Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Three-Horse Day!

Today was really cool because I got to ride three horses and they were all great.

Lex continued with her nose-to-the-ground Western-pleasure-realness trotting today, but we managed to stay on the rail better. I also shortened my stirrups a hole and I think that helped me stay balanced. Well enough that I was able to take this picture of what it looks like from atop Lex.

Her shoulder looks huge!
That's not even as steep as her neck got, it's just the best picture I was able to get while also posting, staying on rail, etc. I had a neck strap on, but it slid down her neck around her head, and I was afraid she was going to step on it, so I had to take it off mid-ride. She seemed pretty psyched to trot like that, and then we went on a walk around the field on the buckle. She was walking pretty slow. I think she really wants to do what I want, and she thinks what I want is for her to stretch in the trot (because I do! I always tell her she's a good girl) and she thinks a walk around the field is for taking our time (agreed). Part of the hack goes by the road (which you can hear but not see), and some big rattly truck went by and she didn't even flick an ear. It is SO nice to ride a non-spooky horse. Today she was so quiet I was almost worried.

Then I made the irresponsible decision to go ride a couple horses at the lesson barn. It was the perfect day for it, because it wasn't hot and the ring was empty. I wanted to try out one of the school horses and spend more time with Finn.

Pedro wasn't signed up for any lessons today, so I snagged him out of the field to jump around a little.
LOOK AT THAT FACE!
Pedro is a delight. He used to be a track pony, so he's bombproof, but he's also a little bit of a challenge. Reportedly he has trouble picking up his leads, but I got them with no problem, so maybe he was just being extra clever today. He's got a very long back so he's hard to collect and he's not especially supple, but we all have our flaws. We trotted over a couple of tiny jumps to get the feel for each other, and then cantered one jump, and that went well, so we did another, and then just did a whole course. The biggest jumps in the ring were probably about 3'. I was a little nervous (again, gotta get my eye up! It is crazy to me that 3' jumps look big!) but I just pointed his ears between the standards and didn't get in the way, and he was a saint about it. When we were done, I realized my heart was racing. I loved getting to bop around on him, and I need to keep jumping nice horses like him so I can get the feel for it again.

Looooooong neck compared to Lex!
 Then I messed with Mr. Finn, who is such a silly horse. He's kind of all beauty, no brains. Well, potential beauty - he's three, and definitely has some filling out to do, but he's got a gorgeous head and I see no reason why he won't be a stunner.

This is him, I believe last year.
He was a good boy while I was on him and one of the farm assistants led us around, but I think he needs to learn his ground manners better before I keep getting on him. He's a wiggle worm on the crossties (and he STOMPED my foot today, ouch), but I think that's partly because he has such horrendous rain rot that it hurts to be curried. The next time I work with him, I'm just gonna do groundwork and lunging and stuff like that until I feel like he's got more respect and attention. He's also way too treat-motivated. I think he'll be a very nice horse when he's finished.

All right, I'm beat and I have to feed those silly horses in the morning, so off I go. If you have tips for dealing with a sweet-but-dumb three-year-old warmblood, leave them in the comments, please! :)

6 comments:

  1. I don't think riding extra horses is ever an irresponsible decision! :)

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    1. Hahaha! Well, my dissertation adviser might disagree, but it was worth it. :)

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  2. 3 horses, tiring! I hope your foot is okay!

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    1. It was tiring! I got up early to feed the horses and ride Lex today and now I'm completely worn out. Early to bed tonight, I think.

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  3. I once had a 17.2 hand Hanoverian gelding that I got when he was three. Priority one with him was to teach him to lead well, stand when asked, respect my personal space, and not drag me around. Never graze in hand. When a horse's head goes to the grass, you don't exist anymore. A big horse grazing will drag you around like a mouse on a string. The best way to teach ground manners is to constantly and gently keep his attention on you. Wiggle the shank when he turns his head away or tries to graze, praise when he returns his attention to you. If he turns away from you to look at the herd, tickle him on the ribs like an annoying fly until he looks at you. At first it will feel like you're constantly correcting him, but if you are very consistent he will quickly become attentive and obedient. It's been so many years since I had Loyal, but as I recall I used to bring apple slices in a plastic baggie. The sound of a crinkly bag always got his attention even if I didn't give him a treat every time. I'm so jealous. I love green horses...

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    1. I wish you could come back and help me with him! I'll work on the attention thing - it really is his biggest issue. He's a snuggle bunny and wants to be good, so I'm very optimistic.

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