Blog .:. April 2014 3 Entries
This is from Fin’s second canter under saddle/first time with me riding.
Fin continues to be a conundrum wrapped up in an enigma.
He wants to be in everything, and once he gets in to it, he tries to eat it. I realize all babies, of any species, try to eat everything, because, well, you never know until you try it, do you? And sometimes you have to try it a few times, just in case.
Fin, however, seems determined to try everything, every time. The tack trunk he passes every time I bring him into the barn? Could be edible. So could the towels hanging on the rack (which he thoughtfully picks up and drops on the floor, which I suppose is his way of saying they need to be washed). So could the cat.
There is nothing safe or sacred. If it is there, he tries to eat it.
Surprisingly, he left the grazing muzzle on his pasture buddy; I had bets that he would take that off within minutes.
His fly mask, however, is gone. Probably forever. I was lamenting the fact that I am going to have to walk his pasture looking for it, but I got no sympathy—just a “what did you expect?” look.
The only reason I have not given him a jolly ball is that I suspect it would spend more time in the neighbors’ fields than in his. Or possibly on the road. God forbid he learn that he can throw things at cars—and I can totally see him figuring that out.
And yet, he still has not figured out small hole haynets. Conundrum, wrapped in an enigma.
Things are going well. We had a good lesson tonight, although he was very fussy with his head. At this stage in his training, I do not carry where he carries his head, but he was rooting and really just not happy about something. It might be the bit; I swapped his normal full cheek Happy Mouth out for a loose ring French link before the trail ride and I haven’t swapped them back. He has been fussy since, although tonight was worse than usual. We’re going to try a few different bits on him and see if he likes something different—maybe he doesn’t like the loose ring, or maybe he doesn’t like the French link. He was trying to eat through his Happy Mouth, so I don’t really want to go back to that.
The other possibility, of course, is that his teeth are bothering him. He’s due to be checked again in June, but he is young and young horses pop caps left and right. If changing the bit doesn’t make a difference, we’ll just move his checkup up.
And in other news, I went camping last weekend and spent the evening watching the sun set and then the stars come out in the middle of nowhere. It’s so easy to forget,when you live in a big city with lots of light pollution, just how amazing the night sky really is.
Then on the way back to my campsite, I was dive-bombed by some sort of massive beetle that either wanted to obliterate my flashlight from the earth or meld with the light in some sort of transcendent union. It was hard to tell which. I retreated into the safety of my tent, since the beetle thingies (there were more than one) didn’t seem to care if they collided with me or the light, hoping I could spend a little time reading. But no. They decided to dive bomb the tent instead. Relentlessly.
I have no idea what these suckers were, but I will say one thing: they would make very, very effective babysitters. The speed with which they got me into bed and my light turned off was pretty darn amazing. Traumatic, but oh so effective.
I confess: I’ve never seen A River Runs Through It. That could be a totally inappropriate title choice.
Since my last update, I have cantered Fin. We may never trot again; his canter is sooooo comfortable.
Then we decided to go on a trail ride with a group from the barn.
The beginning of the ride was great—he was alert and had lots of go, but he was behaving very well for a baby on his first trail ride. He didn’t want to stop and stand at the beginning, so we were walking circles when the group needed to halt. He wasn’t spooking or being obnoxious about it, however; he just wanted to be on the move. Patience will come with time and experience.
Everything was going very well, in fact, until we had to cross a stream.
And when I say stream, I mean a trickle of water maybe two or three feet wide and a couple inches deep.
All the other horses crossed but he was having none of it. I ended up having to dismount to lead him through. Or so I thought. He was having none of that, either. Nor was he going to back through it. Another rider dismounted so I could lead and she could encourage him from behind.
Eventually, he jumped across the water. And the trail. And up a slight rise on the other side of the trail. Fortunately I was holding him by his halter and lead, not his bridle, so he didn’t get caught in the mouth or brought up short by the reins. He looked a little surprised (and maybe pleased) with himself.
Since he crossed, we made a big deal of what a good boy he was, I remounted, and we continued on like nothing had happened.
Until the next streamlet.
And the next.
And the next.
Rather than make a big deal about it and stress him out, I dismounted and led him through. He got better with each crossing. He didn’t repeat his over-exuberant jump, and after a few crossings he was being so good that we led the group across one or two of the more challenging crossings.
Another rider ponied us over the last crossing, and that went pretty well. We’re going to start with ponying on the next ride and see how that goes. He’s just young and inexperienced right now—I’m not worried about this as a long-term thing. He got better with every crossing on this ride, and even when the crossing itself upset him, he went back to being calm and relaxed as soon as he was over it. He didn’t stay frazzled, and I think that’s a major accomplishment for a young horse.
Afterwards, he stood quietly at the trailer, munching on hay like a pro while we had lunch.
The only real problem, actually, is that he wanted nothing to do with the water at the facility. I ended up giving him the water I brought along in a cooler, which he approved of. He hasn’t had a problem drinking when we trailered out for lessons, but I’ll start playing around with Gatorade flavors just in case he decides to be picky at some other location.
All in all, it was a really super first trail ride for him, and I’m very happy with how the day went. I don’t know when we’ll go out again, but I’m looking forward to it.
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