Our First Week with Sundance

Hello all. I realize I haven’t written anything in almost a week. Sorry about that. My mission to lease a horse so I can ride every week met with great success last week and I have been having way too much fun with it; I am starting to wonder if my health insurance covers equine therapy visits. Heaven knows it is doing much more for me (and My family) than any kind of man made antidepressant ever could.

I rode three times last week, on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I visited with Ashlee, the owner of Sundance, on Monday night after picking Heather and Kate up from a ball game at the high school where they had to take pictures for yearbook. The place seemed to be a little far out but in all reality it is only 10 minutes from my house. The owner of the horse is not the owner of the property, but he was there too. His name is Mitchell. I have to say, I feel so fortunate to have found such wonderful people to get back into this with. She is a 20 yr old trick rider and owns three of the horses on site and he is in his 50s and has been around horses his entire life. I know I will be able to learn a lot from them both.

I had to wait until Thursday to ride again but I ended up coming out on Wednesday to see the horses again and talked to Mitch for about an hour. Turns out he has several (10 or so) other horses on site and is a breeder and farrier. I will also probably be able to keep a horse there with him when I decide to buy my own. In all honesty, I’ll probably just end up buying either Sundance (if he becomes available in the next year or two) or one of his as yet untrained horses. No, I’m not crazy, the one I might want is just unbroken right now as he is only 2 years old, but he will be trained by Mitch in another year or so. He’s very small, probably only end up being about 14 hands high, and I think I would like a smaller horse. Mitch says his sire had a very good and gentle head on him, very even tempered, and he will be a good “grade horse” which basically means he isn’t a pure breed, he is a mix breed. This also means that I probably wouldn’t be able to register him. For me though, not wanting to show or compete or breed, this is not such a big deal. An unfancy horse tends to have an equally unfancy price tag.

Thursday’s ride was difficult, almost discouraging. Heather and I went out and Ashlee and Mitch were both there. She helped me saddle and bridle him. He almost wouldn’t go at all for us and when he did walk a bit ended up just heading back toward the barn. It was difficult to get him to obey for me and Heather. Ashlee was of course able to get on and make him to do cartwheels. I blame that on my unfamiliarity and inexperience.I’d say one of the best parts of the afternoon was giving him a bath. I’m sad to say that I’d never given a horse a bath before.

I came out Saturday, fighting the discouragement from Thursday and determined to try again when it would be just me and him, and it was much better. Mitch told me the best way to get him out of that default to the barn mode was to work him out for a good long time around it. If he associated the barn area with work instead of rest and being unsaddled, then he wouldn’t be so anxious to get back to it. He called it reverse psychology and it worked well. I practiced weaving him in and out of some trees and we followed the same course each time. Then I took him through the barn out into the main part of the yard where he was hesitant but a little bit curious too. It was a very educational day and I loved every minute of it. I only rode him for about an hour or so. On our way back to the barn from our short trip out into the main yard, we got stopped by three kittens crossing his path. They were all looking up at him, playing and mewing. He watched for them and waited until they were out of the way before proceeding.

After I unsaddled him, brushed him, gave him his treat apple for a good session, I ended up talking to Mitch for another hour. We leaned on the fence overlooking the pasture with his other horses in it, mostly mares that are intended for the purpose of trail riding. They were all kind of huddled in a big group by the fence. The smallest one came up to me and put his muzzle in my hand. I didn’t have any food for him but he kept rubbing his face in my hand. I kind of fell for him right then. He’s supposed to be black but looks almost brindle from being out in the sun. His hair is black with caramel brown tips. He has a white blaze down his face and his muzzle was a little sunburnt. I petted him for another 10 minutes or so before heading off to work to get some rent checks deposited. As I got in the car my hands were filthy and it made me smile. There’s something so calming about a well earned pair of dirty hands. I know it’s silly, but this will be a novelty to me for a while. When I got home Heather was upset because she hadn’t gotten to go riding that day. I told her we’d go back tomorrow.

Tomorrow came and I waited what seemed like FOREVER for them both to wake up. I made breakfast and took a shower, then we left and got there around 1:30 pm. Sundance was fidgety today. The flies were driving him crazy, then we put the bit in his mouth and due to needing his teeth floated, which should happen fairly soon, he had issues with it the entire time we rode and was being a bit difficult again as he had been on that first day. He kept stopping and heading back to the barn and just being, well, a little stubborn. Mitch and a couple of his friends were cutting down trees in the other field and all the horses were whinnying about it. This may have had a little to do with his apprehension as well. My husband really liked him which was an important goal accomplished for me. I want him to know that when I’m there, I will be taken care of and not in danger.

We had a good time. Heather got to run a little on him when she turned him back toward the gate. We walked out to see my little sweet 2 yr old prospect again but he was way out in the field. When we got to him he wasn’t quite as friendly, maybe a little concerned about Heather and Matt because he’d never seen them before and we were all three out there, so that might have made a difference too. I’m looking forward to building a friendship with this little one over time too. Mitch says he can get started on breaking him if I want. I know it’s probably silly, but I want to call him Skydancer. I was crazy about Rainbow Brite when I was little and my favorite character was a girl called Stormy that was in charge of the winter weather. She had a purple horse with light purple main and tale and a lightening bolt on his forehead and that was his name: Skydancer. Here’s a clip of them giving Rainbow Brite some grief when spring rolls around.


Yeah, OK, I probably won’t call him Skydancer, after all, I’m not 8 years old anymore. I don’t know what horse I will end up with. I’m pretty content riding Sundance for now. He’s a good horse, and I’m so very lucky to be able to ride him and let him teach me to ride again. Let’s just hope I can lose some weight with all this moving around so whatever horse I do choose won’t end up sway backed from carrying my big fat butt! 😛 I will post something non-horse related this week… or at least soon. Bye for now!