Archive for January, 2007

slow and steady

Well, I didn’t have any near death experiences last night, so that’s an improvement!!!

Win was still not quite right, but we decided I should get on and try to get him to stretch and relax under saddle. Surprisingly enough, it was probably the best stretching and walk work we’ve had out of him yet.

And while my hip hasn’t quite popped back into place yet, Shelby said she REALLY liked how that leg was looking, and how steady my heel was (in other words, since I was protecting my hip by NOT MOVING ANYTHING – I was also not cheating and lifting my heel to use the leg). And SURPRISE of surprises…Win still responded to the leg!! Sheesh…

The downside to last night was that lessons were double booked and running late, so I couldn’t work my baby 😦


January 30, 2007 at 11:36 pm Leave a comment

rip barbaro

I’ve got to tell you, I’m surprised by how hard this is hitting me. I shouldn’t be.

Ever since last spring, there have been some very strange parallels between Barbaro and Kai’s comfort levels. I’d have a great ride on Kai and come home to read Barbaro took some steps. I’d go to the barn to find Kai off and then read Barbaro had some complications. Or I’d read Barbaro was having a bad day and then go out to the barn to find Kai was as well. They certainly didn’t have ANY similiar medical issues, but the parallels between good and bad days, the significant days and the “wait and see” days, were uncanny.

The day after Kai crossed the rainbow bridge, Barbaro had his worst day in months. I thought for sure that was it, it MUST be it… but then he started doing okay. I found myself no longer checking for Barbaro updates, because they made me sad. I was SO happy he was doing consistently well, but I could no longer bear to read about it.

And now, here I am, feeling like I’ve lost my old man all over again. It’s ridiculous, I know.

Gospeed Barbaro….go run a couple lengths across the rainbow bridge with my old man. He’d like that.

January 29, 2007 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

sick of the crazy horse weather…

Or maybe I’m just in a slump…

I was asked to be a hunt seat demo rider in a clinic on functional equitation (to consist of one hunt seat, one dressage, and one western rider – each demonstrating correct equitation for their individual discipline, while the clinician gave some history on WHY the disciplines have different styles. It was geared for 4H-ers, pony-clubbers and the like). By default, I was supposed to be riding the Stupid Pony. Not exactly a hunter, but whatever. He was his normal self in the cross ties, but I just had a feeling it was going to be CRAZY HORSE WEATHER, so for some strange reason I decided to lunge him first.

Back up – this is a school pony. A LAZY school pony. He may have a burst of energy at the beginning, but that lasts for five minutes at the most. He does up-down lessons and not much else. Oh, and he does up-down lessons – so while he may protest with a little buck when I ask him to ACTUALLY work, he’s generally a very good and well behaved pony.

I had bearly clipped the lunge line to him when he barreled off. I just managed to hold on to the end as he proceeded to buck and gallop madly around me. The dozen or so people already there stood watching with open mouths. Most of them knew and had ridden this pony before, and couldnt’ believe the display he was putting on. It took more than 20 minutes before he was easily walking, trotting and cantering immediately on cue. But he was still spooking in every corner.

Oh look, the clinic is starting. Time to get on. Sure, sign me up what is my DEAL this week?). He wasn’t BAD, but he sure wasn’t good either. Tried to run off a couple times, spooked at least three times, let out a couple more bucks, and FINALLY ran out of energy as the clinic ended. Good grief. And really helping things was that the horse in the arena (the western rider backed out!) was behaving just as well.

Then I bring in my little girl. I had already decided I wasn’t even going to try and get on her again. For one, she commands attention, and I wasn’t ready to try it with an audience. I’m not particularly graceful, you see 😉 And secondly, as I had already determined, it was CRAZY HORSE WEATHER!

Sure enough, I let her loose to free lunge and she’s got the “Arab-head toss” thing going on, she’s leaping and snorting and flying all over the place. At one point I hear, “Wow, she’s got a LOT more energy than OUR haflingers!” Yeah, she’s got a lot more energy than MOST haflingers!! She worked for a while, and I had to keep doing direction changes, but she never really did work it all out of her system. I went to halter lunge her and she reminded me immediately why I never try THAT without either a shank or a rope halter. We spent twenty minutes working on “walk” and “whoa.”

She did steal the show though – half the clinic auditors stuck around just to watch her 🙂 That’s my show girl!!

So then I pull out Win. I was NOT going to ride. My hip hurt, I was tired, and I was COLD. He needed to work a little and stretch his legs, but I wasn’t going to ride. So I start lunging him and he’s being GREAT. Slow and steady and just GREAT. So now I want to ride 😉 I’ve got my new saddle, and I felt like I hadn’t ridden for me – for no good reason – in a while, by now the barn was empty, and he was being good, so I wanted to RIDE!!

Tack him up, marvel at how well that saddle fits him (MUCH better than it fits Snow right now, really), and climb on. We’re walking, and I’m loving my saddle, and he’s feeling pretty good and forward, and I’m laughing at how my knee is sticking out sideways where my hip is so tight…and all of a sudden the barn owner comes flying down to the barn in his truck and suddenly stops at the open door we had not quite passed and Win was GONE.

Dangit!! Not again!! Hand to hip, around we go, thanks for stopping Win. Give him a pat and we walk on. Barn owner lets one of the sliding steel doors fly, and Win is gone again. You know, I’m getting quite good at this whole sit back and bring the head around thing. But I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to have to do it a lot?!? Seriously! Win is good, and I’ll give him credit for stopping right away, again. But by now I’ve decided to get down before I end up killing two helmets in one week. Fortunately, he was stopped for this part and both feet left the stirrups when I told them too 😉

Look out – it’s CRAZY HORSE WEATHER!!!

January 28, 2007 at 1:08 pm 2 comments


Yes, yesterday was definitely another D-day. And I’m sure it will have an equal and lasting impact on the rest of the world 😉

Thursday night when I’m headed home my mom tells me that some BIG box had been delivered for me!! MY SADDLE MY SADDLE MY SADDLE!!!! Woohoo!! When I finally made it home I hurried for a pair of scissors to tear into a BIG ol’ box. I’m pretty sure I could have fit all of me in that box. Anyhow….my saddle was inside!! Along with a very pretty embroidered Custom Saddley cover. I ran downstairs and put it on my saddle stand, sat it in, and – yep, it was just as wonderful as I’d remembered. A bit pommel high, but my saddle stand is very uphill 😉

I had long ago decided that I was a) going to sit on Snow for the first time in this saddle; and b) she was going to be the first horse I rode in this saddle. Snow was more than ready for this step. AND I really want to ride Win in this saddle too (because strangely enough it fits BOTH of them very well!). That only left one thing to do…

I was supposed to have a lesson last night, but it was cancelled. That meant I had all the time in the world and the entire arena to myself. The horses were all in and munching hay, and all the doors were closed for the night. Definitely a good, distraction-free, start! I spent FOREVER getting everything gathered up. I had to get my leathers and irons off of my mom’s saddle and put them on my saddle. I had to find the shortest girth in the barn. I had to put a bridle together (I’ve just been using a bit hanger, not an entire bridle). I had to find my back up helmet since I killed my regular one on Tuesday 😉 Oh, and then I had to see how my silly filly was feeling. I made sure to tell myself that if she was having one of her more belligerent days then I wasn’t going to force the issue. I was anxious to ride in my saddle, but not at the expense of my life or her training.

I usually give her ten to fifteen minutes of run around time in the arena first (the pastures are solid ice so the horses aren’t moving much, even though they’re turned out all day). She sort of wandered at the walk, so I grabbed a whip and set out to make her move. I got a very cute western jog 🙂 I finally got her to canter a little bit, had her go the other way, and she still wasn’t moving out a ton. She usually tears right around for this, but I was getting nothing.

So I figured if she didn’t have anything to work out of her system, then we should move on. I put on the bridle (which she was great for! A little confused at the noseband, but fine!) and lunged her a little bit. She was great. Not overflowing with energy, but great. It was about then that I started thinking that maybe I actually WOULD get on her, since I didn’t really want her overflowing with energy for that moment!

I moved her into the cross ties and tacked her up. Yep, the saddle fit just as well as I thought it would. She doesn’t exactly HAVE any back muscles, so it’s not a great fit along either side of her spine, but the shape is definitely right, and a fitter will easily be able to adjust it to her. It’s still VERY close to a perfect fit, and in the mean time, she looks awfully cute with a little fleeceworks half pad 🙂 Oh, and that 20″ girth that was so hard to find is on the top hole on one billet and the second from the top on the other side. It’s also halfway under the flap like that, not just below the edge of the pad as I’d like. So she needs what – a 12″ girth?? Does anybody know if Albion or the like will custom make a girth?

I lunged her again after she was tacked, and she was great again. So I stopped her and grabbed the mounting block. We played some games with the mounting block, and then I started swinging it all around, and she didn’t care. I stomped on it – no reaction. I stepped on it and jumped up and down – no reaction. From the top of the mounting block I banged on the top of the saddle (on her back) – no reaction. I smacked the stirrup leathers against the flap – no reaction. I reached over and messed with her off side – she looked at me wondering how I got over there, but no reaction. The whole time she WAS paying attention to me, but she just wasn’t bothered by the commotion.

I leaned over the saddle on my stomach and gradually increased the weight on her back until I was no longer on the mounting block. She wasn’t bothered at all. It took a LOT of coaxing, but I was finally able to get her take a step forward. When she did, I got down and told her JUST how awesome she was!! We tried it again, but this time the only movement I could get out of her was to turn around and try to eat the mounting block. I guess that’s better than backing up or having a bad or scared reaction!! We tried several more times and I just couldn’t get her to connect forward with the cue coming from me on her back, so I decided to wait until I had help on the ground.

But if she really wasn’t going to move, then maybe I could do a bit more on her back…. 😉

I brought her back around to the mounting block and started playing with the stirrups again. Still no reaction. I put my foot in the stirrup and went to standing. I JUMPED in the stirrup. I used the stirrup to go to the leaning over position I was in before. I had done most of this several times before, but it was good to know she was still fine. So I put my foot in the stirrup and swung my other leg over 😀

And then I was sitting on my pony!!! And she was fine!! (even better – we were BOTH fine! I didn’t die either!!). She started looking for the hay that she’s so sure we hide in the arena footing. I gave a tug on her lead rope and she picked her head up. She KNEW I was up there. And she still wasn’t bothered. I gave her a pat and dismounted before one of us panicked 🙂 I then ran to her face, planted a kiss on her nose, and almost burst into proud and happy tears (my filly thinks I’m a lunatic!).

She even continued to finish the night off well and stood perfectly in the cross ties while I untacked and reblanketed her. I tested walking away a little bit, and she got a little concerned when I left her view, but continued to stand well. I put her back in her stall and then gave her something like a dozen sugar cubes (Win got a couple too, since he was jealous). I’m so, SO, proud!! I SAT ON MY PONY!!!

January 27, 2007 at 10:21 am 1 comment

more on the saddle saga…

Have I mentioned I don’t have my wonderful saddle yet? Okay, have I mentioned that I DID in fact decide to buy the saddle, and sent out the money for it as soon as I had my financial aid refund check (don’t tell the financial aid department I use their money to buy tack!). Anyhow…I mailed that out end of December. And I don’t exactly have thousands of dollars to give away. And then I hadn’t heard from the owner of the saddle, so I started to panic. Anyhow….MY SADDLE IS COMING!!!

Let’s all watch it arrive: 1Z4AW8840332087215 at UPS 🙂

Also, for those who haven’t read it yet, I added my Chicago story as a new page. It deserves it’s own page, as it’s a pretty spectacular story 🙂

January 24, 2007 at 9:44 am 2 comments

anybody have any motrin?

And now…the latest in IronBessFlint’s horse adventures. Since I’m sure most of the people reading this haven’t heard about my trip to Chicago, OR my trip to Paxton, I’ll fill you in a bit. I can never have any “minor” disasters. Things either go great (like the time I rode a green horse who had never been off the farm in MSU’s Homecoming parade and he did better than the seasoned parade horses) or REALLY freaking wrong (like the time they tried to cart me away from Youth Team Championships at Paxton in an ambulance). The Chicago one is still my favorite. Anyhow…on with the latest tale…

My trainer’s husband lost his job, so to help make ends meet my trainer decided to take on a part time day job that actually pays real money (as opposed to the fake money she gets paid training horses 😛 ). Yesterday she took her drug test, was officially offered the position, and was told to start training for the new job at 8am this morning. Great. Except that she was supposed to show a horse to somebody from several hours away this morning. She called me in a panic last night to see if I could show the horse for her. I have about a two hour block between taking my mom to PT and and when I need to leave for an exam 70 miles away, but sure, I’ll show the horse for you…hehe

We decided though that it would be a good idea if I rode said horse last night, since I had only actually been on her once before. Bottom line is that she rides just like a younger greener version of my old Kai-man. A bit squirrelly with the steering still, but just about the same horse. SUPER sensitive – (iow, don’t use your leg or the reins), but sensible. You can put the horse together and she’s great – off the leg, into the bridle, and in a very nice training level frame. Or you can let her plunk around on the buckle and she’s fine. Not a pretty picture, but totally a saint of a horse. They’re both chestnut thoroughbreds, by the way. Only the one I’m supposed to show is a mare, and also only about four months under saddle. (Any red flags for people yet?? None for me!).

Her routine is simple. Bring her in, take her blankets off, but brushing boots on, and let her loose in the arena. She’ll tear around like an idiot for five or ten minutes, then you tack her up, and you’re good to ride. She’s great. Had a great ride last night, and she was just as much like my old guy as I remember from the ONE time I had ridden her previously.

This morning –
7:30 wake up, put on breeches, wake my mom up, start car, find my show boots and helmet so I look presentable, help mom to car, take mom to PT.
9:00 she’s done with PT, stop for coffee, drop mom off, fly out to barn.

My trainer was supposed to call me when these people were on their way. They were staying at a hotel an hour and a half away, planned to leave about 8:15 or 8:30. By 9:45 we still hadn’t heard from them. I HAVE to be out of the barn by 12:30. SO, we figure that I’m probably off the hook – if they left right then at 10, they’d only have a couple minutes to see anything. They had to check out of their hotel by 11, and if they left then they wouldn’t get to the barn until I needed to leave. So, I’m at the barn anyhow, I decide to work my pony.

She was great, but then I started to get a little shakey and light headed. I think my blood sugar dropped and I just needed some food. So, I stop working her and (as it’s now 11 and I haven’t heard anything), decide to turn her back out and go get some food. I’m just turning her out when my phone rings.

Trainer: “Are they there yet?”
Me: “No…..”
Trainer: “Well, I heard from them. They’re on 127 and should be there any minute”
Me: “Um, okay…..”
Trainer: “So, I guess just bring her in now and get as far as you can, if they don’t see as much as they’d like it’s their problem for being two hours late”
Me: “Okay…”

I bring the mare in, and am I just taking her blankets off when they walk in. I chat with them a bit, and start free lunging her. She’s tearing around, I get the inevitable, “is she off the track?” and after a while they say that I could probably trot her now, they don’t want to get her too sweaty. It takes me several laps to stop her, and I go to lunge her with side reins first to get her thinking about working and not so much the tearing around like an idiot.

She continues to tear around like an idiot. I get her to trot for about three strides before she breaks back into a canter. I FINALLY get her to steadily trot, and then go to hop on.

We’re walking around on the buckle and I’m talking to the people and she’s great. Feels better than she did last night, didn’t bat an eye when we rode through a flock of birds…just great. And then she starts in with that jiggy I want to trot sort of walk. I’m sitting there trying to relax her a bit, and we’re going back and forth between jig and walk and jig and walk, and finally I decide to just let her trot out.

Well she’s trotting alright. Booking right along. I go to put her on a circle to help control her a bit, give her some support, and she’s just flying right around (of course, not bent or anything, so we’re pretty sideways too). I’m slowing the posting and all of that, talking, half halts, the whole deal, and she finally just busts into a canter on me.

We rounded the half of the circle that was on the wall, reached the open arena, she let out one heck of a buck and then took off the other way. I stayed with her no problem, sat back, and finally got her stopped in a corner. The two people there to see her ask if I’m okay, and as soon as I say yes the mare is gone again.

We are just a-flying around, only now she’s made her way to a long side where she sprints, hits a corner, spins, goes the other way, and throws a big buck in on the long side…over and over. I’ve got one foot in a stirrup, one not. I’m sitting back, trying to turn her head to the wall. The two women are great – both position themselves near corners in a way that would hopefully slow the mare down without sending her flying the other way. Also didn’t work.

Finally one of the bucks sends me off. Except my one foot that was still in a stirrup…is still in the stirrup. %$#@*&!

I’m going to interject here to fill you all in on my history of falling off.
Times hitting the dirt include
1) Coming off of Cheyenne, which still doesn’t count (I had no feet in the stirrups, no hands on the reins, and was just watching another horse charge at us because she was pretty…). It did however, break my shoulder, so I didn’t get back on.
2) The scene at Paxton that resulted in loss of consciousness, so I also didn’t get back on (but I sat out the rodeo and only came off when Kai darted to avoid the dozens of people who decided to “help”)
3) When my old man sommersaulted with me on, I rolled out of his way, got back on to walk around, and ended up retiring him the next week.
My times hitting the dirt do NOT include
1) The project horse of mine who insisted she was much better as a bronc than a western pleasure horse
2) The first time I cantered on my old OTTB, got too far forward, and he carted me up and down the barn aisles and back into the arena before a friend could help stop him for me

That’s it. So, in general, I stick pretty well

So anyhow…I’m now being drug by this mare. I’ve never really been in this situation before (ie – conscious during the whole “falling off” part). I’m well aware of the fact that I’m being drug, that I’m stuck between pounding hind feet and an arena wall, and that my foot is STUCK! I felt my head banging the ground (or the wall) three or four times before my foot finally came loose.

I bounce up and start fixing the now-sideways saddle. The two women are checking furiously to make sure I’m okay. Yep, strangely enough I’m fine. But now I HAVE to get back on this horse. There was something up her butt today, but we could NOT end on that note. The women insist that I at least let them attach a lunge line. Okay, good idea. So I get back on, we’re walking…I can still feel her back hunching up under me, but we’re walking. Make two circles and ALL agree to call that a day.

They chatted with me as I cooled her out, and I’m just cracking up over all of this. I mean, I’m pretty sure it looked HORRIFIC…but I was FINE. Fortunately for me as well, the two women were both very accomplished trainers, who were able to HELP in that situation. Many buyers would have been freaking out an only making things worse, but they were great. They asked how long I had been riding, since I sat out those bucks REALLY well. hehe…strangely enough, I’ve heard that a lot! Both women also thought she was adorable, and loved her. hehe…I love Thoroughbred people!

I called my trainer up after to let her know that I didn’t sell her horse. I proceed to tell her the whole thing, and she’s freaking out on the other end (she likes dumbloods, and I do too…but I do have a soft spot now for the brain-goes-out-the-window TB). “You’re sure you’re fine??” “Yep, I’m great…she was definitely a chestnut Thoroughbred mare today, but I’m good!” “You Thoroughbred people are nuts…”

My mom had told me to call her and let her know how things went, for some some reason I did that too (and didn’t lie)…”You’re sure you okay?” “Yep, I’m fine!” “Really, you’re sure?” “Yep, really. I’m FINE” “I really wish I could drink while on these meds….”

I’m still just lmao about this whole thing though, especially since it was so…Kai-like! Fine one day, and then wooosh – there goes the brain! SO…anybody have some Motrin? I think I’m going to be sore tomorrow!!

January 23, 2007 at 10:03 pm 4 comments

blonde moment

My little girl was having a tough time of things tonight!! All in all she finished GREAT – we moved to double lunging to work towards ground driving, which means for the first time she’s being worked through the bit, and she’s just doing fantastic. But she didn’t start out so well!!

Lately I’ve started free lunging her before any work. It gives her some time to get the kinks and the extra energy out, and then she’s ready to work by the time I try. That has been working out great.

So anyhow, we had just begun free lunging her (just a couple laps around) and as she always does in the same spot she stops and hangs her head over the arena wall (it’s only a four foot high wall). I flick the whip to keep her moving, and she picks her head up, turns, starts to move, and then hangs her head back over the wall. What the heck?? Some how she managed to get caught on a blanket rack on the opposite side of the wall. She did great, stood still while I untangled her, and wasn’t even scared of the horse-eating section of the arena afterwards.

So we’re going again, and she’s made it maybe another lap and a half around when she stops in a corner and tries to dart the other direction. I’m ready for her, and have already raised the whip and blocked the way she’s trying to go. She’s a good girl, drops her head and spins back to the correct direction. Only when she does so, she also slams her head against the wall. THUD. Ouch!! She trots about two steps, stops, and then walks herself to me and hides her head in my arms. Aw…it’s a rough life being a pony!

But like I said, once she had somebody doing the steering for her, she did great! 🙂

January 22, 2007 at 10:08 pm Leave a comment

win is a rockstar

Win is officially a rock star.

We took him to an IHSA hunt seat show this weekend. Yes, this is the horse that has never been to a show before. But we figured he’s also the horse that had never been off ANY farm (even for a trail ride) when I took him in MSU’s homecoming parade, and he kicked butt there, so he’ll be fine at something as easy as a show. With three people riding him each day. When he hasn’t been ridden hunt seat in six months. But yeah, other than that, a plan for success.

As it turned out, they had a lot of scratched entries due to weather, extra horses, and since Win’s left lead is sticky, they decided to not use him. He still got ridden by several people each day, was still taken out during schooling periods, and in general exposed to lots of scary things. He is a rock star. He was just awesome. And what sticky left lead? Look at me go!

At first he wasn’t too thrilled with the stalling situation. He was the only horse we brought, and he had tack stalls on either side of him. He was all alone. And he knew it. He wove back and forth until he worked himself up into a lather, and then he started screaming. We’d take him out and he’d instantly be fine. But then we couldn’t get him back into the stall. It took six people fifteen minutes to get him back in. I finally check with the people running the place and okay it to move him across the aisle so he’s next to some other horses. Go figure, when the coach led him by the halter across the aisle, he walked right on in, went nose to nose with his new neighbors, and started happily munching hay. Dork. He also has decided that his normal life is a BREEZE compared to being stalled 24 hours a day, and since coming home has kept the neatest stall!! But he knows he’s a rock star, and prefers to be called a show horse now.

But you know, it’s hard work being a rock star, and sometimes you just need a nap:

Edited to add: This was the weekend of the in barn schooling show I originally intended for his show debut. We didn’t meet that goal, but I think this is pretty darn good anyhow!

January 15, 2007 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

a tough nut to crack (or, how much i love my baby)

(Are we seeing a theme yet?)

So… I’ve been working with my mom’s horse. With all of her health issues, he had essentially sat as a pasture ornament for three months (she’s only had him for four months). It took a couple weeks of kicking his butt and boot camp with the trainer to give a much needed attitude adjustment, and then things steadily improved. He was out of shape, but at least he TRIED to be good. That’s always worth a lot in my book!

Going to the right he’s become okay. A bit stiff in the canter, but better at the trot. His rythm has gotten MUCH more consistent, although he never quite relaxes – and so we’re a long way from any connection. To the left is another story.

He’s stiff, he braces horribly. Heath is fine, saddle fit is fine, etc…
Initially we just worked him through it. Going to the right he started out this way, but he’d give us those NICE moments, which were rewarded, and as his strength built up he could maintain much better. But not so to the left. And unlike to the right, we couldn’t get him to give, even for a moment. We switched from lunging in side reins and went to double lunging so he couldn’t brace against the side reins. Being able to really feel and manipulate more definitely helped, but not by much.

As I have come to realize, it is impossible to reward a horse for something he refuses to do. Not once did this horse even attempt to relax, bend to the inside, or really acknowledge that anything was going on. Trainer and I agreed that we had to get him to give just ONCE, so we could reward him and then let him do it on his own. Even if it’s something incorrect or not what we want, we just wanted something DIFFERENT out of him. Trainer decides to set up a bit of a draw rein situation with the lunge lines. While I have, in the past, worked with some trainers who use draw reins regularly, my current trainer is VEHEMENTLY opposed to draw reins in any and all situations. The fact that she even considered this rein setup surprised me, but I can’t help but wonder how many other trainers would have gone to this long before now.

As it turned out, as soon as I went to put Win back on a circle, he went nose to chest and backed himself up clear across the arena. We untangled him, unclipped everything, and I let him plug around the lunge circle on his own for a while to relax, while the trainer and I discussed the fact that he had CLEARLY experienced draw reins before, and that his experience was clearly NOT GOOD. That could quite possibly explain some of the issues we’ve been having with him refusing to relax at ANY gait.

The saint that he really is, he calms himself down quite quickly – and goes back to where we was – stiff and flat and bracey. We still had to fix that. Put the outside rein back to it’s regular position, and move the inside rein down one – we still needed that extra…encouragement. Sure enough, when we ask for the canter he falls in once, but lands (falsely) bent to the inside. We praise, let him trot on a long rein for several laps, and he proceeds to do SEVERAL nice canter transitions on a long rein. And each time he cantered soft and bent and using his back. You coud almost see him say, “doh! This feels better!” He showed us the BEST canter we’ve seen out of him yet. We really got a glimpse of what’s to come, and it’s NICE. The trainer even looked at me and said, “there’s a damn fine horse under there.”

I then got on and rode at the walk to the right to cool him out and we did some relaxing and bending exercises. The horse is fantastic and there’s not a mean bone in his body, but gosh he’s a tough nut to crack!! But talk about the dark before the dawn…I had never seen this horse react that strongly to ANYTHING, EVER. I really thought we had gone over the edge and blown his mind for good. He clearly has a deeper past than we gave his old owners credit for, and he’s clearly more mentally stable than I had given him credit for!!

And then I got out Snow to work her. She stood like a champ in the cross ties. I tacked her up and put irons on the saddle for the first time to see what she’d think of the banging. She opened her mouth wide and asked for the bit. She lunged like she’s been doing it for years. I hooked up the side reins (second time she’s ever worn them), and while they’re still too long for her to really use them yet, she tried like she actually knew what they’re for, and maintained a nice even bend to the inside and almost managed fill the outside rein. Oh, and she didn’t care one bit about those irons. We easily went WTC both directions, with lots of transitions (which are quickly improving). She stood like a champ while I yacked with some others at the barn. She continued to stand still when I drug over the mounting block and climbed up the steps. She flicked and ear, but didn’t move another muscle when I banged on the saddle, waved my arms, and made enough racket to bother horses outside the arena She won’t be three until March, so I didn’t go any farther.

But GOSH I love having a blank slate of a baby. No issues. No surprises. No history. No fixing what somebody else has screwed up. If you’re still reading, sorry for the long winded post. All I really wanted to say was I LOVE MY PONY!!!

January 3, 2007 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

A few words on how horses haven't managed to kill me (yet...)
January 2007