We got to try riding a Tennessee Walking Horse! One of the 4-H parents (Mrs. B) has two that she shows. Kat and Casey have been riding them for a while, but she'd like more people to ride them, so she invited us!
She has two TWH's, Scarlet (Addicted To Johnny), and Pistol (Escape The Fate). Scarlet is the more advanced horse that Kat has shown before, and Pistol is Scarlet's half sister. She's 4 years old, and she's a Left-brained Extrovert (became introverted when I got on her). Mrs. B said that both mares were out of a fairly famous stud...but I can't for the life of me remember what his name was. Started with a C....
We got to ride Pistol. Mrs. B had Kat demonstrate the three basic gaits for us, and then I hopped on. The three gaits that we learned about are:
-Dog walk (natural walk)
-Flat walk (a step up, two beats, I think)
-Running walk (a step up from the flat walk, three beats)
The trick was realizing that on TW's, the rider is not really judged. So a lot of TW riders slump, slouch, crunch up, pull their arms in, look really ugly, etc. I couldn't get the Flat walk until I brought my shoulders forward and pulled Pistol's nose in, and brought my hands down to her shoulders. After I got that, it was easy.
I was in a western saddle, and the lovely squeakiness of it told me the difference between the flat and running walks. When I was doing a flat walk, the saddle would squeak twice, and when I was doing a running walk, it would squeak three times. The ride was so smooth! And after I got her into the right gait, I could sit a little taller, so it looked a little nicer. I still had to keep my hands really low though, which kept my shoulders forward. Still, that's how these horses are trained.
Anyway, I really enjoyed it. It was different, but it was new and fun, and it was easy for me, since I'm used to riding a horse that you had to be very firm with when riding (my lovely Buster!!). Kate had some trouble at first, because she's used to riding very sensitive horses. She kept on asking, and never telling after she had asked. But she got it eventually. It also may have had to do with the fact that Pistol was getting hot and tired.
After we rode, we got to park the horses out. Scarlet is really good at it, and Pistol not as much. But we did get her to do a little bit of a park before we put her away.
Kate and I are hoping that we'll get to teach Pistol some ground manners- because frankly, she has none! She's a Sterling! Mrs. B seemed open to new ideas, but we didn't ask her if we could do Parelli ground work specifically. I know it would do wonders though, and if Mrs. B could see Sterling being worked, I know she would say yes. So, maybe over time, we'll get to do some Parelli with her. :)
Mrs. B said that she would love us to back and ride more, so we're going to schedule another day.
As far as possibly getting Tulsa goes...we've started school. I don't have a crazy amount scheduled, which is good. All this week, I've been doing this GED orientation class at the college, and for the next two weeks, Kate and I will be house sitting for the Wilson's while they're in New Zealand. So it will be a while before anything happens.