March 20, 2013
No Longer Playing with Breyer Horses!!
This Saturday I had a long time childhood friend, Jessica, come visit with her husband. Jess and I have known each other since we were in 4th grade. We were next door neighbors and went to school together through high school. We played Breyer horses and took riding lessons from many of the same instructors. She's been in Wyoming the past few years so it's been awesome to get together and reconnect while she's out west.
She and her husband came down this weekend and the plan was for her and I to play with horses for the morning. This time the horse I owned was not 1:12 scale and plastic!! I asked Phoebe at the barn to borrow a horse, she thought Maz (Maserati) would be a perfect choice. Jess hasn't been regularly riding so we didn't want to have a handful of a horse for her. Our whole plan was just to walk around the arena and enjoy a nice easy time on horseback.
We arrived at the barn, the only person present was Floro. It was quieter than I'd ever experienced! Normally on Saturday mornings there are dressage lessons for the Friesian and the warm blood but even though they were on the calendar the ring was vacant. Sweet! We went and grabbed Dani.
We were greeted by the usual entourage of horses, Rock, Jolie (Jodie?) and other equines I haven't been formally introduced to. We meandered our way through the probing noses to Dani who stood with her neck arched in that gorgeous Morgan way and her ears pricked forward in the hope that a treat accompanied these two legged visitors.
After grabbing Dani we got Maserati from the small pasture adjacent to the north pasture. His paint horse friend was interacting with Dani over the fence and trying to bite at her as she waited. She was not happy and several squeals erupted. We finally took Maserati in tow, Dani pinned her ears a couple times but abrupt jerks and a NO seemed to squelch that for the moment as we led them both into the barn.
Jess and I worked on grooming our horses and then getting them tacked up. I assisted Jess since it'd been a while for her (something I can totally relate to!). The jumper saddle for Maz was funny to put on since I am now used to longer billets of dressage saddles and had to find the right adjustments so the girth would fit him well. One thing with Maz that Phoebe forgot to tell me and apologized afterwards about was that Maz has issues with his hocks. Hoof picking can be difficult since he has spasms in his legs when picked up to that height. I thought he was trying to kick me but he didn't have a malicious look on his face so I guessed something was hurting and decided to forgo the back hooves. SO glad I didn't smack his butt in a reprimand! Dani used to kicked out a little when I first got her and I stopped that right away since I'm very sure it's not a physical issue just a Dani thing that needed to be retaught.
Once we got the horses tacked up I helped Jess get on Maz. She really didn't need any help with the mounting block but the reassurance of someone being there to hold Maz in case anything funny happened is something I can completely understand. I then brought Dani over to the mounting block. She started balking at it and moving away. Really?? This again?? If horses teach you nothing else, they teach you patience! So I moved her around the block with me standing on it and led her up to it several times. Rinse and repeat. Eventually she stood like I know she can and I mounted up.
Jess and I stayed at the walk and just meandered around the ring. I did a few circles and serpentines and of course practiced the stops. Most were not that good but I had a few good ones. We'll work on it, I think I also want to try a new bit...something milder like a french link. The single jointed bit I have is not really a D ring but it seems to flip around when I lead her. Loose ring french link snaffles may be the key and who knows may help with stopping and help with softness. It's worth a try since I'm reading more about bits and think Dani probably does not like that "nutcracker" effect of the single jointed bit.
Jess and I rode and chatted, Dani was a mare a couple times as we walked next to Maz but I reprimanded her with a half halt and a NO. I still kept the distance between the horses since I didn't want anything bad to occur. I probably talked too much about Dani and how much I learned from her but I'm sure Jess understood...we grew up horse crazy girls so chatting about horses ad nauseam was par for the course...and sometimes is still that way for me! I think Jess really enjoyed Maz and was comfortable being back in the saddle. Awesome!
We had a great time relaxing and riding in the indoor all by ourselves. I'm so glad I got to spend this horsie time with Jess especially since it seems that soon Kevin might get another assignment and I won't have her so close by! Time with a friend doing something you both love is just priceless!