Ride 'em Cowgirl!

Horseback riding opportunities have been sparse of late, so when my friend Stephanie invited me to come riding with her on her farm in Beaver County (about an hour north of me—when I don’t get lost), I jumped at the chance. The second the heat wave broke and the monsoons stopped, we made a date. Tuesday, I printed out directions, punched the address into my GPS, and headed out.

Beaver County, Pennsylvania is beautiful. Lots of woods and big hills. Rugged and rustic. 

I used to have family up there. My parents used to take me to visit when I was a kid. Some areas are vaguely familiar. Others, not so much. Yes, I got lost. Thankfully, my new GPS doesn’t growl, “Recalculating!” every time I make a wrong turn. I would have heard it a LOT.

I finally arrived, only about 15 minutes later than planned.

Stephanie brought Jonas, who was to be my mount, in from the field. He’s a big (BIG!) flea-bitten rose gray off-the-track Thoroughbred who’s been trained for dressage and has power steering and all the bells and whistles. The horse version of the car we rented in Colorado. Stephanie was excited to have me ride him, telling me how nice he was. But since he’s a dressage horse and I’m an old cowgirl, Steph and her mom cut me some slack and put the Western saddle on him.

Then they brought in Jonah (Yes. Jonas and Jonah. I was just going to call them both Joe) and started to saddle him for Stephanie to ride.

I led JoNAS around in a flat area outside the barn, then decided to climb on board while I waited. I’d been told he didn’t stand real well for mounting. And did I mention he was big? So I was rather proud of myself for being able to get my foot up in the stirrup and swing up into the saddle without help.

The next thing I knew, JoNAS was airborne. I think I lasted one jump. Maybe one and a half. Then I was on the ground and JoNAS was standing quietly over me as Steph and her mom came running in a panic.

It’s been years since I’ve been bucked off. Around twenty, as close as I can figure. Surprisingly, I popped right back up and walked off. Nothing was broken. My neck was a little out of whack. But not terribly so. Poor Stephanie was horrified. They’d never seen this horse do anything even remotely bad.

They’d also never had him in a Western saddle before. That’s the only thing we can figure. JoNAS (or JonASS, as I now not-so-lovingly refer to him) did not like that saddle. At all.

So we launched into Plan B. Yank the Western Saddle off Jonas and slap it on my NEW ride, JoNAH. English saddle and Stephanie on JonASS. (See? I can keep their names straight now!)

Jonah is a large, round, sorrel with flaxen mane and tail. He’s half Belgian and looks the part. He doesn’t have power steering, and he’s used to getting his own way because he always gets stuck babysitting the inexperienced riders. When I found out he’d been through police training (bomb-proofed, riot-proofed) I knew we’d get along fine.

I climbed into the saddle, and this time I stayed there. Much to Jonah’s dismay, I made him work figure-8s while JonASS was getting tacked up the second time. I also made him backup. He tried to tell me he didn’t know how. But I convinced him he did. I was right.

We had a great trail ride. I ate some spider webs. This may not sound like fun, but it’s been so long since I’ve been out in the woods on a horse, even a face full of web made me smile. Of course, they were empty webs.

I hope.

JonASS was a perfect gentleman for Stephanie and her English saddle. JoNAH finally gave up playing stupid and stubborn and turned out to be a real joy to ride. Even if he didn’t get to be the boss.

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Beaver County. Hopefully I won’t get lost. And Stephanie has already assured me that Jonah is MY horse whenever I want a trail riding fix. 


Oh my gosh, I had no idea you'd been tossed from a horse. Hope you're okay, and that scenery was absolutely gorgeous!
Becky said…
And would this be the reason for the trip to the Chiropractor?

I wish I had learned to ride. But after reading about your fall I remember why I only tried it once. No I didn't get thrown. I had a horse that refused to leave the water trough. Of course my being inexperienced and the others leaving without a backwards glance. Well you get the idea.

Then there was the other horse that ran into the barn minus a rider and fell during his mad rush.

Excuse any mistakes I've made I'm not a writer either. lol
Annette said…
I'm fine, Donnell. Okay, maybe a few stiff muscles, but nothing that's slowing me down. :-)

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