Great Pumpkin Ride 2010

Costume for Great Pumpkin Ride Grafton MA


Great Pumpkin Ride

The past few weeks, I’ve been getting up early(way too early) to soak Jig’s foot and wrap it before going to work- first the Right; then the Left. Abscesses- painful for Jigs and for me.

It’s been a frustrating Fall. Jigs missed some rides. First, we couldn’t go camping because he tore a muscle, then he missed a couple of trail rides. He recovered, but ended up with abscesses in each of his front hooves a few weeks later.

Jigs missed the rides, but I was able to borrow Neato, an old lesson horse, and went with friends. It was fun. Neato even got to wear the costume I had made for Jigs to wear on the Great Pumpkin Ride. We took third place- Rocky and Bullwinkle. And we had our photo in the paper! How cool is that?

Neato is fairly push button. He’s an old Arab who loves to go. One of the folks at the barn refers to him as Tigger because he’s so bouncy. I can’t sit his trot. It’s like trying to stay still on a giant pogo stick.

Taking another horse on the rides has been good for me. Jigs is not finished, and after judged rides, I often end up frustrated by my inability to get him to do something (like side-passing). I don’t take out my frustration on Jigs; I just feel bad about my own skill gaps and start second guessing if I’m the right partner for him. The marble in my head rolls around if he “had a better rider he could do so much more….it’s not fair to him; he’s such a great horse…Wah wah, poor me.”

But Neato does just about everything you ask him, if you ask him correctly. He’s been good for my confidence. I even tried showing Jigs that Neato can side pass. Jigs was not impressed.

Last weekend Jigs stared us down when he saw me loading Neato in the trailer. Do horses get jealous?

Neato is a neat horse, sorry for the pun. Not everyone enjoys riding him because of his bounce. He also likes to go faster than he should. He’s really quite speedy for a 26 year old. There are some teens who ride him every week. They love to canter him around in circles. He always obliges them with good humor. He even tries to jump for them, but it’s not his thing.

Now Jigs in the ring is a different story. He HATES ring work. My guess is that he finds it boring or just plain, stupid. I can hear him thinking, “What’s the point of going round and round to nowhere?” Things he does well on the trail, he will flat out refuse to do in the ring. It’s a battle to keep him going at the trot, let alone lope all the way. He’s even been known to throw a stubborn crow hop in protest.

The truth is I hate ring work too, so it works for both of us. We only do enough of it to practice the stuff we are learning to do together.

Today Jigs is much better. I took the wraps off and let him out with his herd. He gingerly trotted down the field, stopped, spun around and launched himself at a gallop, ears pinned, at one of his herd mates just to let them know that he was back.

Neato watched him from his paddock, sighed,  and then turned to look at me, as if asking me something.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am really thankful.

Yes, the past few months have been frustrating, but Jigs is a really cool horse. We have lots of rides ahead of us. One day I’ll finally figure out how to tell him to side pass.

And in the past few months I got to know Neato. He made me feel much better about my ability to ride. If Jigs had not had these nagging issues, I would never have gotten to ride him. I’d have still been rolling the marble around inside my skull, ‘not good enough, not good enough.”

I’ve been thinking about the look Neato gave me today. Was he wondering if I will ever ride him again? Was he wondering if I was happy to have my buddy almost healthy again? Or maybe he was just wondering if I had a treat for him?

I’ve become quite fond of Neato. Maybe he senses that. He really is a neat horse. Like many older horses, he still has a lot to give. And more importantly, he wants to give it!

So in addition to being thankful for my family, my grand boys, Jigs, I’m also grateful to Neato for making me feel a little more confident and for not making me feel like a foolish old lady trying to relive her childhood passion.

Pretty Neat-o.

Explore posts in the same categories: horses, Living in the moment, Responsible horse ownership, trail riding

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One Comment on “Neato”

  1. alyssagraveson Says:

    Neto is a wonderful horse!! I owe that horse tons of love & treats. He takes care of Jonathan every single time he rides.
    He an Jonathan seem to love flying up the trails or in the ring. The looks on their faces is priceless. I don’t know who is having more fun, Neto or Jonathan!

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