We managed to get everything finished around the house before the afternoon was up, and since the weather was still holding up, I decided to head out to the barn to vaccinate Mr. MoonSox. I'd been putting it off long enough, and just wanted it finished. Technically, it's still not!
I rubbed down his neck with some peroxide to "try" to make it a sterile dose, and gave him 1 mL of Tetanus on one side of his neck, and 1 mL of West Nile in the other. Apparently, he gets his flu in two weeks too. He was an awesome boy, giving me nothing more then a slight flinch on either side. No rearing, nothing crazy. He's wonderful.
I gave him his usual grooming, and am DREAMING of giving him a proper bath with a garden hose. Never gotten to do that with him, and am wondering how he'll take it...
I went to tack him up, and since my purple pad was still at home, I used the white pad again. And thought...hmmm...it'd be nice to use the matching girth again. So I first taped him, to find he's about 1123 lbs. Not sure if that's up or down, but I wrote it down anyway. Maybe someday I'll track it properly : P
I also tried again to see how tall he is. I do believe, that he's either 15 hh, or just a hair under 15.1. CRAZY. I suppose the height feels perfect for me after all the hours I put on the polo ponies. It's just something about a small horse, that I can hop on and off of, that I just take to. Heck, I can bounce onto him from the ground. Which is a lot closer when I fall! I really can't explain it. I know the current 'fashion' is to have great tall skinny horses, but something about my short thick Moon is just perfect for me. Maybe it's because I'm tall and skinny myself. We balance one another out this way!
Anyway, I pulled out the black girth, which is a 50" and was pleased to find that it once again fit him, with minimal effort to get it buckled. One hole on the far side, 2 holes on the near. Is my Moon losing weight??!
I snapped a couple pics of him in his cooler (still can't decide if I should sell, as I think it's snug on him), and a few in his pretty black tack. Silly goose kept following me around making it hard.
We went into the ring, and he stood pretty well for me to mount. I tried briefly to work him on the ground before hand, but am not nearly co-ordinated enough! Figured at least from the saddle I could focus on what I knew (kinda).
At first it wasn't going so well. He was resistive, and while at times would lower his head in response, his mouth would be open, and I'd be leaning up on his neck. I'm feeling VERY twisted in the saddle lately, and know I need to get that fixed.
After awhile of being frustrated, I decided I needed some guidance. Since no one was there to serve that purpose, I jumped off Moon, and while he grazed, in his bridle which is COMPLETELY against my rules, I grabbed every pole in the ring. I used a barrel and a cavelleti too, and made myself the outline of a circle. Then I remounted, and was able to use this 'circle' as my guide. I focus on it, instead of Moon's head or neck, and was able to use my legs better to guide him around, pushing him out when he was coming close to stepping on a pole.
Something about this change, allowed him to really get focussed too. While our stops were still crappy (he just HATES direct rein pressure back, and starts dancing everywhere), we were getting really good forward movement. To the right, he was moving beautifully at a walk. Carrying at times, his head lower then ever before. He was even moving with his mouth closed, which was perfect. We moved out to a trot slowly, and managed it without him lifting his head. Which meant it was fluid and not the slightest bit jarring. Beautiful. Granted after awhile he was head tilting or slowing down, but even then he kept a nice low head carriage. I was soo proud of him. He was chewing softly, and I knew I was able to maintain contact as I could FEEL him chewing. It was incredible.
Going the other way, I managed some lovely low carriage at a walk, but unfortunately our trot just wasn't there. Headed left he could still lower and move out to the trot without raising his head, but after moving into trot he'd brace against the bit and open his mouth. Ah well. We made and were making such excellent progress, and I decided let's end on a great note. We did a few more laps at a walk, and then I called it a day.
Actually, I'm one of those people who doesn't understand 'ending on a good note', and decided we needed to practice opening a gate from horseback. So I remounted outside the ring, rode him over to the large gate, and got it open. And swung it wide, rode through, and got it put back. Could just NOT quite get him to move close enough for me to relatch it. Dang! But he had done so well, that I figured I should appreciate what I have.
So he got a handful of treats, and I once again, wasn't content to let our success lie! I mean, we vaccinated, we rode on the bit, and we got the gate open. Why NOT try to see if he'd stand the fly mask I bought him? I mean, we're nearing that time when he's going to need it, and the last time I tried it, he was REALLY nervous of the thing. No surprise, after one ear-back moment, he accepted it, so I took him handgrazing to make sure he was okay.
And he wandered off on me!
Chasing him down, and vowing to not be so trusting of a hungry horse next time, I watched as a galloped across the paddock. He's such a pretty mover!
So when he finished his antics, I removed the mask and bridle and let him go back to his hay. After he stopped for a quick snuggle and treat. That's my Moon!
Unfortunately, tomorrow is supposed to be rain, so we MIGHT get one more practice in on Tuesday morning...not sure, but here's hoping. Also, T might not be able to make it to my Wednesday lesson, so I might be solo on that one too. Which kinda sucks.
Is this going to be lesson #4 already? It seems like time is just flying by!