Monday, November 6, 2017


Because the alphabet has 26 letters, I'm taking Sundays off from blogging because life.

The first year I had Ashke, about six months after I brought him home, I reached out to a communicator to see if I could find out some stuff about him. There were things that I learned but mostly it was an attempt to establish a method of communication and maybe see if I could figure out what had happened to him. Since then, I have pieced together bits and flotsam, until I feel like I have a pretty good idea what he went through before his safe landing with me.

That said, its been five years since that conversation and when the notice went out that one of the riders was bringing in a communicator, I signed up. I just wanted to see how he was feeling, what his thoughts were on where we were and what we were doing, and if there was anything that needed to change.

The communicator got lost and so we had a bit of a wait. Ashke was in turn out by himself so I went into his run to play. I began running from one corner to another, with him following me. I stopped, did a kind of hunker down and stalk toward him, then would straighten and throw my arms in the air. He would rear and strike out in response, and a couple of times he spun away from me bucking and kicking. I was laughing hard at his shenanigans that I could barely walk and was completely out of breath. When I walked out of the turnout he went a little crazy, running in circles, doing sliding stops, coming over in front of me and rearing. There were even caprioles. It was absolutely hilarious to watch. And at the end, it took a quiet word from me for him to walk over and stick his head in the halter.

A lot like this . . . 

After giving the communicator some of his background and the process that we've been through, I asked:

  • How is he feeling?
He said that he in feeling very good. Teeth, feet, back, hips all are pain free.
  • How does he like what we are doing?
He said that he loves learning the new things in dressage. He loves working with Amanda and enjoys the challenge that developing himself through dressage presents. He misses getting out on trail and would like to do a bit more of that, but also understands that the majority of what we are learning needs to happen in the indoor arena, at least for the next little while, since winter is coming.

He would like more bling on his saddle and bridle, to which I replied that the bling was not allowed in our discipline. He looked kind of downcast, so I added that the bling would distract from his beauty and that the simpleness of our tack really allowed us to shine as a combination. I wouldn't want to distract from his handsomeness. He seemed appeased.
  • How does he like the new bit?
He believes that we are still figuring it out but that he feels like it is a good fit. And he thinks it makes him look like a badass.

Bad to the Bone
  •  Why is he still so spooky at the south end of the arena?
He answered "birds" before I had completed the question. And yes, we have a bunch of sparrows nesting and living behind the jump standards at that end of the arena. I said, they are just little tiny sparrows and aren't going to hurt you. His answer was "they are related to dinosaurs, aren't they".

What we see:

What Ashke sees:

About the size and shape of a starling, but non-avian

It was difficult to not laugh out loud at him. The communicator let him know that the sparrows could not nor would they hurt him. We asked if there was anything I could do differently, so he would remember to not spook. He asked me to walk him around the edge of the arena in hand before I got on so he could have a real good look and I could explain to him what we were seeing. Then when we were riding, if I could just remind him by saying "focus" he would try very hard to focus on what we were doing, rather than what was at that end of the arena. This seems very feasible to me.

  • He asked about his name and how he got it.
I explained what it meant and why I picked it and he was very happy to know. He said he felt like it honored both of his parents and his heritage, which he is very proud of. He had hated the name he had when I got him and loved that we changed it, but had always wondered why I had picked it.
  • He loves the barn, although he misses his mare.
I explained that her owner had taken her home but would be bringing her back soon. He really misses the company in turnout and is much less likely to get into trouble (he has let himself out of turnout twice now and was attempting to get Anna out when I first got there yesterday) with a turnout companion. I think Sheila might try him with Ardee this week and see how the two of them get along.
  • I asked him how he felt about showing.
He said that the process of getting to the show is chaotic and can make him feel unsettled, but once he's there, he's happy. He likes the opportunity to show off what he has learned and to have everyone watching him. He doesn't care about the scores or who wins or loses, since all that matters to him is that we are learning and getting better. He said that I am very grounded in the warm up ring, but sometimes there are others there that are really tense about whether they win or lose. He was upset that we didn't finish the last show, but conceded that the 65 mph wind and long day were not optimal for a show. I think he wishes we had stayed and finished the show, but I have zero regrets. When the portojohn went over, I was done.
  • I asked him if he had anything else he wanted to share
He loves carrots. He likes other people, but he really loves me. And carrots. He likes carrots a lot. 

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