I’ve totally been neglecting my creature lately; we had vacation bible school last week, and I was working in the nursery, so our whole week was so insanely busy. I went to the barn on Monday to feed, and then mom fed without me for the next couple of days. She’s checked all of the horses over and he certainly wasn’t dying without me, but when I went today, I quickly realized that my horse was disgusting. This heat has made him a sweaty mess, and he’s obviously had fun in dirt, and he had a few sweet itch places. So I got him fed and spent the first 30 minutes up there attempting to make him somewhat clean.
A bit of an update before I delve into riding- we have finished the upper field and the horses spent an hour up there this evening (we are limiting their time to prevent founder) and when we got there to feed and let turn them back into the usual field and close off the other field, Stormie was acting off. She didn’t want to finish her grain, didn’t want to drink, just seemed very sleepy and lethargic which is very unlike her. Of course, we freaked out and checked her for a few things. No fever, great gut noises, not dehydrated, hooves were nice and cool, no bee stings, no hives, no runny nose, nothing. I kept thinking that maybe she ate something but the other horses were 100% fine and they all stay together. Our first thought was that she was running around in that field, excited to be in a new place, and got overheated. We hosed her down and she seemed to perk up. Thankfully, by the time I was done riding, she was back to her old self.
Red was in a hilarious mood. I’m not sure if it’s because he hadn’t seen me(I’d like to think so lol) in a few days and he was happy to be spoiled and groomed and loved on again, but he was all in my face, chasing me around to get scratches and very loving. Once I got him clean enough and he was done eating, I went to go get his halter so I could take him to the cross-ties and he started rubbing his neck on the gate. He had a small little sting near his jaws and anytime I’d get close he’d shove his head up to me like “PLZ SCRATCH NOW” sadly mom was too busy fretting over her horse (tsk tsk mom, priorities!) to take a photo of him with me, but I did get a couple of him being a weirdo with the gate…
And finally..my favorite,
He finally got cross-tied once I caught my breath from laughing so hard, and I tacked up and walked him to the arena. He was in the Little S tonight; I planned on doing some trot work and he seems to be better with headset in it. Although the last few rides in it he was a JERK and super stubborn (the noseband is slightly too large and it doesn’t give as much pressure, it doesn’t make him uncomfortable but it makes it milder) so I was leery of riding him outside of the arena. I needn’t worry; he was amazing. Absolutely stellar in the arena, warmed up perfectly at the walk on a loose rein, worked on some neck reining, he pretended to be a WP horse with a comfy, nice low headset. Very nice.
His transitions were great. Added the trot pole back in and he was a little put off by that and nervous about trotting over it but he still did it, just clumsily at first until he got used to it again. We had some very nice moments at the trot. Managed quite a few laps without breaking back into a walk, did some smaller circles, he was good, and worked on tighter turns and keeping him in a gait. He’s getting so much fitter now which makes things so much easier for him to do I think.
As far as his trot and headset, I think it was better today than it was during my ride with the bosal and he seemed to get things better with the little S…hopefully this week I’ll be cutting the rope nose off of one of my S hacks and switching it out with a leather one to see how he does, so it fits better.
I’m liking his body and how he’s using it lately, we’re getting there!
After about 25 minutes in the arena, we were trotting along and he kept trying to look up to the field, so I let him stop to see what he was looking at and saw a couple deer stop, stare at us, then run off. So I went to the gate, got him to open it (he’s doing SO well with that!) and we walked out to go tell mother about them then rode up there.Didn’t really think about him being in the S hack therefore less control, but really, I didn’t need the extra leverage at all. He was very well behaved.
I rode him in the front pasture as well, and he was great there, too. My mother actually ended up hopping on him to go check the fences tonight and I hung back and got some photos and watched so I could see how he looked with another rider. I had already finished riding and was untacking him, already had his bridle off, so I figured he’d be stubborn and not want to ride off again but he didn’t fight her at all. She hasn’t ridden him in months; she’s very honest about him which I like, and she’s never enjoyed riding him because he’s stubborn, lazy, and his trot is terrible. There hasn’t ever been a time when she’s trotted or cantered him without her having a defensive seat and stopping him quickly and wanting to get off. And my mother is a good rider, has ridden for years. I figure the only reason I’ve managed his trot is because it was all I was used to. A smooth trot felt terrible to me for so long, and so unnatural.
But today, she rode off and immediately said, “Wow, he feels so happy and relaxed.” She trotted him up the first hill and I didn’t hear her complain and I watched them trot up the entire hill and over the flat part of the field and she didn’t stop him. I yelled out and asked how his trot was and she said, “I honestly didn’t even think about it! It feels so great now!” which is huge. She’s very clear on one thing- she doesn’t like riding Red. Never has. They have never gotten along, his ride is rough and awkward. But today, she seriously told me that she didn’t even want to get off of him. I know I’ve felt a major difference in the last couple of months, especially since I started riding him out more and in the arena less, he just seems content and happy, but to have someone else notice such a huge difference is so great and it’s a huge confidence booster.
She had nothing but praise for Red tonight. Very happy with my pony.