Sunday, October 25, 2009

On a horse for the first time in 32 years

Before Vizslas and pointing breed field trials, my exposure to horses was almost nil. 35 years ago, I used to go out to the local stables around where I grew up and for $5 per hour I could go out and ride someone's horse for two or three hours at a time. So when I was 19 to 21 I did this on many weekends.

But now that Bailey will be doing more field trials where I will need to be on horseback it was time to "re-learn" how to ride and Bailey had to learn how to "find" me way up on the horse.

This morning I made the trip 80 miles east and visited with my friends, Janet and Ken, on their ranch. We had arranged for me to ride "Kona", their new Tennessee Walker, out in the fields where Bailey could run and learn to run out in front of me on horse.

It was interesting. First I didn't adjust the stirrups short enough and found out that when Kona trotted I bounced around and almost off a couple times. The hour on Kona after the adjustments was delightful.

When Bailey went out with me on horseback he started out confused. Slowly he found me and accepted that the horse and I were not one in the same.

Then we came across the jack rabbit. This was Bailey's first jack rabbit.
He ran after that rabbit faster than I have ever seen him run.
I could have used the training collar to stop Bailey from chasing the rabbit, but Ken and I agreed that we wanted the horse field time to be completely positive, so we let him head out after the very fast rabbit.

At the 1/4 mile mark the rabbit started to pull away. At 1/2 mile the rabbit had gained 100 feet on Bailey and they were going through the third field. At the 3/4 mile mark we had no idea where Bailey was. He had chased after the rabbit into some cover.

He reappeared about a 1/2 mile away and at an all out run back toward us. He had been out of sight for about five minutes.

I was as happy to see him as I think he was to see me.

We cooled Bailey off with water as he was completely spent.

We rode slowly back toward the barn as Bailey started to range out in front of me.

A great day with friends. I can't express how appreciative I am to them for helping me out.

Bailey and I have so much more to learn about field trialing.

Now it is getting ready to head off this Friday afternoon to a field trial 120 miles south of here.

I'll be on horseback as Bailey runs the fields. At least I know Bailey will be more comfortable seeing me on top of these strange animals.


John Connelly said...

Rod, I'm envious of you being able to "ride to hound" like this - not an option over here in UK unfortunately!

Radar Red Dog said...

Hi Rod...we did manage to go for a two wheeled horse (i.e. bike!) ride at the weekend...unfortunately the videos upside down...doh!
Juliet (John's other half!)

Andrew Campbell said...

Be Careful, Rod! It's a quick, slippery slope once you get on a horse. Am off to Virginia tomorrow to spend the week watching the Vizsla Nationals -- a year ago our Mr. Enthusiasm had won his first ribbon, a year later and I am scouting for a dog running in the National Amateur Field Championship. Whooooooweeee!


Rod Michaelson said...


I really enjoy your posts and if it is a slippery slope then all the better for skiing!

Have a great time at the Nationals and post lots of great pictures and stories.

Taking off tomorrow at noon (motor home is all packed up) for the field trial.

Haven't seen blue yet if I can just not fall off Saturday and Bailey finds a bird then that will be a success.