Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 – First Short Ride Day at Willis Creek

After breakfast, we saddled up for a short exploratory ride. Hubby attempted to try out the modified bareback saddle that I bought some time ago, but we couldn’t get it to work well with the cinch he had, so rather than mess with it, he went back to his regular saddle, with plans to check it out again when we get to my brother’s for Christmas. We decided on the yellow trail, which basically was mostly a perimeter around a wide open field. There was a pretty blustery wind, and lots of wildlife smells around, so Apollo was up on his toes for almost the entire ride. Shortly into the ride, he shied dramatically, and I ended of falling out of the saddle, fortunately in slow motion, so I was able to protect myself from a hard fall, or from screwing up my already screwed up knee. No real damage, so I hopped back up again and we kept going. He remained on high alert, which made it a rather tense ride. We diverted onto the green trail, a very short trail of which we only took about half of it anyway, passed a couple of other riders, and then got back on the yellow trail. About the last half mile, Apollo finally seemed to settle down a bit, so I let Hubby take the lead, and we trotted nicely, then broke into a canter. All went well for about 8 or 10 strides, I thought everything would be fine, then suddenly Apollo put his head down and popped up for no apparent reason! Usually I can hang on, but perhaps because of my weak knee, I wasn’t able to stay straight, and ended up falling uncharacteristically on the off-side. This one wasn’t in slow motion, but somehow I managed to break my fall enough to not land too hard, thank goodness. I can’t understand why he’s doing this. I had taken off the heavy saddle bags, because Hubby thought maybe they might be slapping his rump too hard, so that wasn’t it. I was using the bitless bridle, and had completely given him his head, so that wasn’t it. I had put the extra pad under his saddle, so that wasn’t it. Either it’s something completely unrelated and I haven’t figured it out yet, or he just plain thinks it fun or funny for some reason. Not sure how to resolve it now, it’s getting unnerving that I can’t seem to find out what the problem is. If I felt a little more secure, I’d just take him out and run him for as long as I could make him run, but unfortunately, since he won’t leave mama Clio, we have to deal with that dynamic, which is hard because Clio walks slower than Apollo, but trots faster. Trotting is hard with my bad knee at the moment, though a jog would work, but Clio won’t stay in a slow jog, and once she passes us, all bets on Apollo’s behavior are off. Well, we’ll just have to keep trying until we figure it out! I thought by now, at age (almost) 18, he’d start to settle down, but as a mama’s boy, I guess he’ll never truly grow up! Got back to camp in just over an hour, and settled down for the rest of the day.

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