Before getting into the ride story, I did want to mention that I rode in my English saddle for the lesson. What I used to love and have known my whole life, I'm questioning. My dressage saddle and the endurance saddle with the long stirrups I've been riding in made my lesson painful and left me wondering if I should get rid of the thing. I never in a million years thought I'd say that, but man, I've been missing out. Yes, my English saddle is comfy, and yes, I should have gotten off to increase the length of the stirrup, but I'll have to wait until next time. I hope I end up liking it again because I've had such a hard time getting rid of it when I know I need to upgrade.
Another arab ride, and man was it fun! When I got to the barn, we had planned on doing a quick ride to beat the rain. That quick ride quickly turned into 16-18 miles and 3 hours later. We went right out and started with a bunch of trotting. We turned off of one trail and did a little bit of walking before a REALLY long canter... then asked for a gallop. We had one episode of the horse I was on scooting out and grabbing the reins like he did before, and I finally figured out that the more you give him, the more he slows. Putting him "on the bit" means he grabs the bit and goes much like a racehorse would. Why I figured this out ride 3, I have no idea, but I'm glad I did.
In the gallop phase, we just WENT! It was SO much fun and the other horse caught up to us eventually. The owner kept saying sit back, sit back to get him under control, and when I did, two-point, two-point. I did also get a, "don't hold back, he's not going anywhere. Look at this long road!" While reassuring, it was also nerve wracking because "real horses" canter/gallop and I haven't done that in quite some time. Breathe, Jess, just breathe. I had to keep reminding myself. I did lose a stirrup during all of this excitement so I yelled over to the owner and we came back down before picking up a more controlled canter.
CANTERING!!! I forgot what it was like! It's fun when you're not getting run off with, and the horse calmed down about 10 miles in! HA! We found some water stops along the way to have them drink, came across the state park police, and even went through a campground to find some people out there in the middle of no where. We took it easier on the way back. Both horses were pretty beat as we pushed pretty hard through some deep sand. I love my back yard and I love the pine barrens!