September 27, 2010

Nose to the wind and trot!

Willy was happy to see me today. His winter woolies are coming in more each time I see him. The day was pretty warm so I felt bad for him in all his fuzziness. I took him in to groom, he’s always covered in bits of hay and lots of dust so I take my time getting all the dirt flicked off his coat. Another gal came into the indoor arena to groom and tack up the mare she was leasing. We didn’t really talk just quietly groomed our horses in the coolness of the ring.

I got Willy tacked up and walked him around the yard practicing several stops. Sometimes I ask and ask and ask and after 10 or 20 steps he finally stops. I’m doing everything I know to ask him properly, I sit deep and press with my seat; and squeeze intermittently on the reins. As he keeps moving I apply more pressure to both seat and reins. I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, Divine responds well and I’ve done practice with her but then again she’s collected so stopping more quickly is perhaps easier.

I took Willy out to the neighborhood I like to ride in. A truck was backing up into a driveway to deliver hay and Willy wasn’t sure how to react to that. I reassured him and moved him slowly past the offending vehicle. I asked him for a trot, which started out fine as I posted but then the choppy pace increased to such a jarring nature. I asked him to slow a little but he just tossed his head and hollowed his back even more until I finally got him back to a walk instead. I need to get a lunge set and work on him with collection, I find it hard to practice sitting trot or posting trot on him with his neck up, nose out and back hollow. It can’t be comfortable for him either, it’s not an efficient way of moving and as a previous endurance horse trotting so stiffly I would think would have been a detriment over miles of trail. I tried several more times at the trot with Willy being just as ornery. Instead of feeling like I was fighting with him I decided to stay at the walk and enjoy the day.

We did some side passing or more like lateral movements to the side of the road but he was having some issues responding to that as well. Once I got back to the stable I worked on him with turn on the forehand and some side passing. He did a decent side pass to the right but really had difficulty doing it to the left, he kept wanting to back up. I wonder if I can work on that from the ground too, perhaps ground work will help with a lot of the issues I’m having with him. I’m not experienced enough to know if his trot is just his trot or if it’s so jarring because he is uncollected. Even when Divine is uncollected her trot feels smoother than his. Now Danilla, the Arab/Mustang mare I tried out to possibly lease earlier this year, had a trot to die for, ground covering but smooth. It was very easy to sit and I hadn’t done as much work on the sitting trot at that point! Oh well we’ll see how things go with Willy.

After the ride I roughed up his sweaty areas and walked him around the arena to cool down a bit. With his halter and the long lead I had I figured I’d see if he knew how to lunge. He didn’t, he kept trying to follow me around instead of moving off from me. I grabbed one of the school whips and used that to coax him away from me I didn’t even have to touch him with it. We eventually got it and I lunged him around in a small circle for a bit until his coat was dry and cool. Then I groomed him smooth and rewarded him with many carrots as I put him back into his pen with his buddy Two Socks. I think I can work with Willy a bit and see how things go with getting his trot more collected or at least more ride able, it will teach me a lot in the process.
Willy eatting hay with Two Socks at the right

I talked with Steve a lot this weekend about horse ownership, something about going on a trail ride on Saturday and the drive up there made it prime time to talk horsies. My goal for getting a horse is spring of 2012, hopefully then I can begin the search for a horse. I’d like to be able to buy the truck and trailer at that time too but we’ll see what we can find. I’ll most likely have some money saved towards the truck but I’ll go out and buy a horse and then later that year get the trailer and truck once I have the rest saved up. I want to buy both with cash so they won’t be a top of the line set just something that works well. The truck will be an older model with miles on it but mechanically sound, same thing with the trailer; nothing fancy just something to cart my horse out for a trail ride.

It seems very doable if I concentrate on getting the horse and worry about the truck and trailer later. Previously I wanted to get them all at the same time because of my desire to do endurance riding but if I get a 4 year old horse I really can’t do longer rides anyways until the horse is 6 years old per AERC rules. The first year or two I have the horse I really should work on basic dressage training in the ring and where ever I have the horse I’m sure there will be trails or places to ride nearby until I have a rig. I’ve seen that some people even have 3 year olds that are started under saddle, granted I wouldn’t want to ride them too hard for a year since they are still young but I find that interesting and I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not. In Equus it was stated that the last bones in the body to fully calcify are the vertebrae and that tends to be around age 5; the cannon bones calcify sooner but still, at a young age you don’t want to put too much strain on their legs and tendons. I guess with the current plan a 3-4 year old might be the best age for me to look, with the intent that at age 5 I would start working on limited distance training and at 6 maybe doing the first distance ride.

I’m just thinking out loud. It’s such an exciting prospect and fun to plan for owning a horse as a definite thing! Steve even seemed up to the idea of getting a second older horse (I’m thinking a cute quarter horse, paint or grade horse) that he could learn to ride on and my mother or friends could ride; so a beginner safe horse. Eventually he wants his own Arabian and to join me on the trail but we’ll have to see how much he gets into it. Oh to dream! 2012 is not that far away so I need to get planning and working hard on the debt snowball! Allrighty then, I’m off to go do that!

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