No. I have not changed teams. Yes. I am still married to Mr. W. But...he does become a bit...pampered? Demanding? Perfectionist? When he is in the barn.
And he is in the barn a lot more these days due to the arrival of his horse-a two-year old Morgan filly. Add to the adventure is a leased older mare for him to ride while we (I) train the youngster.
I have to say, they are great additions to the barn. Gil, the bucking bronc is doing his best tryout as a teaser stallion. And, I have to say, he is excelling at it. He could have a future job. I digress.
At first, Mr. W. was apprehensive about the mare. Not the filly. He was excited about the filly. However, he was worried that the mare, being older might be an "old nag." Right. I know the breeder. She has wonderful horses and both of these girls are wonderfully perfect.
Icey, the youngster, is intelligent and affectionate. She hasn't done much in her short life, but judging from the way she marched onto the trailer to get here (she'd never seen one before) I'd say she's something special. I admit to a wee bit of bias there.
Enter Velvet, the "old nag." Cough. Cough. She has a heart of gold, a spring in her step and a happy gleam in her eye, not to mention a crush on Gil right now. My first ride on Velvet proved that she was more than enough horse for Mr. W.- she marched right out to the ring, picked up her paces on cue and when we strolled around the fields, she stepped out like she owned the place.
Which leads me to today, when I finally pestered Mr. W. enough to finally throw a leg over the saddle; when I learned that I had married a barn princess.
Step one: Arrive at the barn. Feed the girls, bring in the boys(they are on night turnout), pick stalls, throw hay, fill water, and start to set out the tack while the horses digest breakfast.
Step two: Get ready to ride. I squeezed my legs into chaps that barely fit(they are a legacy from a skinnier time- I'm doing my best to stretch them to my current dimensions). Meanwhile, Mr. W. asked where his were.
He does have custom chaps, but he hasn't tried his on since before most middle-school children were born. I don't even think he knows where they are. I offered him a nearly new set of half-chaps. He put them on.
"They're too long! I can't bend my knees. I can't ride if I can't bend my knees."
Obviously, he has never had to break in a brand new pair of field boots, had the pleasure of trying to ride as the circulation in your lower leg is cut off by the inflexible leather biting through the back of your knee, while you pray the ankle breaks down quickly...
Mind you he was complaining while in a half-squat- almost perfect riding position. But he wasn't comfortable. So...I offered to wrap his lower legs in polo wraps. The look on his face said it all.
He was going to have to ride without chaps.
Step three: Helmets. He put his on and fumbled with the chinstrap. I had borrowed his helmet to give pony rides to a few children. Perhaps the strap was a bit tight. I don't think that warrented the choking noises. It wasn't that tight. He didn't turn blue, after all. I loosened it.
Step four: "Are you sure this is the right saddle pad?"
"Is this girth too long?"
"This is the bridle you used on her last time, right?"
"These strap keepers are really tight!"
I was starting to doubt his enthusiasm.
Step five: We brought our horses out to the mounting block. I told him to go first, so I could give him a hand if he needed. I also warned him that Velvet was, perhaps built differently than some of the horses he'd ridden the last few decades. She's definitely not fat, but her natural build is...well, a bit rounder. I suggested he check his girth before mounting.
"I have ridden before, you know."
Yes. I know. We rode together last year a couple of times. How soon I forget.
Step six: Tighten girth. Go to mounting block. Position horse. Curse as she steps slightly away. Get off mounting block. Tell horsey to stay. Repeat. "Whoa!" Repeat until horsey stays. Put foot in the stirrup.
Step seven: Whine about his severely tilted saddle. "Now what do I do?" (I was laughing too hard to answer.) Get off severly tilted saddle. Curse loudly.
"I told you the girth was too long."
"Now I have to undo everything and put it back to the center!" He didn't fall to the ground and kick and yell like a toddler, but it seemed close.
Tucker and I headed back into the barn. I tied up his reins and threatened him with bodily harm if he even thought of rolling with my saddle on.
Step eight: Straighten saddle. Adjust stirrup length and hold opposite stirrup as Mr. W. swings his leg over. Check girth and stirrups.
Okay. I did ask him if he wanted me to get a rope and lead him out to the ring, too. He politely declined my offer by squeezing his legs on Velvet's sides and sauntering away.
I ran back and retrieved Tucker, mounted up and met Mr. W. in the ring. We proceeded to have an incredibly relaxing ride around the hay fields. It was perfect.
We're just going to have to get him some chaps that fit. And a personal groom.
*This post was suggested by Mr. W. himself- "You mean you are not going to write about today??"