On a whim, I decided to go for a quick ride on my retired mare. Having to catch up to the other riders already on trail, I threw on my helmet, a halter bridle and proceeded saddle-less. My stiff mare was feeling quite limber and (breaking all rules) I pushed her into a jog as soon as I got on. Sheylan (my mare) was all business.
I bobbled along bareback down the driveway, to the back hill which leads to the creek where the other riders were waiting. I steadied her into a walk at the hill, but halfway down, a walk just wasn't going to cut it for Shey and she went into her trot again. Did I mention it was slightly muddy, I was bareback and going down a hill?? (again with the breaking of all rules - hey, you gotta have a little fun on the retired one's, right?) I felt like the man from snowy river, galloping down the steep ridge. Well, I wasn't galloping, and though the hill is steep, it probably wasn't as dangerous - my horse can maneuver down anything if you give her her head. Despite that I sure felt like I was going to go "over the handlebars" as my fiance would put it. Squealing all the way down, I sat back as far as I could and "rode it out". I survived.
We joined the others and set out in a swift trot around the meadow. The more we trotted, the faster we were getting (yes, I was leading) and the more I began to realize I had very little control with the halter bridle (why the heck did I put that thing on anyways??). We switched to the back of the line when one of the other horses decided that being nudged forward to catch up meant leap forward on all fours, buck down a slight hill and then buck all the way up it (wow, I wish I could creatively write how funny it was to watch the rider's eyes scream "OH MY GOD" whilst her mouth formed a slight smile as she got him back under control).
I decided enough of the shanannagans, I gotta get this beast under control before the other riders never ask me to ride with them again. Well, a little too late I guess, as I took up my reins, sat a little deeper, Sheylan took full advantage of the small hill in front of us and squealed (that's my warning bell), bolted forward and bucked all the way down the hill. Again I found myself in the same predicament going much faster than I preferred downhill. I do know enough to keep her head up, but unfortunately the halter bridle was no such help. Her head was so low to the ground I thought this was it, over the handlebars I go. Well, if I wasn't gifted with coordination I was gifted with supreme balance - I have survived spooks like you wouldn't believe. My wonderful center of gravity saved me and I stayed right on her back the entire way down until I finally managed to pull her head up at the bottom. I was having too much fun to tune her in... and burst into laughter as did my fellow riders. Nothing makes me smile more than when my horse feels good enough to grace me with a few happy bucks :)