Yesterday was a really fun day at Warm Beach Christian Camp horsemanship lesson. I missed the usual morning lesson because there was a swim team meeting that I wanted to attend and am glad I did. In lieu of the morning lesson I "helped" with the afternoon lesson. The afternoon lesson are Level 2 western riders and there's not as much for me to do since I don't have to set up trot poles and jump standards. However, it was such a nice day that we went for a trail ride instead! I got to ride a nice beefy Quarter horse type named "Red". I learned much later that he was actually a Paint with no color. Lisa said he still has a baby brain and may spook at things the other horses don't. I'm used to that with my own horse so watched his ears consistently. The ears will tell you where the horse's brain is. Red was really good; he looked at a couple things but didn't spook. A horse two places ahead of me spooked at a lot of things but his rider was adept at staying in the center, even though she rode bareback. I miss riding bareback but I haven't done much riding period lately so opted for a nice solid western saddle. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'd forgotten how to adjust the stirrups on western saddles so that was a good lesson for me. I'll be better equipped next time.
After my volunteer session I went to BeeGee's barn. He was peacefully grazing in his paddock, in the sunshine, and I didn't have the heart, er motivation, to disturb his peace and tranquility by taking him somewhere "unfamiliar" or work with him in the arena. So we hung out and I enjoyed it immensely. He greeted me at the gate as usual -- he's such a flirt. I brought a couple brushes to groom him but he had carefully applied mud to his back to protect against flies (when is that fly mask I ordered going to arrive??) so I didn't even do that. He followed me around while I checked out his digs. He followed me into a little grove of trees that I thought might serve as a bit of a squeeze game and then I sat down in a grassy sunny spot. He checked me out with his nose then attempted to stand with his neck over me. It was a little sweet, like he was just hanging out with his horse buddies. However, I didn't like his knees at approximately eye level so I got up and hung my arm over his back while he grazed. He wandered off to finish his morning hay and I followed him. Then I walked around the big trees into the corner and he followed me around back to his hay. We spent a good 45 minutes hanging out together and it did my heart good.
Today I'll go out there and see where he's turned out. If he's in a small pen I may take him out to graze somewhere. If there are other people around I may see about riding. I'm not a fan of riding alone. In part, because I have strong sense of self-preservation and BeeGee regularly spooks at invisible phantoms. The other part is because riding is very much a social event for me. Which is why I enjoyed the trail ride so much with the girls yesterday. Also, I didn't grow up riding alone. I borrowed my friend's Appaloosa mare constantly but my friend was always with me and we did very silly things with these horses, which occasionally resulted in one of us falling on our head (what, helmet? we couldn't even be bothered with proper tack). But neither of us ever broke anything more than a fingernail.
I have ridden alone, lots of times when I had my sweet little Paint mare and my reliable Appaloosa gelding. But it was never fun enough for me to do it very often. There's something magical about riding horses and laughing with your friends, even in a lesson. Anyone can be used as an example at any time and that can be both instructive and funny. I don't mind making fun of myself and usually I learn something -- like I need more instruction about something.
Today I don't mind the idea of taking BeeGee for a graze and letting him experience "new" things. I feel like I owe him a lot of grazing time to make up for the period of stall rest. Besides, this is how we get to know each other even better.