The trip up to Virginia was great. My co-pilots were excellent.
|Eddie, the alert one. This doggie is the love of my life but he keeps me on my toes!|
|Ella, my old girl and the best dog in the world. She keeps us all calm.|
This morning, though, I had a nice view when I took the dogs out.
|My parents' back yard. I love that cherry tree. This photo really doesn't do it justice.|
After a brief break in which Mom went to a meeting in another town and I finished grading one class's finals - I am a champion - I got a chance to ride TJ! Since he was about to leave when I fired up this blog, I haven't written about him much. TJ is an odd horse. He's both enormous, about 17.2hh with a super wide barrel, and gaited. I don't have any experience at all with gaited horses, but the trick to him was to teach him to listen to my seat and trot when I post. He's 12, and when he was given to my mom last year, he had very little training or handling, but he is the sweetest horse in the whole world. He isn't athletic and has a lot of trouble balancing himself. He tends to fall on his inside shoulder and can't connect well from the back end to the front end. Sometimes riding him feels like sitting on two people in a horse costume - just not a lot of communication going on there. He'll do one gait in the back and another in the front. Getting him to be through over his topline and load the back end is just about impossible. So when he was with me, I focused on getting him to learn to listen to my seat and just relax under saddle. We did groundwork for weeks before I really rode him and continued to do groundwork for weeks after that. He's a good boy, and wants to please, but he's incredibly spooky and has no balance, so he's not the most confidence-inspiring ride. But he sure is cute!
Then I snuggled with my favorite old man, Ink. This guy is 31, same as me, and I've had him since we were both 9. He was a back yard horse that my parents picked up for a couple hundred bucks, and he packed my mom, me, and then my high school best friend Vicki around lots of novice and training level events in the 90s. He's awesome. He'd jump if his legs were falling off. He hated dressage, and he wasn't especially scopey, but he had all the heart in the world. That's why he earned a home for life with us. We'd never have sold him, and now that he's nearing the end of his life, he's happy as a clam.
|Look at all that white on his sweet old face.|
|Pretty is as pretty does, kids.|
And this old guy is Grayson, a 22-year-old OTTB. Grayson, unfortunately, fulfills a lot of the old stereotypes about TBs. He's hot, he's nuts, he's talented, he's grouchy. He doesn't really like people very much, although he isn't mean. He just kind of doesn't care about people, unlike Ink and TJ, who love humans. Grayson is perfectly sound and I'm itching to get back on him sometime, but he hasn't been ridden in years and it would probably be kind of a kamikaze mission. Maybe next time I'm up. He's fun to ride and really well trained, but he has a screw loose. We sent him to one of my favorite pros about fifteen years ago and she was like, "He's an amazing jumper who is terrified to jump. I don't know what to do with him." But because my mom knew that something horrible might happen to him if she sold him, she just pulled his shoes and let him keep Ink company in the retirement home. He's got a great life, and he LOVES Somara.
|The day Somara arrived. Check out that studly neck!|
I'm pretty exhausted from all the excitement, so I'm gonna try to sleep. I got several Rocket videos from my mom today, but I think I'll save them for a rainy day because I want to take the best parts of each video and edit them together. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures.
|She likes to put her foot on that spot just because she can. We have several pics like this.|
|She also LOOOOOVES butt scratches.|