Les and I slaved all morning. The arena was complete. It's fenced in, gate created, disced, dragged to level, and settled in place. After we accomplished our work, the fun got on....
We saddled the boys, both western. Fortunately, I still have my older, larger, "doesn't really fit me" pleasure saddle in the house. It is horribly big for my behind, but fits Les well. He rode Ransom, and I on Romeo, for the first half hour of the ride.
I had Les ride Ransom for a few reasons... One, I wanted to see Ransom in action. I hadn't seen anyone else ride him, and wasn't really sure how he moved with a passenger. Two, I wanted to see if he had any ill reaction to hauling a burly cowboy around my arena. Would he buck? Would he wring his tail or pin his ears? Would he try to be the least bit uncooperative while Les used intermittant leg contact? Three, I wanted Les to do all the stupid things I'm going to do - trot and canter on a loose rein, hold on to the saddle horn & flip his weight all over the place, accidentally pull on the reins without notice. All things a cowboy will do without thinking about it - as cowboys that I know all ride on a loose rein, and the idea of seat contact is "whoa with deep seat" is second-nature.
Ransom was an absolute babysitter - Exactly as I'd hoped. Les rode him extensively at trot, and while Ransom cut the arena corners, he never offered any ugliness. He rode him canter left on contact (well, sort of), and cantered right a while on a loose rein. While long-strided, Ransom wasn't speeding around like a crazy jumper.
I rode Romeo just a bit, mostly to "get in the way", and to gauge Ransom's reaction. Neither flipped an ear, or swished a tail. We swapped saddles, and I worked Ransom a bit as well. Light trot in the arena, and then canter in the round pen. Les was absolutely determined to get a canter in the arena outta me, but I wasn't up for the challenge.
Finished up the day with a quick trail ride around the pasture. I got scared, and I'm not entirely sure why, except that Ransom wasn't understanding "whoa and stand" very well. He was antsy, constantly moving his feet, perhaps because he was so pleased with his workout. While Ransom was untacked, I took Romeo on a quick walk around the place, just to remind myself I can ride, and my horses mind me.
A great New Year's Day overall!