Roping Practice Wednesday

At home, waiting to be loaded:

Hudson is smiling.  This is a huge smile for Hudson, Master of Understatement.

Dinero is catching some Zzzz’s.

It was  hotter than blazes all day. Which meant a most excellent evening in the hills: T-shirt warm, and not too hot to rope, um, spectate. It probably was hot if you were hurtling after a steer.

Hudson was overjoyed to lose the two pound dressage saddle (?!?), and feel the heft of a sixty pound roping saddle.  (He’s such a guy.)

Once a cow horse, always a cow horse. He doesn’t understand he’s awesome in dressage.

Below, A rare photo of Hudson with his ears forward. Note: his attention is fixed on the arena gate.

The roping arena: it’s level, the footing is light and fast, and it’s HUGE. Think football field. It may be my favorite arena ever.  It’s certainly Hudson’s. We rode with Trixie and Bella before practice while they warmed up.

I had the best dressage ride ever: round, forward, relaxed, on the bit…he was so light in the bridle that holding his mouth was like holding a sheet of paper. At every gait. Wonderful leg yields, nice turn on the haunches, perfect in every way.  Luckily, on roping saddles, the stirrups are not set as far forward as other western saddles.

Big arena, room to gallop: I let him go. To my surprise, he merely stretched out, relaxed, and cantered on. He was humming with happiness. Only minor blip: acceptable. Jigging near the box…

My laugh of the day: technically, I know how to hold split reins. I’m good as long as I don’t have to move. Unfortunately, at some point while riding, you have to move? It seems to be part of the deal. (I ride the halt at Olympic level, if I do say so myself.) I appeared to be hauling up or dropping anchor every time I adjusted rein length. Hudson didn’t care. At all. That’s how happy he was.

Bella and Dinero in the box:

It’s quite possibly the most beautiful ranch I’ve ever seen.  The box is shaded by old trees, the late afternoon light filters down, and everything glows.

So. Here’s the thing:

  • I had a blast
  • Hudson had a blast
  • We were still doing what I love
  • I have no interest in showing dressage
  • The whole atmosphere is relaxed, inclusive, and welcoming
  • I felt no need to be perfect
  • Just because Hudson can DO dressage doesn’t mean he likes it

Maybe I should consider…?

Bella generously said, of her extra roping saddle: “If you can lift it, you can borrow it!”

I’ll just be the one down at the barn, doing dead lift saddle reps…

and one and two and three and four and….make those biceps burn!

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14 thoughts on “Roping Practice Wednesday

  1. Marissa

    Sounds awesome! And I have to say, despite what Hudson says about dressage, it is doing wonders for his figure! The first thing I said when I saw the second picture was ” Look at that BUTT!” He was always a good-looking horse, but he looks amazing right now. So maybe he can learn to appreciate the dressage as a manly workout, of sorts.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      He does have a remarkable and eminently huggable engine! Now that you point it out, I can see it.

      I’ve noticed the change is in his neck, slightly more muscle up top, now that round is always in the program? (Not possible to always be in the program in roping) Where we each need to go: abs, abs, abs. That’s what’s gonna give him a long and happy life – his back is slightly long: good abs on an older horse mean everything. 😉 He’s got the rear end to build the abs, so that’s our next fitness goal. I’m afraid he’s lost some of the great abs he came with, under my care. ACK.

      Reply
  2. Tullae

    I’m not sure how heavy a pound is, but I had an old Sydd Hill stock saddle (1930 it was made) that weighed 22 kilograms.

    {Jane: Sorry, I had to remove link you included. I clicked on it to see the saddles, and it opened up 4 porn sites along with the real site. Looks like a hacker issue, possibly on the Sydd Hill site…I couldn’t X out fast enough.}

    it took me to Wood & steel tree and about 2 cows worth of leather, old-school horse hair stuffing. Best breaking-in saddle ever. A young horse knew it was there and could practice moving while balancing a weight on its back before you even put a rider up there. Pretty good on the trail and for stock work too. These modern plastic all purpose and dressage saddles are great, but I get very nostalgic for that old stock saddle. I lent it to someone who disappeared with it. Sad.

    Ah – the interwebs tells me that 22kg is about 50 pounds.

    Reply
  3. Aarenex

    My endurance saddle (including packs + waterbottles) probably weighs 12 pounds. Not sure I wanna rope anything from it, also, it lacks a tying-up-thingy (bollard???!) for ropes to get looped on.

    Just…please….a helmet….

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      For me, always a helmet. 🙂 I don’t have the coordination (or desire – yet anyway) to rope. I’ll be sticking in the dressage saddle for awhile for sure. My knees didn’t care for the tension involved in keeping the stirrups correct – the fenders sort of wanted the stirrups flat. Don’t really have that going on with leathers. But interesting to find I’m quite corruptible. Who knew?

      Reply
      1. Carolyn M

        Sounds like the stirrups need twisted and wrapped on the rope saddle. My hubby does that with all our rope and my barrel saddles. Really releases the fender so your knee isn’t getting pulled/twisted while you ride.

        Love the picture of Bella in the box. Nice set up!!

        Reply
        1. theliteraryhorse Post author

          When I was younger, all I had access to were western saddles. I learned to clean them oil the crap out of them, and always store them with a broom handle through the stirrups, to get the fender bender (sorry, couldn’t resist!). Does anyone still do that?

          Reply
        2. JC Dill

          Here’s how to turn the stirrup fenders:

          http://www.cowboyway.com/HowTo/TurnStirrups.htm

          http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/turning-stirrups-western-saddles.html

          (for option #3, make sure that’s OK with the person who owns the saddle!)

          You can also buy an adapter (usually called a “turner” but they go by other names too) that will rotate the stirrup to face your leg while the fender lies flat. You can easily add this to the stirrups on a borrowed saddle and remove them later – it’s just an adapter, it doesn’t damage the saddle in any way.

          http://www.google.com/search?q=western+stirrup+turners

          Reply
  4. funder

    Cowboy dressage incoming!

    My first horse came with a roping saddle. I think I plopped that thing on his back every day for a whole week before I traded it out for a cordura trail saddle. Don’t they make *cordura* roping saddles? Ahh well, it’s good for you 😉

    Reply
  5. EvenSong

    I think my Hereford was about 40-45 pounds, and I had to give it up due to rotator cuff issues and the fact that both Kate and Maddie were too BROAD! The Tucker, at 24-ish, is better, but every so often I use the Prix de St. George and it seems as light as a feather!
    Glad to hear that you had as much fun as Hudson did.

    Reply

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