About Expo . . . . there is going to be a Tarrin Warren Clinic on March 9th, then a WE show on March 10th with T Warren as the judge, then three days of Expo clinics with T Warren. I and K have already submitted our entries and so we will spend five days at the NWSS grounds with Ashke and Eddy. We move the horses in on the 8th and will probably spend at least some time familiarizing them with the grounds before we go home that night. Then our clinic starts bright and early the next morning. It should be an awesome five days.
Monday we hung out with mom, then she flew out on Tuesday night. I let T drive her to the airport, which meant we drove for about an hour and fifteen minutes, in the dark, on not well marked roads, and the highway for the first time. That was a lot of firsts. When I got home I went on Amazon and ordered "Student Driver" magnets to put on the back of my car when he is driving. By law, and to get him in the habit of it, he does not drive over the speed limit, which means that often we are the slowest car on the road. We stay in the right lane but his merging skills still need practice, so I'm sure we pissed someone off. I'm hoping that the magnets will put people in a forgiving mood, although I'm not holding my breath.
Weds night I made it out to see Ashke, but did not have the motivation to actually saddle him up. I realized after dropping off supplies and saying hi to him, that I am going to have to set a strict schedule and adhere to it. See, for the past three years, I've had the option of going straight from work to see him, instead of going home first. In fact, one of the reasons I wasn't riding consistently is that once I was home, I didn't want to leave. I think the crosscountry season next year will look very different, because I will have developed the habit of going out after dinner. It's just that I have to cultivate that habit now, because I get home and don't want to go anywhere.
By Weds, J had a pretty ferocious cold going on and was heading to bed by 7:30. She really should have stayed home on Thursday, but the piles of work she had waiting for her at work would not allow her to take a sick day. Thursday, I went and bought shoes (I had holes in the ones I was wearing) and then started a new browband for a friend (I'm really excited to bead a new pattern specific for her and her horse!!)
Friday morning when we went to get T out of bed, he was really sick. His stomach hurt too much to eat (I know! Really sick!!) and he was feeling like he wanted to throw up. I tucked him back in bed where he slept til 1 pm. Friday night we watched Spectre (007) and all of us went to bed early. I haven't gotten sick yet, but I have been feeling very worn down. I have no energy. Zilch.
Saturday we got the boy on the bus for the slopes and then hitched up the trailer (had to pull it out of a foot of snow still) and loaded the horse. I should have known that he would be fresh. What I wasn't expecting was that both he and Eddy would lose their senses. We took them to the East-West Regional trail thinking that trail would be less muddy than Waterton and J would be able to ride it fairly easily (without a lot of bricking of her bike). It was a beautiful day, with temps in the upper 60's. Ashke is shedding like a mofo.
Shirt sleeve weather, albeit long sleeves.
The sun felt amazing.
All that white on the ground is hair. I was covered. When I was done grooming him I stripped off the shirt and shook it out. Thankfully, there were no witnesses.
He's lost a little bit of topline, but I think being out in turn-out for two hours a day, 7 days a week, has really helped with his condition. It, however, has not had a positive effect on his attitude toward other horses. He is getting a bit snarly and actually humped at Eddy twice on our ride.
K was feeling under the weather too. We hoped for a ten mile ride and ended up doing 7. Our pace was 4.6 mph and considering we walked the finally two miles back, I think our going out pace was closer to 10. Neither horse wanted to walk. Neither horse wanted to trot, although we were able to hold them to an extended trot for at least the first two miles. There was much spooking. And snorting. And pulling. And trying to race. The one canter we tried in that first two miles included rearing and snorting on Ashke's part, as he was trying to vault us into a hand gallop. Eddy got the bit in his mouth and galloped with K right up to the point that he was directly behind J, then spooked hard to the right and took them into a stand of head high weeds. Poneh still knows dirty tricks. A year ago, K would have bit dirt, but this year she stuck every spook he threw at her. At that point I was pretty tired of fighting my own steed, so we working on half-pass at the trot back and forth across the trail behind J. Ashke did pretty well at keeping the bend in the direction he was moving and keeping his nose out in front of him, instead of bending into the leg moving him. I think I am also getting better at communicating what I am looking for.
At almost three miles, J tuckered out. She was struggling to catch her breath. K and I went on until the crusher fine trail ended, then we turned to ride back to where J was waiting. Ashke went up the first hill completely out of control, trying to leap him way up and when I told him no, he bucked. A couple of times. We spent the next mile in a very collected and slow trot. By the time we got back to J, both horses were sweaty and breathing hard. Ashke less so, but still warm. We headed back via the back loop of the ride (through the neighborhood). We did a bit of trotting, but ended up walking the last two miles because Eddy had sweat dripping off of him. (I have to say, having Ashke do his very collected, very slow trot across the street in front of the waiting cars - at a light - felt pretty cool. He was being very Arabian.)
Which earned him his new nickname: Eddy the Yak. Swear that horse has four inch hair.
We sponged them off and let them stand in the sun to dry. Ashke was dry after about fifteen minutes, but Eddy was still wet even after riding home in the trailer in a cooler. It took K another hour or so to get him completely dry.
Sunday morning I picked up shavings and headed to the barn. Ashke got his feet rasped and a really good grooming, then I saddled up and we headed to the mounting block. Ashke has redeveloped the bad habit of moving when I go to mount or once I am on him. I decided that it was going to stop today. The first time he held still until I was on and then began trying to move away before I asked. I got him to stop moving his feet, dismounted and tried again. This time, he started moving his hip away as I stepped up to the mounting block. I backed him up and then we tried again. This time as I stepped up onto the mounting block he began to jig forward, so I popped him on the hip with my hand.
OMG! The world was ending!!
My overly dramatic horse reared, pulled back and bolted. We were in the indoor, but the doors to the outside were open (two garage doors) and he headed right out of them. I hollered "loose horse" and thanked the Maker the property is gated. Ashke went out and tooled around and then came tearing back inside. Thankfully, the reins were around his neck so I didn't have to worry about a broken jaw or bruised bars. He pranced and galloped around me a couple of times and then finally came to a stop across the aisle from his stall. I walked up and took him back over to the mounting block. He was snorty and defensive, expecting to be in trouble, so I calmed him down, unhooked my reins and led him up to the block. I petted him until the tension went out of him, went to mount and when he moved away, I sent him in a circle at a trot at the end of the rein (10 feet). I made him keep moving until he didn't want to any more. The next time I asked him to stand he did and I was able to mount without him moving his feet.
The ride was pretty uneventful. He felt relaxed and easy at the walk. We worked on trotting, did a bit of canter and called it a day. Total ride was about 35 minutes. I need to come up with a series of patterns or things to work on if I really want to ride more than that. We need to do more cantering. Like a lot more. And transitions. It's hard remembering that when I am on him though.
Then I came home and watched football. The Broncos are in the Superbowl again. Against the Panthers. Should be a good game. Hopefully, Manning is healthy and ready to go after two weeks off. And our D is for real!!!