We got home from Oregon on Sunday, and although we loved visiting with our friends, flying kites on the beach, picking out wedding attire, wandering around the quaint shops, sharing meals with the group, playing with the toxic baby, eating a ton of food, being in the wedding and viewing starfish, I was pretty happy to be home. Everyone is sick. Some more than the rest of us. Toxic baby gave her mommies bacterial bronchitis, while the rest of us are dealing with congestion and coughing. It's made it hard to get back into the swing of things.
The good news is Guinness, our last and oldest boxer, survived our vacation in very good health and was a wiggling, kidney bean of delight to have us home. On the downside, the littles did not fair as well at the kennel. They both gained height and lost weight. Unfortunately, they are scheduled for their spay today, so they are having a rough couple of weeks. They were so happy to have us home. J and I decided we were only going to do vacations where we could 1) drive, and 2) take the pups with us (and Guinness for as long as she is with us). Luckily, we have a truck we can pull a camper with that allows us to put the giant kennel in the back. Wheew. Wouldn't want to have to trade in the Big Sulley truck.
I went out to see Ashke on Sunday night and spent an hour and a half grooming him. He was sucking on my shirt and licking my arms and standing with his nose pressed against my chest whenever he could. He missed me. I pretty sure all of our animals thought we were never returning.
Tuesday I made it back out and rode him for a bit. He was nippy and not happy about being saddled so I turned him loose in the round pen and let him work it out of his system. He bucked, kicked, snorted (Arabian style) and double-barrelled at me. I think he was pretty pissed. But once he had expressed himself and galloped around the round pen until he was tired, he was fine. We didn't ride for long, but he was perfect while we were out.
Last night I rode again. This time I loosed him in the large, outdoor jump arena and he tore around like an idiot, high-stepping with his tail flagged, snorting, shying at the jumps, until he was starting to sweat. (I don't think the 20 minutes in the round pen five times while I was gone was enough work.) I then rode him out on the Mesa, the three mile loop. He did ok. He was pretty warm going up, but cooled off while we were coming back down. He walked out but trotted most of the way back . . . that easy, sweet, almost-a-jig trot that I wish we could find in the arena. He cooled out well, but I didn't like how the front right boot was fitting and so I need to figure out how to use the hoof file Michelle left me for shaping his feet when we are at the end of the trim cycle. Since he gets trimmed again on 6/28, that would be now.
I really need to come up with a plan of action for riding him going forward. Nicole has very set ideas in her head and I am more of a fly on the seat of my pants kind of girl. It makes for a very unfocused ride. I'm thinking I might need to do a lesson with Cassandra, if only to give myself focus and a plan. Of course, there is a show on next Saturday that I am planning on entering Ashke in, at least for the trail class. That might give me some focus, once I know what type of things the judges look at. I would also like to look at the Western Equitation class and see what that entails. It will give me something to focus on outside of trail riding. I also plan on having Ashke learn to open gates from both sides. Plus, we need to work with the rope a lot more.