We have been riding in a big outdoor arena a lot this past summer. I love arena riding, but it can get a bit routine. Over the poles, open the gate, turn in the box, cross the bridge, lope in circles, both directions, etc etc etc. That sounds like fun to me, and it is. But that's not the point.
Trail riding is fun. It offers new surroundings and obstacles. It's my favorite type of ride, for so many reasons. It's a different kind of fun. The kind we didn't do enough of this summer.
I didn't really realize what riding for fun does for me, until I heard "You guys are so fun to watch ride. I'm always trying to figure out what you are doing". It made me think...what makes a ride fun?
Like most everything, fun is subjective. It doesn't have to involve riding. Unless you are having one of "those" bad rides, riding in general is fun. It's all in the approach. Mixing things up. But fun is not about doing, it's about being in the moment. Just riding. Having fun! Playing with your horses, so they are having fun too. Not thinking about XYZ. Forgetting about what lead you are on, or if your horse is straight, if they are doing whatever right, or what direction you are going next, or the all too familiar "what if ". Because, when you just ride, and are having fun, you ride naturally. You don't think about any of the above. That's my point. Natural riding is fun.
Lately, most of our rides have included "playing cow". We just let it happen. One of us simply wants to fun it up, and begins. We might see the other taking a break, and proceed to circle, or walking and offer up a drive. No words exchanged. It's easy to tell if it's not good timing. If it's not, whichever one of us will just mosey on our way. We don't even take turns, or we might. We typically keep it short. Just depends. Nothing is planned. We don't always play. But when we do, it's just for fun!
Brad & Nemo usually outsmart us, both are bolder and Nemo is faster. But guess what? Last Sunday Koda & I both realized something. We've got one thing they don't...it's called WHOA...and we all crack up laughing, every single time! No dumb cow here.
Last Sunday we blew up our big soccer ball. I can't remember the last time we played with it? I forgot how fun, and unpredictable a rolling ball is. Especially when there are obstacles all over the arena. Koda loves to play ball! Nemo is too dignified, but once in a while he joins in the fun too. We had a beeeautiful warm sunny Fall day. The kind you want to bottle. This is how Koda acknowledged the ball for the first time...
|Koda falling sleep|
...I couldn't believe it. My horse hasn't seen a ball in forever. He walks over, promptly rests his chin on it, and begins slowly closing his eyes. Once Nemo saw Koda falling asleep on the ball, he decided to check it out...
|Are you sure this is for sleeping?|
|You know this thing rolls, right?|
We had another great ride, mixing it up. We worked with poles, turns, played with the ball, loped, rode over the wooden pallet, played cow, and just had a day full of plain ol' fun riding and being together!!
When I put Koda back in the pasture, I got this...
|What about ME?!|
We haven't really played many riding games with Cierra, yet. She is still pretty young. But when we do, I know she is going to have fun too!!
What do you do for fun with your horses??