Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Heritage Days at Malabar Farm

Every year for many, many years (20+) the club that I belong to, Wayne County Chapter of the Ohio Horseman's Council, raises funds to donate back to the Ohio State Parks system by giving pony rides at a local event at Malabar Farm during the Heritage Days event held each year at the historical farm and once home of Author Louis Bromfield.

Guinness stayed home, unfortunately.  I took him last year, but he made it very clear that the hustle and bustle of the public event was NOT the place for him.  There have been many, many regales of his antics last year around many a campfire by the other members of my club.

They're all pretty sure he's certifiably nuts, but that's ok.  I KNOW I am, so we're a good pair.

Mom's horse Beezley came though, as he adores small children and enjoys all of the attention involved in giving pony rides.

Old Man Teaching The Whipper-snappers How To Ride
A friend of ours brought a horse and a pony to give pony rides with, and she allowed me to ride her horse back and forth to and from the horseman's camp that is about a 30 minute trail ride from the site where the festivities happen.

Meet Seeger:

Seeger and I had a disagreement on the way back to camp Saturday.  I wanted him to go faster to keep up with Beezley.  He felt that bucking was a better option. We got that all sorted out, and the next 2 rides were uneventful.

He turned out to be a rock star at giving pony rides, so I'm sure he'll be asked to come back next year.  Unlike poor Guinness, who was requested to be left at home.

It's been a few years since I rode a horse that trotted.  Guinness is a Tennessee Walking Horse and thus, does not trot.  He is what we call in the horse world 'gaited', meaning that he does not trot.  

This video demonstrates several types of gait that certain breeds of horses can do.  Guinness does a Running Walk, and a Rack.  Notice how smooth the movements are and how still the riders are in the saddle.

In my opinion, for trail riding, this is the way to go.  A smoothly gaiting horse not only tends to be more sure footed than a horse that is trotting, but it's WAY more comfortable for the rider.

Now, observe a trot:

Instructions aside, see how much the rider is bouncing?  That is a lot of work to keep your bum in the saddle, and then to post by rising into the two point position.  It's an excellent work out for your core, legs and shoulders. 

But not so awesome when you're on a 3-4 hour trail ride. (After a very short period of time, your ass really starts to hurt from all the jarring.)

Anyway, for the 30 minute ride twice a day that I rode Seeger, I had a lot of fun riding his trot.  I discovered that I still got it, and I can smoothly sit the trot, as well as post with grace and dignity.  Maybe it's like riding a bike??  ;)  (Glad to see all the hours I spent practicing the sitting trot, posting trot and two point position without stirrups paid off.)

It did make me wistful to own a trotting horse and get back into Dressage.  I love Guinness, and he'll always be one of my 'special' children, but I really, really miss the structure, precision and grace of the Dressage Ring.

Maybe someday.

Anyway, back to the pony rides!!!

The whole shindig was a roaring success, as usual.  The club made a tidy sum to use for State Park improvements, everyone stayed safe with no injuries, and a lot of fun was had.

I think the best reward of the whole experience is watching these little kids waiting in line, bouncing up and down with excitement and anticipation.  Then, when it's their turn and they get paired up with a horse/pony, the facial expression goes from excited, to awe.

Then we start walking and the smile is enough to melt your heart.

There were a bunch of club members that showed up to help, even though they didn't have a horse to bring (like myself).  RCT and son Wyatt even made an appearance to check out the festivities, although I couldn't talk either one of them into getting a pony ride.  Shucks...maybe next time.  :D

Ride Safe All!

~The RoadQueen


RANTWICK said...

Wow. That was really horsy. In a good way. I had no idea that some trot and some do not.

Fixed gear bikes force you to learn how to "post" because you must keep pedalling no matter what you're rolling over...

RoadQueen said...

Rantwick - glad you learned something new!

I keep sending you my Amazon suggestions as they come to me, I hope you're able to use them. I saw that you used a few already. :)