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.