Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Tea Ride

Originally uploaded by Miloflamingo.
Every so often a wonderful horse comes into your life, but there are usually rough spots that need to be taken care of. Stella, the bay mare standing patiently behind me, is one of those horses. Her race track background taught her that every time a saddle was put on her she was supposed to run as fast as possible, not the best training for a saddle horse but it is one that most people who try horses off the race tracks have to deal with. We gave her a month in the paddock to get to know her herd mates, eat and relax a bit and then began working with her.

Last weekend was my first ride with her after a training period with my neighbour, the rider sitting across from me and being overseen by the big grey gelding, Doobie. She worked well on our ride to Giza and shows incredible promise as an all-round traveling horse, so the next day we decided that she and Doobie could use a quiet ride doing errands and visiting neighbours.

The ride, called by my visitor Merri a tea ride, was the result. Stella found it a bit confusing that the only thing she was being asked to do was to walk peacefully along a series of dirt roads, stop for a few moments to chat with someone, and then at one stable to stand for half an hour or so while we drank a cup of tea. Not exactly the race track. She did this very well, however. Seems to have standing still without a rider down pat.

Now I think that she has about a year of walking in the desert to learn that this can be done as well, in combination with relaxed canters in the countryside. Some classic ground work with another dressage trainer neighbour shouting abuse at me from the ground will do wonders for her balance and my fitness as well.

Abu Sir is a fascinating place to be working horses because of all of the resources available to us. We have a group that set limited distance (25 miles/40 km) rides in the desert. There is one this weekend that Merri will ride in, while I work the vet check. We have a neighbour that hosts polo games on his own ridiculously green field next to the desert just under the pyramids of Abu Sir. Other stables specialise more in jumping or dressage, while my specialty is countryside trips. Something for everyone.

No comments: