Friday, July 10, 2009
Marcel & Me ~ Chapter 5
Variety did not stop with games, trail riding and being exposed to other horses. Pam started to ride Marcel bareback and loved to drive him as well..but there was just one more thing Pam had always wanted to do. Something she saw a woman do when she was a child and had cherished the dream of one day being able to do herself as well...ride Sidesaddle!
The first time Marcel saw the new contraption called a sidesaddle he snorted and tried to slink out from under it as Pam raised it onto his back. His concern turned to resignation as she spent way too much time figuring out where all those straps went.
"I often smile to myself with a warm heart and think, "Wow! What did I do to deserve him?" Marcel on the other hand must have rolled his eyes, slowly shaken his head and said, "Wow.. what did I do to deserve her??" " Pam said with a chuckle.
The headed to the outdoor arena. Pam read Mrs. Houblon's checklist one more time and got on. She mounted as if she was getting on an astride saddle and then tried to swing her right leg back over. That would have been fine, but Marcel thought she was done and started to walk off. Her body twisted and while she was trying to recapture her balance she hit one of the horns and ended up with a huge bruise. Once settled, she took a deep breath and asked for a walk. Marcel would occasionally circle to the left. Too much leg. With Pam poorly balanced and squeezing the horns with all of her might, they labored around at a walk and trot for half an hour or so. When Marcel had had enough, he made a direct line out of the arena and straight to the mounting block and parked out...his way of saying, "Your quarters up. Get off my back!" She dismounted and they walked back to the barn. The whole time she untacked him she wondered why she had spent so much money on a saddle she was miserable on...and the worst was yet to come. The following day her whole body ached but especially her hip and her already bad knee.
As the pain faded, the old dream started to resurrect and a few days later she brought the sidesaddle out again. Marcel sighed heavily when he saw it coming. Again, they headed to the outdoor arena. This time they actually did a lot better. Pam was a bit more relaxed, but still gripping the horns too tightly. They walked and jogged around for longer distances. The first thing Pam noticed was that Marcel did not keep his ears back for the entire ride as he had on their first time out. She slowed him back down to a walk and then asked him for the canter. Off they went!
"Now that was fun!" Pam expressed with excitement. "I was concentrating so hard on not turning sideways in the saddle when we jogged that I was the one making myself miserable. At the canter though, I relaxed and loosened the death grip I had with my legs and was actually comfortable. Marcel had his ears forward and seemed to be enjoying himself! Things were really looking up. Riding my sidesaddle with a willing horse was awesome!"