Fall Ride

The last few days Rusty has been calling demandingly every time he hears me come out of the house. It’s been a busy week and I haven’t been able to answer his calls. Today I had the chance.

I let him out to graze for awhile, get the craving somewhat fulfilled so we could work without fighting the need for grass. When I came back for him he happily left the grass to play with me.

After some ground work, the children who had been ‘helping’ me went off to ride in the combine. All the kids. That’s our two and one cousin, squeezed into the combine with my husband. Apparently they fit. With everyone occupied I saddled up Rusty. Of course by the time I had the saddle out clouds had come in and it was rapidly cooling. The effort involved in getting the saddle out is always well punished. I saddled up anyway.

Rusty set out at a good walk, with a few small spooks and leaps thrown  in. A cool windy day like this wouldn’t allow for anything different. Each time he went sideways the saddle and I nearly came off the other direction. When I got off to open  the gate into the cow pasture the saddle came clear over with me. I managed to land on  my feet and pushed it back onto his back. We usually ride with a ridiculously loose cinch, but that was a bit much with a hot pony on this cold day. I tightened my cinch.

Through the gate I led him to another gate to get on. Rusty stepped over to the gate nicely for me. He got tired of waiting as I tried and tried to flip my reins over his ears and left. I followed him through the corral calling him a few names, like sweet darling Rusty! What else would I ever call him?

Halfway across the corral he noticed me back there and turned walking up to me as sweet as could be, happy to have someone to visit with.

I put the reins over his head before climbing onto the fence and we rode off through the cows.

The ones that are home already are turned out on wheat stubble from this years wheat crop. They disked it lightly and fall rains brought up nice green grazing that will hold up to the cold weather. The cows are loving it. I asked Rusty to trot with the silly thought of continuing our work on speed control. We’ve been working on differentiating between an extended trot and bringing it down  to a slower speed. This was not the time or place to work on it.

He was very willing to trot, but thought maybe I’d prefer a nice lope? I had nothing against that. He leapt happily into a lope then kept leaping. As he crow hopped along into the wind my hat was trying  to blow away. There wasn’t a spare hand to hold it on as I needed both hands to keep Rusty to controlled leaps. Another thing it was not the time or place for. We came back to a walk.

It’s never a good thing to charge through the middle of the herd anyway. They all looked good. My cows were all there. The calf that had been limping was walking much better.

Through the next gate we kept going into the cold wind. The brown and pink  hues of fall were subtly beautiful under the dark cloudy sky. I was wishing I had brought a hat or gloves. It was no longer warm enough for a sweatshirt. I had gone through the effort of putting a saddle on  though, we were going to ride even if I froze solid.

In  a big loop we circled the alfalfa, passed the grain truck, paused to eat some corn, then back to the yard where we did work on trot transitions out of the wind a little and with less room to tempt long hard gallops. Two or three times of feeling distinct hesitations when I asked him to slow down and we called it good for the day. I turned him out and hurried inside to try to bring some feeling back  to my hands.

The children  all followed shortly behind me. As fun as the combine had been hey were all about to fall asleep so they got out and ran home when a pass brought them near the house.




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