Tag Archives: afton mountain

Whoa! There’s a big engine in that thing!

Last night I arrived at the barn late, around dusk, and had to really book it to go get Afton in before it got too dark to find him.  Once I got him inside under lights, I groaned… he was COVERED in mud.  He looked like he’d been having a REALLY good time out there.  After a few minutes of totally fruitless scraping (resulting in me breathing in about twenty pounds of dust, I’m still coughing it up this morning.  You know you wanted to know that!) I gave in and decided to introduce Mr. Afton to the vacuum cleaner of death.  At least, that’s what my horse calls it, as he’s sure it’s possessed.

Afton, though, is a different animal.  Only four and with limited life experience, he still decides things are not worth getting too excited about.  In fact, he seemed to like being vacuumed, and wonder of wonders, there was a very shiny coat under all that cemented dust.

So, we can check that off on the list of “things Afton has successfully been introduced to.

After tacking up, it was off to the indoor for a nice little ride.  I was anticipating his usual self- the Afton that takes some urging to get going, and mostly stands at the mounting block, but what I got was something a little different.  Eager to get going, he sprang away as I mounted, and after one circuit of the ring insisted that it was TIME TO TROT.  C’Mon lady, what are you waiting for? 

He was very forward, taking no urging at all from me.  But he’s still quite directable- turning and circling, doing serpentines and rudimentary spirals.  He doesn’t get the bending thing quite yet, and likes to fall out onto his shoulder, but he learns quick.  Even at the canter, he remained that directable despite a little more speed than I’m used to from him.

We did have a little more trouble with “whoa” than we usually have.  He would slow or stop as requested, but the standing still thing?  Not so much.  He tried REALLY hard, but just couldn’t contain himself, wanting to sidle sideways, and starting to bounce a little.  By bounce, I mean “get excited” only, nothing actually came up off the ground.

In a normal horse, I’d attribute this slight change in attitude to things like- he’s being ridden at night, which is new to him.  Or, it’s his first real ride in the indoor.  Or perhaps it’s because there’s no other horses in there with him in that cavernous space.  But Afton is different, special.  Things just don’t bother him, he’s proven over and over that he’s got one of the best equine minds around.

So I came to the conclusion yesterday that Afton may secretly be a vampire horse.  Like Bunnicula (if anyone remembers that besides me, please leave a comment, it will make me feel like less of a dork).  Clearly, he likes to sleep and be verrrrry lazy during the day.  At night, he’s wide awake and bursting with energy.  The vegetation in his field is looking suspiciously sucked-dry of juices lately.  So what else could it be?

In other news, we have discovered Afton does not know what to do with a gingersnap, but likes black Twizzlers and the peppermint cookie things that he stole out of my horse’s treat bucket.

She’s baaaa-aack!

If anyone’s wondering why I haven’t written in what seems like years, it’s because Rosey was out on trial.  But… the lovely little bay wonder is BACK, which has me quite excited.  She’s going to go live on the Funny Farm for a while, so I won’t be able to ride her as often as I had been doing, but that’s alright, we’re headed into fall and winter, and there are other horses who need some basic boot camp.

When I got to the barn yesterday she was quite unhappy at being alone.  After a few minutes of coddling from me, she decided that wasn’t quite good enough, and let out a scream that any Hollywood Damsel in Distress would envy.  While horses on the farm are used to hearing others scream, they all took notice of Rosey, and immediately four of the geldings from the neighboring field came galloping up the fence to vie for her attention. 

I spent a bit longer than I meant to watching her and laughing, as I was supposed to be meeting people out at the Funny Farm to visit the horses out there. 

So I got on my way, and once out at the other farm, had an excellent morning of cleaning and primping and pampering some ponies.  Once done with Big Daug, Whisper, and Klondike the Fat, I climbed on little Afton again, so we could get some pictures. 

He really couldn’t be better.  He didn’t stand at the mounting block quite as well as last time, but he only moved off when I was mounting- as long as I was just standing on the ground or the block itself, he was perfectly content to stand like a gentleman.  I know I make a big deal about this, but this is something most of these guys just don’t get at first.  At the track, jockeys are thrown up into the saddle while the horse is walking.  And for many of them, they don’t really like the mounting block because it makes you so much taller than them- the only time they’ve experienced that is when people are actually ON their backs, and they’re moving forward.  So to have a little three year old with track training stand so well (even if not perfect) is pretty impressive to me, and I gush just a little.

such a good booooie!

such a good booooie!

Then we practiced the basics- stop, turn, and go.  Today we even managed a canter, which he seemed unsure about at first, but as soon as he realized that I did indeed want a canter, he picked it up pretty quickly.  He seems automatic about his leads- I don’t ever really ask for them the first few times, especially on such a baby, but tracking right, he actually started to pick up the wrong lead, caught himself and reorganized, then went off on the right one.  Someday, someone more talented than I will have a very easy time teaching this guy lead changes.  The canter is super easy to ride, too- Rosey’s always feels a little quick to me the first few strides- this guy has a big enough step and is comfortable enough that it feels very balanced, even downhill and the first few strides. 
Yay Afton!
Yay Afton!

He does jaw at the bit a little- I was trying to stay as soft as possible and mostly rode on a loose rein.  Honest, I did 🙂

In addition to being really good in general, he also learned to trot ground poles under saddle.  All while the farm owner was moving loud and scary equipment around 🙂  It never ceases to amaze me how good most of these guys are, as long as you expect them to be. 
Now, hopefully I’ll be able to take Roseyness for a few spins this week, and actually update her blog with stuff actually about her.