied “It’s from a riding accident”. I immediately felt a sigh of relief. Another woman, not quite as old as I am, but dealt with a similar incident. She knew exactly what I was going through. Now we’re getting somewhere. We exchanged a few words about Jewels and she saddled her up. I listened more than I talked, so I could get a real good feel for who I was dealing with. I never get to excited about meeting someone for the first time. It usually fizzles out in a short time. Or, maybe my expectations are to high.

The lady took Jewels in to the arena, lunged her for a short time, and talked about this and that to pass the time. She handled Jewels beautifully. Jewels was a bit snorty and nervous in her new surroundings, but took it like a champ. A few minutes past by, then she led Jewels over to a mounting block and stepped on. That couldn’t have been any more perfect than it was. In my weakened condition, Jewels needs to be able to stand quietly while being mounted from a block. Jewels never humped or jumped out of sorts. She went along quietly and willingly the whole ride. To top it all off, she hadn’t been rode since September. While riding the woman was trying to get a feel for what Jewels would tolerate. She let her walk and trot on a loose rein, trying to get her off the forehand and balance the load. A little bending, flexing and breaking at the pole were some of the things she asked of her. It didn’t take long before Jewels gave a monumental performance at balancing the load and working off her rear. A nice over-all frame of motion in the works. I was so proud of her accomplishment. My greatest pleasure came from: This woman offered no short cuts, and no gimmicks. After the ride, we set up another time for us to work together. Until next time. Happy horsing around.



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"It's better to ride even if you get thrown, then to wind up just wishing you had." - Chris LeDoux.
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