Big September

Novels for Horse-Lovers

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

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It is September 7. So far, this month, I have spent 10.5 hours in the saddle. This is probably a new short-term record for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever started a month off with such a bang.

Mostly, I blame the weather. It’s been absolutely gorgeous out. We’ve had perfect temps, just enough rain to keep the grasses growing, and nights cooling down enough so the horses get a good break.

This weekend, Brian and I decided to put a priority on pushing our boundaries. We ride in a lot of different places, but with riding multiple horses most barn trips now, we’ve gotten a bit out of the habit of going out past the immediate surroundings of the barn’s arenas, pastures, and the nearby strip. This weekend we decided we’d tack on a little exploration of the waterways around nearby fields to every ride.

Mostly, that went well. On Saturday, after a really great ride on Oliver and Aiden, we ventured out to the second strip. Both Oliver and Aiden were alert but relaxed. Even though there were swarms of grasshoppers making crazy popping noises in the corn, breeze rattling the just-starting-to-dry-out crops, and we were in new territory, they both stayed with us. We didn’t push on for more than a quarter mile or so, but it was a good little foray beyond our normal pattern.

Next we rode Steen and Laredo and took them way out to the far end of the property boundary. Steen was so, so relaxed. It was the kind of ride that made me remember how nervous and flighty he used to be with a sort of disbelief. We did an easy circuit around the fields before heading home.

Today, Brian rode Nevada again for the first time after her six week hiatus. We stayed in the indoor arena for that, and I rode Oliver for the first time in many weeks. Other than one little rearing episode during groundwork, Nevada took coming back to work with her usual equanimity. Oliver started out kind of uncertain as to why he was hanging out with me instead of Brian, but we settled in quickly.

After the first ride, Brian and I got on Steen and Laredo and rode out with a purpose. There were several abandoned fly masks scattered out in the big pasture (one of which was ours) so we decided to ride the whole pasture and collect all that we saw. We found ours right up in the winter lot. I hung it up on the fence to dry, and we trotted out to collect another we’d seen from a distance on the far far hill top. Once we’d picked that one up, we realized we should put ours on Oliver. So trotted all the way back up to the winter pasture to get the fly mask where I’d left it, then back out to where Oliver was grazing. Brian then succeeded in putting the fly mask on Oliver from Laredo’s back.

These are the kinds of silly jobs we create for ourselves because we don’t have real work to do with our horses. While none of this necessarily needed to be done via horseback, it was pretty fun to do it all on four legs instead of two.

After trotting and cantering around the big pasture a fair bit, we took Steen and Laredo out into the fields again. They were, if possible, even more relaxed than the day before. We tooled around for an hour and a half before calling it a ride.

So, yay for long rides and beautiful weather. It was definitely the kind of weekend that has me counting my blessings.


Horseback Hours YTD: 178:25

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6 years ago

Nice! My September has been largely a bust when it come to riding. I think I've spent maybe 15 minutes on horseback. Between school starting, and being sick, and the horses being quarantined because they maybe had a highly contagious horse virus that's going around (turned out to be a false alarm), and the weather…yeah.

Glad to hear someone is getting out and having fun though. Hope you guys get a lot more good rides in!