What A Year

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Sometimes it seems the years go so fast. But at other times you look back on what’s changed in 365 days and it blows your mind.

Today is my birthday. (I’m thirtysomething.) Last year on this day Brain gave me a hackamore. It was the first hackamore either of us had ever owned. It took us quite some time to figure out how to tie the mecate onto the bosal. (We didn’t know the bosal should be shaped and the mecate soaked to help it soften.) I had never ridden in a hackamore before, and didn’t do a great job my first few rides. I was inclined to cling, to ride with my reins too short and not make a large enough distinction between yes and no. Things went fine in spite of us being such rookies. It’s just evident in retrospect I didn’t know exactly what I was doing.

While I’m still far from being a hackamore expert, we’ve learned a lot in a year. We ride both Steen and Bear primarily in the hackamore now, and the change has been very positive for both of them as well as for Brian and me.

This year Brian gave me another mane hair mecate for my birthday. This one is for my snaffle headstall. (My other one has ruined me forever. Nylon will never feel nice again, I fear.) He also gave me a pair of spurs, a few flowers, and a treat to have with afternoon tea.

The shortbread has since mysteriously disappeared.

The rope is similar to my old one, but tan instead of brown, and with one strand white instead of black. It’s neat to compare the new to the old. My one from last year is so soft now.

New rope on the right, old rope on the left. Both still have a long way to go before they’re fully broken in.

Brian had to work a long day, so I decided to celebrate with a solo (easy) ride on Steen. I spent a long time cleaning his leg before I got on. He’s now got an outbreak of rain rot below the cut, so I’m trying to get ahead of that. But the cut itself is making progress. It’s a little smaller every day.

After all the cleaning I tacked Steen up and took him out to the strip. It was a gorgeous day: sunny and in the mid 50s. Steen was bit hot, actually, so that ensured things would stay mellow.

Fighting to say awake. The sun is soo warm.

The ride was tame by any standards. We just ambled up and down the strip, stopping now and then to bask in the sun. We worked a little on figure-eights, circles, stopping and backing. Steen was great. We had two very brief trotting sessions. I fed him the last of his rehab supplement yesterday, and I’m happy to report I haven’t seen him favor the leg in a couple of weeks. Today he felt smooth at the trot. So I’m hopeful once the cut finishes closing up we’ll be back in business.

I only rode for half an hour, but it felt great. Sometimes a ride where you know you’re not going to do anything in particular is a real treat.

Obligatory poorly framed solo birthday ride headshot.

Afterwards I did some more grooming and attempted to tie up Steen’s tail in a way that will keep it away from his cut without wrapping it or bagging it. I don’t think I did it right. We’ll see if it stays in or not.

Ride Time: 0:30
Horseback hours YTD: 138:05

Woh! Hey, look at you reading this entire post!

That's a bit of an accomplishment in our attention-deficient age. Kinda makes me wonder if you like to read things that are even longer than blog posts? Like ... books?

If so, you're definitely our kind of person. Which means you might enjoy a horse-centic read? Click here to read a free sample of, A Man Who Rides: a novel about horsemanship and love.

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