Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sizing things up.

It had been too long since I saw my buddy, so this morning off to the barn myself and the BF went. I hadn't given too much thought to what I'd be doing, but I was well aware that the BF probably wouldn't find it too enjoyable to watch me ride figures. To normal people, figures are a fancy word for going in circles around a ring.

Moon was feeling fresh, with only minimal damage to his blanket and lots of snuggles to give. We got him cleaned up and I finally unbraided his tail after more then a week. I love how curly they appear. Tacked up and into the ring, I hopped aboard. He was a good soul, clearly a little stiff and hot, but that's to be expected after the time off. Can't say I was much better. I warmed him in my figures and then knew I'd best get doing something more exciting as the BF started jogging laps around the arena. Hmmm...

Well, my first decision was to try a canter circle on him. Last week he made his first full circle and I hadn't tested him since. I stayed back and tried not to brace and asked. Feeling fresh as he was, he gave me a great big 'HURUMPH' as he transitioned followed by a 'UGH' and then around the ring we went. I should say, the noise was so loud the BF whipped right around and called out "Are you hurt?!". I slowed us back to a walk and let him know that it was Mr.Sassy-pants making all the noise, not I. You'd think he was trying to transition with an elephant on his back, the way he made that "UGH" noise. The BF was sweet enough to tell me that it sounded like it came from me, which was less then flattering.

We did a few more canter transitions, but he was rather hyped and sometimes took the wrong lead. Finally I asked the BF to lay out three pylons and we'd try some 'barrel-racing' in a cheesy gymkhana sorta way (not the gymkhana is cheesy, but it's closer to my barrel racing then the pros...).

Boy was I surprised when Mr. Moon swapped into canter to do those barrels, almost managing to switch leads in the process. Of course, that also meant me nearly on the ground and I quickly established that we may canter to them, but we trot around them.

It was fun to say the least, neither technical nor talented. Sometimes when you become used to focusing on 'working', it's nice to come back after a break and just have some silly fun. And that we did.

I finished him off with some proper schooling circles and practiced out neckreining again. Which he seems to understand pretty good, though not as well as one would expect of a western-bred QH...

I hopped off so the BF and I could measure his great big rump. Why? Trailer fit. My stalls are about 2 1/2" wide, and some people have told me that's too narrow for the modern QH. Well, Mr. Moonpie measured around 22" at the hip with his tummy sticking out slightly larger. The narrowest opening of the trailer is 29" and wider once you get past the gate. He seemed to measure fine all-around, height and length as well. Worst case I'll tell him to suck in his gut and let him travel with his head sticking out the back gate.

I'm joking of course. It should be a comfortable fit but not excessively roomy. The BF informed me that I can purchase no horse larger then Mr. Moon...sooo...another horse is okay?! ; )

Before I carry on with my story, I should mentioned we stopped by the trailer to take these measurements and while there, crawled under to look for brake flanges. These are the things that the brakes bolt to. My trailer has no brakes, but they need to be added (even if they were there, they'd likely need replacing).

If there is a flange, it's a *simple* process of unbolting the rims, bolting the backing plate to the flange, bolting the hub and drum to the backing plate, greasing the bearings, bolting the rim back on and of course, running the wiring. If there's no flange, we have to add one.

And no one in my city will even touch it, because it's "high risk". *sigh* No flange would mean purchasing TWO brand new axles...

I was rather worried there'd be no flange, but lo-and-behold today, flanges. On both axles. So it'll be a rather inexpensive and not too time consuming process to complete. Yippee!

Back to today. We measured Mr. Moon's rump and then I looked over at the BF, "Wanna ride him?"

The BF has only ridden Mr. Moon twice, once on a lead line, once Moon just followed me around. "Sure" he said.

I must say, that I do have pictures but the BF has run off with them. I should add, he had a really good natural seat, head-hip-heel. At first he was a bit tense and when Moon trotted off, he did as he'd do on his snowmobiles and gripped tighter. Yeah, doesn't work with a sensitive horse like Moon. Off the two of them trotted, both looking displeased.

I had my first opportunity to "teach" just a little bit, and it was a blast. The BF was a great listener on horseback, and it didn't take long before he was walk-halting him all over the place. What made it even more wonderful, was when he exclaimed "He's sooo sensitive! I just have to look left and he goes there!". So proud.

It was extra nice to see that the BF trusted me and held the reins most gently, never yanking back on Moon's mouth. Many first time riders can be a bit rein-heavy, but I'd say if anything, he was actually a bit too gentle. We tried a bit of trot, but the BF conceeded that it's one of those things you need practice and familiarity with. Still, they wandered all of the place unescorted, the BF assuring me that he was pointing Moon where he wanted, and Moon was listening.

What sweet boys!

It was just wonderful. The BF even agreed to ride again and work towards that trot, so maybe someday he could come trail riding with me. I actually wouldn't hesitate with a little more practice to pair the two of them up. : ) I also was quite certain that I do want to someday get my coaching certificate, as it's wonderful fun to teach. I never want to do the truly technical stuff like W or Bee, but to teach adults or children how to start, that would be a blast!

Almost as much as watching my two favorite boys ride off together. : )

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