Today was a great day. I had a potential client come out and want to see me work with horses. I pulled Diesel out, and was doing some retuning (he's been a lazy horse for about a year) and thought it'd be a great way for me to warm up. Well, she showed up while I was still on him. Ends up, the end of my session with Diesel was exactly what she wanted to see - refitting a horse for dressage type work.
Now, I have to be honest here. I HATE having people watch me ride when they are potential clients. A judge will look to see what you do well, and what you do wrong. A potential client is really looking for ONLY what you do wrong. I mean, you can't blame them at all. It's like hiring someone to take care of your child (just the 4 legged type). My clients tend to care about their horses, and I'm sure not about to stop that!
So, that was shockingly easy, and very stress free on me. I mean, I'm not the most human savvy person out there. I am perfectly happy to be left alone all day with horses in the arena. I love spending time with them, but people... yeah, I need work with my social skills at times.
After that, I gave mom a lesson on Ishka. Mom did really well, and I stole Ishka for a few laps to get a feel of what I was seeing. Ishka is coming along nicely, and my mother is doing a great job with her. She's still green, but I am not seeing any problems with her training. As a benefit, my mother is also learning a lot more about horses, since babies don't hide things as much as mature horses.
And of course, "my" mustangs. Huck was simply amazing today! He finally decided to speak to me, and oh boy what he had to say. Huck does side passes, half passes, turns on the forehand, turns on the haunches. He is amazing. Now, don't get me wrong, it's all still a bit rough, but it's definitely there! We had a few moments of "no I don't WANT to do that" but not even anything to talk about. What a fabulous ride!
Rooster didn't get ridden today. Instead, he well, this sounds bad, but he got mounted. A lot. Yes, I mean that I prepped him for getting on and off and on and off. Come to find out, Rooster gets explosive when you are behind the girth. He's waiting for the command, and then explodes away. I showed him that bursting is NOT what I am looking for. I think he understood.
I got some nice glimpses of Rooster thinking today. I threw the mounting block on the ground to make it thump (it's hollow and plastic, and can be spooky to some horses) and Rooster decided that was a good time to lick it. Yes, he licked the mounting block ALL over. Kinda funny to watch. He also really didn't care for me climbing up on his offside. That was SCARY. I almost got a real bugle out of him. Almost.
We spend about an hour and 10 minutes in the arena working with relaxing and just standing calmly for me to do things to him. As soon as he realized what I wanted, he gave a big effort to get it right. granted, we had some confusion. Like, I would stand behind him, and lift my arm, and he would scoot away to circle around me, as if lunging. He's not being bad when he does that, he just didn't guess right. Can't fault a guy for trying. But for the most part, he figured it out.
He did finally let me mount up while he stood nice and relaxed. All I wanted was for him to not be tense and ready to bolt. I think he even had a hip cocked (but am not positive). I called that a win, praised the boy, and finished up. One of these days I'm gonna get a good ride out of that red head again! If he keeps learning at this pace, it won't be too much longer.
What a wonderful day. I'm tired, but I'm so tickled. Days like this make me stop and be thankful that I'm able to live like this. I almost feel guilty getting paid to have this much fun, and experience this many amazing horses.
Ok, I said almost! Gotta feed the parents somehow, right?
A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.