Phew! It finally cooled off enough this week for some post-dawn rides. I kind of missed watching the sunrise from horseback during a scortching July, but what is life without a little variety, right?
For our second ride of the week, I decided to ditch the roundpen and spend most of our ride wandering around the barn area and out into the adjacent pasture. It is nice to do something other than go in circles sometimes. I am pretty sure Shiloh agrees.
This month marks two years since Shiloh came to live with Bear and me, and we just reached our 100th ride together. This 100th ride occurred on the exact calendar day I first met him and test-rode him back in 2018. Seems like we should be further along than that in the “number of rides” category, but it is what it is. Putting my self-criticism aside for a moment, I am very happy to have that number under our belt.
After Shiloh and I were done with one of our rides this week, Bear wandered up and apparently decided he’d like a little attention. For the most part, I think Bear is happy to be retired. Periodically though I get the sense that he misses the interaction encompassed by being a “working” horse. Not necessarily the riding exactly, but just the enjoyment of doing something together. I always thought he had fun with most of the obstacles I brought out, and he especially liked pushing around the big green horse-ball. Shiloh, for his part, is completely unimpressed with the ball. He shows no inclination whatsoever to mess with it. He is not afraid of it at all, but he completely lacks that draw towards the ball that Bear displayed.
This time, Bear and I did a little freestyle play around the tire pedestal that is inside the horses’ paddock. Bear can still lift his legs for a “salute” and do a partial “bow” so he played around with doing that. At this stage in the game, I let him decide how long he wants to play, and he can wander off whenever he’d like to end the interaction.
These little sessions he requests never last very long, maybe 10 minutes or so, but I am always charmed when he asks me to play. He doesn’t do it very often either, maybe once every few months or so, but that makes it extra special. I must say I miss terribly riding him.
Hopefully if the weather stays more or less cool, I can start planning some more horse field- trips off the property before Winter hits. For some reason, it seems to me that this year is really zipping along, and I better get to it before it is over.