So, today's rides were just as nice as I could ask for. All 3 of them. I started with Rooster, then rode Huck, and then gave Lady most of a lesson. I'm still not used to the sun setting this early, so by the time I finish up all of my personal work and get to the client horses I'm still thinking 6pm when it's dark by 5:30, and 5:30 when it's dark by 5pm. In all honesty, I can't tell you what time it gets dark, but I can tell you it's hard to tack down a black horse, with black tack, with no lights. I think she only got shorted about 10 or 15 minutes, and she was working so well for me today, so I can't complain.
So, that lovely boy up there, is Rooster. Isn't he just the cutest thing? Although, I admit, I do have a weak spot for red heads, especially that bright of a red. But, my ride with Rooster started out on a good note today. I grabbed a halter, and Rooster met me at the gate! We went to tack up, and I swear Rooster was taking a nap. Well, except when that big truck went by, I think it was a garbage truck.... he woke up for that. Well, breifly.
And Rooster spent the whole time before I ride sucking up to me. I have a soft spot for that. Big brown eyes get to me every time. Ok, he wanted cookies, but that's a type of love too, isn't it?
I got on Rooster a few times. First, I didn't have the girth tight enough. I have a new latigo, and it's leather, and between slight stretching, and not being well worn, so not slipping over itsself, I admit, I spend way more time then I like trying to get that silly thing properly cinched up. Wonder when western saddles will adopt the easy English type girths...*daydreams about elastic and buckles*
Rooster would get worried and tense when I went to mount him. So much so, that a few times he tried to move out from under me, and once he did blow up, spooking out from under me.
Now, he's, well... taking a nap I think. I got on him from both the mounting block, and from the ground today, and he couldn't have cared less about any of them. I have been rewarding a relaxed and calm attitude, and ignoring or dealing with his tension in non-stressful ways. Basically, I just want Rooster to know that when a human is around, good things happen. As an interesting side effect, ol' Rooster here, has become a complete sap. He loves to be loved on. He loves to get pets and scratches, and to be talked to. Any form of affection is good for him, and lets him know that he's right on track.
We had some lovely work today, and our problems were well... laziness! He was tootling along, and didn't really have a whole lot of get up and go in him. Now, if I asked, he would give it, but if I slacked off, he went right into lazy pony mode.
I think most of us agree that having a bit of "I'm just gonna plod along until you want me to do something different" isn't a bad thing in a horse. For me, when I want to move out, I want it NOW, but otherwise, a whole lot of slow is good for when things do not go as planned.
Does he look very stressed at all about it? I didn't think so. I did find though, that Rooster does NOT like to have the ends of the reins slapped around. That got him all tense and stressed again. Yeah, so guess what I did?
I normally ride in a single rein, but today I had split reins. They have a leather popper on the end of each. So, it was those that he didn't care for, and it will be those that I ride him in from now until he doesn't care about them.
Besides that, we just did some walk trot and canter work, and didn't have a single real problem. I'm so excited!
And see, there's that mounting block. And there's the Huck-meister standing at it like nothing at all. Our ride was good today. He was dead on! Well, he was, but I made 2 mistakes that I almost thought were gonna get my face in the dirt.
Twice, at the canter, I asked for a downward transition, and I got a woah. Neither time was I prepared for it, and both times I ended up leaning forward. Both times Huck realized I was pulling a stupid human trick, and stepped forward allowing me to "catch up" to his momentum. I think it was the curb chain. I hadn't been riding Huck with one, because he was so light on the mouth, but put one on today, and got some serious stops from him.
Now, I stop from my seat more then anything, but with a light lift of the hands. Well, I guess in Huck's mind, that's all it takes. He was dead on with all of my commands. Ok, well, the trot and canter work I had to get a crop for some incentive, but after that....
See, here's how this pretty boy worked out for me:
Yes, I'm taping his side there...... to get......
Click on any picture for a larger view. And horse owners are more then welcome to save a copy for themselves.
And lastly, my ride with Lady. Well... second verse same as the first. It was almost a repeat of yesterday's lesson, with out the broken bridle. Lady was lovely, she worked hard, and had some lovely moments of what I wanted. She's coming along great, and has no interesting or exciting stories of acting up to tell. And yeah, that's a great thing!
I have to admit, I know how lucky I am to have this trio in the barn right now. I adore every one of these horses, and really look forward to riding them. Days like today make me stop and appreciate just how lucky I am to be able to do this for a living. I might not be a big name trainer who sends horses off to be big name super starts, but I work with some really amazing people, and their wonderful pets. I prefer what I do to any fame or fortune I could be offered.
Ok, maybe not the fortune part.... I mean, if I was rich, I would have an indoor!