Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back In the Saddle

Clear skies (mostly) with temps in the mid to upper 80's. Meanwhile, the flooding has moved East to Sterling, where the South Platte continues to evade it's banks. But here, the blue sky and sunshine has lifted my spirits a touch.

The only bummer is the sun is beginning to set much earlier. Despite the puddles on the ground and in the outdoor arena, we opted to ride outside. The indoor had four jumps and eight riders in it and we decided dealing with a little mud would be easier on our horses.

When I got there I was greeted by this:

I swear this horse LOVES mud. He hasn't been in turnout, just laying down in his run. It took me twenty minutes to make him somewhat white again. Not that he was complaining, mind you. He enjoyed the extra grooming a lot.

We tacked up and went to the outdoor arena. It looked to me like he was favoring his right hind leg just a little bit and I asked N if she could tell. It was her thought that perhaps he was stiff, in part from the weather, and I should warm him up slowly. We did. I hand walked him around the arena twice before getting on and then asked him to stretch and extend his walk for a couple of circuits in both directions. Meanwhile, Cali acted like a baby to the tune of bucking, kicking, rearing and sunfishing every time she was asked to Canter. N applied the sidereins, which Cali took exception to, and then proceeded to try and do all of those things while wearing the side reins.

Cassandra came out about the time N was getting on and verbally coached N while she was fighting with Cali. In the end, N got Cali to settle and do exactly what she wanted her to do. Ashke and I rode around the outside of the arena, worked on our trot and some turns, but mostly sat and talked with Cassandra. Rachel, one of the trainers, riding China, came to join us. I told her I would wait and ride with her until she was done. N finished with Cali and headed to the barn and Ashke lost his freaking mind.

I got off of him before the fight could get out of hand, and then let him buck and kick and tear around me like a complete idiot, with blowing and loud snorts. He was so upset that Cali was leaving and he was expected to stay in the arena and be a good horse. I think it kind of unsettled Rachel, since he was rearing and striking out with his front feet in protest. Not AT me, just in protest. He did get whacked on the neck for snapping at me with his teeth, but he didn't try to bite again, after that one time. I need to bring out a lunge line when I am working him in the arena, because I don't think it's good on his haunch for him to tear around me in such a tiny circle. I move with him and the circles are more of an oval. I also made him move in both directions, even though he wanted to circle to the right (easier on his RH). After about ten minutes, he worked it out of his system.

At that point, I walked his steaming butt over to the mounting block and got back on. The last thing I want him thinking is that blowing up like that gets him out of work. Instead, we did some turning, some serpentines, and working on neck reining. Every time he got too up, we turned into the fence (makes his turns much tighter and doesn't give him any where to go) and went in the other direction. Since he was mostly up on the way TO the gate, this pretty much nipped that behavior in the bud.

Little poop.

Finally, Rachel and I were both finished. China had gotten a little up when Ashke was throwing his fit, but settled right back into work when Ashke calmed down. While we were walking them out, I asked Rachel about being able to work cows at the barn and she said they were going to have a "cow day" or maybe a "cow weekend" in October, November and December. Woot! I think Ashke might be pretty amazing with cows, if he would just stop snorting and spooking at them. If nothing else, it exposes him to one more thing and gives him something to think about. And, if I ever get serious about the Working Equitation (which I am, kind of) he needs to be able to team pen and sort cattle. It's part of the event. There is also the possibility of being able to work buffalo. That just gives me shivers.

Who knows, maybe there is a cutting horse hidden somewhere deep inside this boy.

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