I last wrote about Ruby, a 9-year-old Standardbred mare who has come to learn how to be a saddle horse. Ruby was brilliant on the track, winning over 50% of her races, making her a statistical superstar. Then she went off to be a brood mare for a few years.
And now? Well....if she could talk, I think she'd be a little like Dororthy in the "Wizard of Oz," when she says, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."
The first day we put a saddle on her, Ruby didn't seem to think too much of it. Best Husband in the World got right on. Although Ruby at first seemed not to know how to walk with someone atop, she figured it out quickly. That first day we stayed in the round pen.
The second day, I rode Ruby while my young friend, Megan, rode my horse, Scarlett. Since we were going to take a mile walk down the road, I thought Ruby could use Scarlett as a lead horse and confidence builder.
I guess I should have asked Ruby's opionion on that, because she instantly took the lead, boldly walking out and leaving Megan and Scarlett to continuially have to trot to keep up.
On Ruby's third day under saddle, I took her alone to Cronan Ranch, 2500 acres of paradise just a 10 minute ride from the barn. Ruby loved it. And again, I experienced her amazing, ground-gobbling walk. This horse has the most comfortable and speedy walk I've ever known!
The only thing Ruby wasn't too excited about was the American River. The sound of the water rushing by--and then seeing it--scared her a little. What I loved is that she didn't turn and bolt the way my thoroughbreds did. She just stared and blew startled snorts out of her wide nostrils.
I was actually able to get her next to the water. To get her in the water, we're going to have to call on water girl Scarlett for guidance.
Ruby learning to trot in side reins
Ruby at the big, scary American River