Anyone who knows me, knows that I think my horse is the best thing created since apple pie. It's true. With the recent barn move, I've not only had the opportunity to see my boy in a variety of new situations but I've also gotten to watch a lot more horses and riders and handlers.
Take this evening. It was farrier trim night. Add in a part-boarder coming out, a potential part-boarder coming out, the neighbour coming over to practice in the ring PLUS every horse owner present, you have one PACKED place. And a perfect assortment of horses and riders.
It's a little overwhelming at first when you see that many people and horses. For me. I came from a private place originally, where it was rare if I was riding with anyone else at all. And then it was just T and we NEVER rode in the ring at the same time. One would ride in the front pasture while the other had the ring. We just had a ton of space and were so fresh that it was easier then colliding.
I *thought* our move to W's would have led to more group riding. Occasionally it did. But in her MASSIVE arena, the most was ever 3 for some reason.
Suddenly I find myself in an arena 1/2 the size with two other riders and two more half tacked...and one about to start tacking! Oh my!
Now I gotta admit, it was kinda nice to be able to practice in a true show-type situation. Horses everywhere, doing everything, cantering around and having to keep your horse's focus. We struggled a bit with that, but I still loved having the practice. Especially with our first show being NEXT WEEK!
Unfortunately Moon's back is still tender and when I peeled back the skin flap today I was greeted by some puss. I don't think I'd cleaned that far up yesterday, so I suspect a little dirt got up there. I cut off the excess skin flap, scrubbed the pussing spot with some wipes and then sprayed everything with blue wound spray.
No joke, I love that stuff!
...and it kinda makes the bald patches blend in. ; )
Since it was a bit too fresh for any under-saddle work, I did the next best thing. I rode bareback again. Though I opted for the comfort of my 1/2 pad under my butt, for the added cushioning and support it offers with the Thinline material. And I can seriously feel it.
We worked mainly at a walk, just trying to get him to soften and loosen up. He's like a little knot. I can't even get him to turn on the fore to the right. Ger. So lots of spiraling in and out of the circle, asking for counter flexion and then returning to spirals. I could feel him improving as we worked, though he still has a long way to go.
I love that he tries, and I did get a really nice t-o-t-f to the left! Leg yield attempts were crummy for a boy who normally loves them, and shoulder-in was a joke!
But, despite the audience, I decided to try out canter departs again.
I should probably mail last week's clinician a cheque. And send W an apology.
I apparently had been looking for our canter in the wrong place. *facepalm* Because in 15 minutes the clinician had found it sitting RIGHT THERE in the open, and tada, we've got canter departs. In the bad direction to boot.
I'm reeling. We.did.canter.departs.bareback a bunch of times successfully. Of them all, we had one where he struck-off and then quit (our first one), and then one where he almost struck off and then chose to trot instead. But beyond that, I was actually able to CUE the canter.
And then sit there and ride it down the long side of the ring.
And it was kinda nice.
Now, this could very well be the result of his regular lunging sessions under the control of the Black. Or this could be my new found way of doing things. Or maybe he's too tired to gallop anymore? Maybe the slight change in feed has helped?
More then likely, Moon'ers thinking "FINALLY!! 8 months for her to finally figure it out! Anyone want to trade humans? Mine's a n00b"
I'm still dancing around about it. I swear folks at the new place think I'm a tool for all my complaints about canter. "Oh, my horse can't canter. Whoops, look at us canter around bareback, with two other horses, 4 days after moving to a new place. No, no, I swear he can't canter". : P
But he can't! I don't even know what's going on and I'm concerned that once the Black stops lunging him, or he starts eating more, or I put a saddle on, it'll all go back down the crapper!
Anyway, his farrier trim was great and the farrier is really happy with how his feet are changing. I believe her exact words were "Wow, look how their shape has changed! They no longer look like skis!".
That's a good thing! : ) I plan on continuing our Durasole routine and will keep it to twice/week. I applied it again today with his freshly trimmed hooves and am REALLY happy with the job she's done. 6.5 weeks without a trim and he's been sound, happy AND not one chip!
Back to my original story already.
People and their horses.
Many of the bloggers I follow have been evaluating their relationship with their horse lately. I had a similar discussion with T about a horse she got and quickly found she doesn't like. You have to view them like any relationship. If you're not enjoying it, it's scarey and you don't want to show up for the dates, get out of there.
Don't feel bad about it, don't think you're "no good" or "not talented" or shouldn't have a horse, or don't deserve to be happy. If you recall from all of your failed high school relationships, this is all a big fat lie, and you secretly rock and deserve to find the partner that makes you more then you are. And THAT is a good thing!
Keeping in mind all the people who are evaluating their match with their horse, I was thinking about the riders and their horses at the barn.
You see, it becomes more and more obvious to me that Moon is my perfect horse. I can appreciate other people's horses, their shape, movement, behavior, etc., but I really, really don't have a disposition meant to be making it long term with a lot of these guys.
Sure, I could be friends with them, we might go out for the occasional movie or picnic and have a great time, but long term, it just wouldn't lead to that warm tingly feeling you get whenever you see that special someone. Or MORE importantly, you wouldn't be able to tolerate the fact they leave the toilet seat up and you occasionally fall in, or that they have an obsessive addiction to Red Dwarf and you've officially watched it 482 times. Instead, with the right partner, you find it "cute" instead of trying to bludgeon them with the DVD case.
...or maybe you still do... ; )
Anyway, the one that stands out the strongest for me, is a big bay gelding who just moved back to the barn. I've blogged about this guy before. I nearly bought him when he was a long three-year old. Today, he's about 5, tall, lean and moves really nicely. Has that warmbloody look to him. Is probably going to sleep his way up the levels and PSG'ing around the barn before I've even managed to get the gate open.
Now, some people, other people, people looking to "make it", may look at him and think "Boy, wish I would have bought HIM."
I think "Wow, I'm glad SHE bought him!"
: ) I can't imagine ever being his owner. Not because there's anything wrong with him, not because he's not a gorgeous horse and not because he doesn't have a sane head on his body.
But because our personalities would never match. I've tried it before. It's clear to me. You see, he's a sweet boy, but he's lively. Spirited. Energetic. TALL. His owner? She has this commanding presence, this way of snapping on a lunge line and sending him around and despite their size difference, he listens. She's take charge. Clear. Direct.
Hi. I'm quiet. Soft. Meeky. Timid. The match? Horrible. His height alone makes me nervous! Never mind climbing the step ladder to get on him! And do you know how far it is to the ground??!
His rider? Loves him. And I love seeing them together. All while blessing the heavens that he's not mine!
My perfect match, is Mr. Moon. He's an easy horse. He just is. I'd say that talented riders would be bored with him, but having watched and spoken to W, he's willing to learn but requires specific enough methods that it's enjoyable to teach him. I mean, he's never gonna be passaging with the warmbloods, but good, bad or mediocre, riders can get on him and go. Safely and successfully.
Sometimes I feel like maybe he takes away from my skill of riding. I mean, he's so easy to ride, that being able to ride him isn't exactly a feat. Anyone and their dog could ride him around bareback, because he's seriously, a doll. And I do HONESTLY believe he WOULD carry your dog around on his back. He's just that laid-back. It's not my crazy skill that lets me lead my dog from his back, gallop down open trails or canter bareback. It's cause he makes it easy.
For me though, being a nervous, somewhat fearful rider, it's perfect. I ride for the fun of it. For loving it. I don't want to ever be scared or nervous on my horse. Every ride should be a blast and I should be able to do every crazy thing to him that I can dream up. And I do. Yes, a lot of your horses are challenging. Yes, a lot of your horses require a lot of skill to ride. Guess what? My horse looks after ME, and I'm glad to have it that way!