I have not been riding Stormy for quite some time. Instead, I have been grooming him, from head to hoof, at Piscataway Stables in Clinton, Maryland, where he is boarded., for two years. I had a knee replacement in my right knee and have arthritis in my left knee. So I was concerned about getting on him. But I vowed that I would ride him.
I tacked him up with a bridle, a curb bit and a saddle pad. Joe Edelen gave me a billet girth to attach to the saddle pad. My husband came along with me,and. helped me put the bridle on, retrieve tack from my car and help me on the horse.
I did something different, I managed to put the bridle on without using a shipping halter underneath it, which I have done for years. After grooming him, in the field, where the other horses are boarded. Stormy started walking away. So in a voice that suggested authority, I said “Stormy” and pointed at my fanny pack, that contained my horse treats. He stopped dead in his tracks. Then Mike slipped the lead rope over his neck. I fed him a horse treat, and then put the curb bit in his mouth. Afterward, I put the rest of the bridle on him.
Then I proceeded to take him out of the field. I led him to the entrance of the stable and Mike retrieved the saddle pad. Joe Edelen, the owner of Piscataway Stables, helped me attach the right girth on my saddle pad. He said I needed a billet girth, and gave one to me.
I proceeded to the “step”. Mike held, the girth on the right side of the horse. So I would not slip and fall. I put my left leg in the stirrup and he assisted me to swing my right foot over the saddle to the other side.
When I mounted horse, I was very happy. After that, everything fell into place. I rode toward the riding ring and opened the gate myself, on Stormy. He was nervous and looked around, at the scenery. I have been grooming him in the horse field for about two s year. But everything worked out. I find that getting on the horse can be the hardest part. All my other horses are small in stature. Stormy is rather tall. So it is a long way up and a long way down.
I used leg pressure, I learned when taking English riding lessons, to turn to the left and turn him to the right. I even got him to jump once, a very very low jump. Stormy is 26. So this was an accomplishment. Kept him mostly as a walk. Also, I mainly used neck reining.
There were barrels around, so I walked him around the barrels. He turned really well.
In the ring, Mike was standing by the gate. Every time, I passed him, Stormy would stop, so I rode him in a circle and reversed the direction, this worked. He continued to move.
Anyway, I decided to walk Stormy down the path, that leads to the trails. This path is really long. Stormy kept looking around but I was able to move him forward. At the end of the path, is a hill. Stormy at first did not want to go up the hill but I used leg pressure, I urged him forward. He went up the hill and we went back down. Then we headed down the path towards the stables.
I dismounted the horse by myself and gave him a treat, out of my fanny pack, positive reinforcement. After riding him. I felt a sense of accomplishment.