Fall Paws N’ Read at Noah’s Nook

The Fall Paws N’ Read at Noah’s Nook schedule is now available. Come read to the animals soon! Sign up now.

Riding Without Fences, Part Two

Going on a trail ride…


So…..it’s official.  I CAN ride without a fence.  And you know what?  It was fun!

Our next trail ride had a little excitement.  I want you to hear it from Amy’s point of view (thank you Amy for letting me use your description).  I’ll set the scene for you….

We are headed back to the farm.  There is one part of the ride where riding single file and way to the right is required.  The problem is poop, but that’s a whole ‘nother story……

Smile Blake!!

Blake in the Box

Robin, Tammy, and Diane were behind me, Shirley and Ben in front. German Shepard makes a sudden appearance with a giant bark. Okie has a “moment”, so we can’t go forward, Castillo had planted all four feet and dropped his weight, so we can’t go back, dog is to the left of us. Only option? Leap up the 3 foot bank to the immediate right. The ladies behind us swear that none of his feet hit the bank. Straight up, 1/4 spin to the right, and cantering as if his life depended on it! So happy to say that I stuck like glue and was able to spin him back to face his friends pretty quickly. Equally happy to say that he was calm, cool, and collected for the remainder of the walk home. Or at least until we entered the driveway.

So that’s what happened on my second trail ride.  By the way, Blake is the horse Amy was on.  Needless to say my mouth dropped when all this was happening.  I was envisioning a chain reaction, like on the freeway, but with horses….first Okie, then Blake, then Hombre, oh my!  The next thought is “wow…look at Blake and Amy…SO glad it’s not me!”

The whole scenario and my string of thoughts lasted only seconds but what an impression.  Amy has been riding at CATRA for umpteen (yes, I know that’s not a real number) years.  She started in a ring with a fence.  She learned the basics and practiced.  Then she left the fence behind.  So she was prepared for the “Blake in the Box” moment.

We never know what is going to happen in our lives.  The best we can do is be as prepared as possible.  Obviously we can’t prepare for everything but we can have the basics down.  We can start within the fence, learning, practicing, testing what we know, practicing, trying more, messing up, practicing and, finally, succeeding – at one thing.  Then we learn something new and it starts all over again.  We do this every day until one day we are out of the ring, away from the fence and helping someone else start within the fence.

Take that!!!

The CATRA volunteers are a perfect example of this concept.  We all had to learn how to walk the lesson horses the right way and at the right speed.  We all had to learn how to hold the rider so they could do their exercises and not fall off.  We all learned how to hold the volunteer rider (who was holding the lesson rider) on the horse so he or she wouldn’t fall off.  We all learned and then shared what we were taught – learned the basics and left the ring.

Trust me, you never stop learning at CATRA.  Just as in life.  But what you learn helps a great deal wherever you are.  So, never stop learning, review the basics now and then, share what you know and have a great ride/life!

PS – The fence isn’t really that important…..horses can jump, you know…….

Blake at sunset