Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ride Off Into the Sunrise

Its my day off. I didn't have to go to work but I was still up with the sun and on work time this morning, it just didn't feel like work. Every Thursday (if I'm free) I go to another State Park, San Felasco and ride a Cracker Horse. These horses are linked to Florida's history in that they were the horses used by the Spanish cattle ranchers, the Crackers (so named for the "crack" of their whips) who were early settlers of Florida. I have ridden horses all of my life, but these little ponies are like no other. They have their own special gate, called the coon rack. They are very spirited and spook at the silliest things. You always have to be on guard for a wild reaction to something seemingly invisible. They are moody and can be frustrating, but they are FUN! They can weave through the trees in the forest without ever rubbing their rider's feet against the tree. They can be so graceful... sometimes. The horse that I ride is called Amigo. He is the most laid back of the herd and definately a follower. He is usually happy to slowly trod along at the back of the pack while the others are prancing ahead of us. He does NOT like to get left behind though. If we are walking along on the trail, he is happy as can be to walk 1000 feet behind the other horses. If they turn a corner though, and are out of sight, he will panic and trot on to catch up.
Today was a bit of a rough day, still good though. Two riders in our usual group of four couldn't ride today. They were working on a prescribed burn. The other two of us were still going to ride. One pony decided to have a bit of a temper tantrum and her rider put her on time out for some work in the round pen. I tried to ride Amigo a bit on the trail, but he cried and cried for his friends and we didn't get very far. We headed back and met up with the other horse and rider. When all of us started out on the trail, the horses proved to us that today was not the day to ride. We ended up giving the horses baths, a good spray-down with fly spray and sent them to the pasture. We'll try again next week.

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