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 Post subject: Mind Games
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:56 am 
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Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 7:14 am
Posts: 24
Of all things horse related, trail riding is my favorite. I love to ride in small groups of no more than four people though I prefer just one other person or, better yet, I like to ride alone with my dogs. I know, I know; not the brightest thing to do since accidents can happen or a bad guy could jump from the bushes to attack. Still, I confess, I ride alone. I love the solitude, the quiet and the sound of my horse's breathing. I love the way his legs move through the tall grass causing that whispering summer sound and the smell of the pines. I laugh at my goofy dogs darting ahead and then circling back, grinning with tongues hanging and tails wagging. Yeah, I love riding alone.

Sometimes I play silly little head games with myself and the "What if" game is my favorite. For example, what if I were riding alone and the proverbial bad guy jumps out of the bushes with a knife demanding that I get off my horse? What would I do? Would I panic and do as he said or would I remember that my horse is my best weapon? Most people are afraid of the horse's hind end. It's a fear learned as a child, like the fear of snakes and spiders. I'd use that ingrained fear and keep my horse's rear-end aimed at the attacker until I could get away from him. I wouldn't want to run over the guy because if he knew to grab the bridle or reins, he could gain the advantage. I know that my horse can outrun, outlast and outwit the man so staying on and turning his rear to the danger while making a quick getaway is my best gameplan.

When I was a kid, I rode an average of ten hours every day. Different horses because since we ran a riding stables and rented horses to tourists and I was a trail guide for most of the day all year long. Because I rode my own horse for a good part of each day, I'd teach him things in order to keep us both entertained. I taught him to buck on command so that if I was ever riding alone and was attacked by a bad guy or by a mountain lion, I could turn him around, give the command to buck and he'd kick the crap out of whatever was coming at us. I never actually had to employ that 'button', but it was good to know I could. It also came in handy if I ever wanted to show off.

Back to trail riding. What if there were two of us riding together and the evil man had grabbed my friend's horse's bridle? What should she do and what would I do? I'd turn my own horse's rear to the man and back into him and wish the entire time that I'd taught this horse that buck on command thing. Hopefully my friend would know to do the same--to try to turn her mount away from the attacker and to give the command 'go'. With one large horse rear pushing into the bad guy and the horse he's holding onto beginning to rear and fight at being held and kicked at the same time, I'm pretty sure we'd get away.

I could also get on the other side of my friend's horse and she could jump on behind me, but she better be agile and my horse better sidle up perfectly to hers during the whole episode. Good for movies, but not for real life I'm thinking.

If I were riding alone and my bridle broke, what could I do? I usually ride in a sidepull--there is no bit and I don't use the reins much anyway so it likely wouldn't be a big deal, but still, what would I do? I'd still have the pieces of my bridle and depending where and how it broke, I know I could rig something to get by. If I were on a horse that was wearing a bridle with a bit, I'd just take the rein(s) and put a loop at one end and put it on him to make an Indian bridle Like the ones I rode with as a kid. One loop, one rein, I'm good to go.

What if the cinch breaks and the saddle can't be used? If the trail home is pretty level, I'd likely be able to sit on the saddle and come home at a walk even without a cinch, but if it were hilly, I think I'd get as far as I could, then stash it under a tree and go home for whatever part I needed.

Just silly mind games that I play and I've had to improvise many times for various things. Thankfully, never have encountered that bad guy! Does anyone else play these games? If you do, please share your own ideas!

*******PRIVATE one hour trail riding lesson for $50, (normally $75) with mention of, email; must be within 20 miles of Conifer, CO.

Tanya Buck was born and raised in Carmel, California, where she grew up on a small ranch. A graduate of UC Davis, she majored in Animal Science with a concentration in Equine Reproduction, and a minor in English.

She is certified through UC Davis as an Equine Breeding Manager, is a certified horse show judge, and a Reiki Master. Currently, Tanya and her husband live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with five horses, three dogs, three cats, a couple of parrots and a bunch of fish.

Besides her passion for horses, Tanya is an avid Scuba diver, an active bicyclist, and loves to hike, snowshoe, read and write. She is currently working on two books, one fiction that needs an agent now, and a creative nonfiction about training horses written from the horse's point of view.

Tanya has been helping to bridge the communication gap between horses and humans for over 35 years.

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