Newbie from Next Door to God's Country (in Northern Idaho)
Greetings and Salutations!
I live about 4 or 5 miles out into the Palouse which is a huge rolling prairie land along the Idaho-Washington border. The eastern edge of the Palouse is the western edge of the Idaho mountains and national forests. So . . . I'm "next door" to God's Country!
I'm also new to the area and new to horses. I got Shandy, aka Mr. Big, about two months ago. He's a very mild mannered, but energetic, registered paint that doesn't look much like a paint. He's a beautiful chestnut color with a bit of white here and there for accent.
He also fits his nickname: Mr. Big. He's 16.2 hh and 1350 pounds. But then, I'm no light weight and needed a big horse. And, since trail riding and horse camping (no pack horse, at least to start) are my plans for the Big Guy he needs to be extra big!
Before I got Shandy I'd ridden three times since I was a little kid just out of diapers. Since I'm now more or less retired, that's not much riding in a lot of years! The rides were on the new Mrs. big mare, Molly. She's a handful for an experienced rider but she was all we had that could carry me. Molly and I did fine--just as soon as I let her know in no uncertain terms who was boss (I used the same tricks I used on unruley dogs--worked just about the same!). We went for a ride around the corral, a ride in the pasture behind the house and a ride up the butte across the road.
The Mrs. still can't believe she let me ride that fractious horse up the butte! We did OK, more or less, but it was obvious that Molly is WAY to much horse for me. Or was then. Probably still is.
Mr. Big, on the other hand, is just right for this beginner! He's very strong, very sure footed, and very calm--a pheasant jumped pretty much right under us and all he did was shudder a bit. The Mrs. was riding Tamerlain, an Arab, that day and he went berserk--but she stayed in the saddle which is better'n she did when he was spooked by a deer a few weeks earlier. I was VERY pleased with Mr. Big's reaction--or lack of same, as the case may be!
We've been out to "real" trails over in God's Country twice and hope to go again Saturday, weather permitting. And I've been riding around the hills near the farm as often as I can get out. Weather is the big problem--it's been snowing for two weeks. Grrrrrr. Mr. Big does fine in the snow. I'm the wimp that doesn't want to go out when it's cold, snowing, and the wind is blowing like there's no tomorrow!
My horse riding goals are simple:
1. Continue learning to ride Mr. Big so I'm comfortable at all three paces. We've cantered once, a short distance, and I decided I'm not ready for that just yet. But we can now trot for a long ways and both enjoy it.
2. Get both Mr. Big and I into good enough shape for all day rides in the mountains and then for multiple day camping trips in said mountains. God's Country awaits! I'm eager to go exploring!
3. Get involved with the local Back Country Horsemen club and take part in volunteer work projects with the Forest Service and other government agencies that help maintain our trails. Nothing like a bit of giving back to a sport to help one enjoy it!
Well. Sorry for the disertation. I've been posting to the Trail Riding topic since that's where my main interests lie. Figured I should introduce myself!
"Don't just feed it! Ride it!" And the People said "AMEN!"