I was supposed to go to church at 8am, sing in choir, but looking at the to-dos Saturday night, trying to figure how to fit time for Chewie, trail ride, laundry, mow grass, obedience, there just wasn't any way.
Tacked Chewie in my new saddle, and let him free lunge in the round pen a while. Looked like the saddle was pretty secure on him, so I crawled on. He kept up a nice free trot with me aboard, no bucking head-tossing, or genuine fighting. I cantered him to the left, stirrups flying every which way. I focused on heels down, toes up, hand clenched around the saddle horn. I wanted to make sure that the saddle would agree with him at all three gaits before drilling new stirrup holes. He was great with it, didn't seem to bother him at all. He went & stopped on my cues, no fuss or bother. Worked total about 45 minutes, mostly with me aboard. w/t/c
Took a quick break, then put my old saddle on Romeo. I decided I wasn't about to trail ride in the new saddle until the stirrups are adjusted. Drove to the local park and met up with D & Maggie.
We rode for three hours around the park & trails. Walked through the "pretty part" of the park, and down to the Guadalupe river. Maggie pawed & pawed at the river, stood in it nearly to her belly, splashing all over. Romeo was hesitant, but I walked him in until all four hooves were wet. He put his lips in it a little, and I'm not sure if he was drinking, or just goofing, but he at least wasn't terrified of the water.
From the river, we rode on the "Nature Trail" clear across the park, and up to a botanical garden. Deer were squirting out all over the place, golf carts just outside the tree line. Crossed a few small roads with minimal traffic. Squished through a little mud. No problems. No spooks, no issues. In the botanical garden he took a 4ft sideways leap away from a marker stone with a shiny plaque on it. Shiny plaques aren't normally on trail rides, but he quickly got over it. Got him to step on some paving stones up to a water garden, again, he put his lips in it, but didn't drink.
When I got home, my legs were stiff & sore. Mowed the grass anyways, and suffered exhausted through obedience class. Ate supper, fed the crew, and took some Tylenol pm for the pain. I'm 98% sure I was asleep on the couch a little after 9pm, and in bed by 930pm. Slept like a rock.
All in all, a stellar weekend. Rode the horses a ton, working on solid canters, and Romeo is back home. He can now add "parade horse" and "trail buddy" to his list of qualifications. He can ride in front in pair, and behind, no kicking, no ear pinning, no issues. When he gets a little concerned, he'll rely on another horse to calm him. He's also good at calming other horses, which he did during the parade route.
And I got a new saddle! A few stirrup holes, and I'll be in it all the time, working on canter balance & position.