Where to start? I have no idea. I feel like it’s been three solid days of CANTER awesomeness. Starting Friday, when we went to the track to celebrate my impending oldness (yay! I’m almost thirty! Whee!) We watched several horses we actually know (from listings, or through their trainers). It’s kind of fun to watch horses you know, I always find myself pulling a little harder for them than I do usually. We met up with a trainer who has donated several of our horses, as well, so it was a super fun night 🙂
After a night at the hotel, I hit the track early for a track visit, where we saw some more beautiful horses (it’s like a candy store, really).
It’s such a good thing my wallet is so light, or I’d have a real collection problem.
Today was Funny Farm day, and we had a lovely time out there (except my camera experienced some functional difficulty, so there is no photographic evidence). I decided that despite the thirty degree temperature drop, and intense fall wind, that today would be a really good day to finally get up on Wek and see what she would do under saddle. I meant to do this ages ago but decided against it that day, as she was spooky and I was alone. Today, however, I had help, so I figured it was a Great Decision.
Tacking up was pretty uneventful, except for the fact that I could barely get her girthed up. She is a large lady, and I brought the girth out accordingly- it’s a 54″ I usually use on my draft cross. On Wek? Just barely got it buckled. After some struggling, I managed to get it on the first hole on each side, a feat that left my arm muscles feeling well worked.
Mounting was sort of a different story. Jenn helped me hold her at the mounting block, but something about that just didn’t sit right with her, and Wek had what is best described as a “moment”- by which I mean she may have taken off around the ring broncing. Well, “taking off” is the wrong word, because she didn’t actually GO anywhere, she just crowhopped in a small, really slow circle. When she was done, I went back out and caught her, and tied up the reins and had her free lunge around a little bit, to get her moving out and more relaxed.
Then we went back to super easy basics. I brought her back to the block, and first walked her in a wide circle around it. Gradually I brought her closer to it, then I stood up on it and patted her all over. Then we’d repeat the whole process a few times. Finally I had her standing close enough to get on, and after flopping the stirrups and leaning on her, I hopped on. Fortunately there were no theatrics, and the big thing from there on out was simply to get her to move. Even Afton has nothing on Wek- getting her going was just NOT happening with leg and voice alone, I had to actually get her moving by sort of pulling her in a circle with the reins.
Getting her to trot was a bit of fiasco, but I think we managed to get four or five very small steps. Figuring it’s always better to quit while ahead, I hopped off and we threw her back in the field. She took off at a dead gallop, whinnying desperately to her friends. One would think we had locked her in a stall for DAYS and deprived her completely of any freedom, from the exuberant way she rejoined the herd. It is nice to know, though, that she IS capable of some forward motion.
After checking on Punch, Klondike, Whisper, and Truckee (who also got a little groundwork today, since he is very bored), it was time to head home to hope on whoever needed hopping on there.
It’s probably not much of a surprise that I chose Afton- he’s pretty much my Horse of the Moment, and I think he’s pretty amazing. That, and another volunteer was riding Bid, and Stephen is getting several rides per week too. As usual, he was easy to catch and perfect for grooming and tacking up. I wasn’t sure how he’d be in the indoor- I know he’s been perfect for everything so far, but it was quite windy, and there was a horse lunging in addition to several others being ridden.
As always, I need not have worried. He settled right to work, and was very nice and forward off the leg (but not rushing around either- he’s really a delight and just so comfortable to ride!). We practiced some transitions, and I attempted to keep him out on the rail more than last time- he likes to drift in and cut his turns. Once we get our communication more practiced, I don’t think he’ll have any trouble bending and staying out on his turns. Right now, we’re both a little crooked in some ways, so we just have to figure things out a little bit.
At the canter he was lovely about picking up the right lead, but in a move that’s unusual for him, he had some trouble with the left (probably me, I’m a bit of a leaner). After the second failed attempt, I let him canter on, to make sure to reward him for moving up to the canter as requested. Without me really doing anything or trying, when we got to the corner he switched his lead (well, in front anyway). I put him on a circle and made a point of pushing his shoulder back IN on the circle, and he switched his hind lead as well.
Because that wasn’t enough awesomeness for one day, I then pointed him at a little crossrail, which he stepped over once, and then jumped the second time. He also trotted over a crossrail set on a gymnastic line (poles on the ground following). After that, we went down the driveway, where we jumped two of the logs, and also the ditch.
It was really hard to get off, but it’s hard to top that, and he was super wonderful, even “magical” as we like to say 🙂 He’s going to be a really special horse for someone- if he jumps that easily even with MonkeyLike Me climbing all over his back, imagine what he’ll do with a great rider?