First of all- everyone please say a small prayer for our rental property in Jacksonville, NC…right where dear Hurricane Florence is predicted to make landfall as a category 4 hurricane.
Specifically I’m going to need prayers that the house gets flattened and not just flooded, as we have extensive windstorm insurance coverage, but no flood insurance.
Everyone on the east coast, stay safe!
Ok, onto horse business:
12 days of rehab in!
P got his new shoes on.
Somehow managed to get a cut right on his poll under his forelock.
Which meant the bridle was out and rides would have to be done in a halter…not nerve-wracking at all to ride a fit TB who has been on stall rest the past week and half. Not at all. Luckily he’s been a complete star (knock on wood).
Even when we ventured outside of the arena.
He’s also been hanging with Husband every morning, who takes him out to graze while I’m at work.
That particular video earned him a few frantic texts back, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness. The more he can get out, even just to hand graze, the better.
But as exhilarating as walking in straight lines for 20 minutes per day IS….the thought that that would be my only riding for the next months was a bit painful.
After I snapped back to reality after my meltdown, BO and I talked about my riding S. Funny enough, of the 3 people that asked me to ride their horse, 2 of the horses are grey OTTB geldings. I don’t even LIKE greys, yet they keep finding me.
S is not particularly new to this blog, as he’s most commonly known here on the blog as P’s lover.
They also sometimes pass as each other’s body double.
But for how much they look alike, they’re veeeery different horses.
-P is more relaxed, S tends to hold some tension pretty much continuously.
-P is wildly inconsistent in his gaits- we zoom, then crawl, then dip right, then dip left (all in one 20m circle), S just keeps going until you tell him differently.
-P quickens towards jumps and waaay overjumps everything, while S is all, “No extra energy shall be expended.”
-P has a wonderfully elastic walk and trot, S takes much shorter and choppier steps.
-P’s canter is sort of hard to sit to, S is like sitting on a rocking chair. Seriously, when I would ride with BO, I’d be super jealous of how she could so easily sit the canter…until I sat on him and could instantly do the same. Majikal.
Considering I’ve pretty much ridden just one horse for the past several years, getting on another one was hard for me at first. Luckily S can take a joke, and I really liked riding him. I flatted him a couple times, jumped him a couple times, then the final test was an outing to Trainer B’s…
Since I went alone, no media exists, but it went well. S is pretty out of shape (BO has horses in training so S has been on the back burner for quite some time), and hadn’t been off the property other than a trail ride or 2 since May. He was a bit spooky in the arena, which wasn’t unexpected. If your horse can survive Trainer B’s arena, it can handle anything. There are flags waving, banners flapping, baby horses running, chickens walking about, and lots of shiny and spooky jumps/water trays, fillers, etc. After a few mini-spooks, he settled in pretty easily.
I warmed up then we got straight to the jumps. Trainer B said to warmup over the gate and I said, “K,” and turned S away. Then he goes, “Wait…can he jump this high?” And I said, “Uhhh, I don’t know.” So we were about to find out together. For reference, it’s this gate (P’s favorite):
So I picked up the canter, may or may not have held my breath, and S popped right over it.
Next we popped over the shiny shamrock jump. Nary even a peek.
And through a 2 stride- again, zero hesitation.
Until we finally found a weakness. These barrels:
The first time, I cut the turn to the barrels too short and he just did a bit of a drive-by. Ok, fine. Approached again, and he popped right over.
The we did the entire course again- Shamrock, to the 2 stride, to the gate, and finish over the barrels. This time he popped his right shoulder and again, went right past it.
Now…yes, it was wrong of him. But I literally couldn’t be mad or upset. Because it was so….gentle. I’m used to the psych-out move perfected by P:
But still, not jumping is a no-go, so we schooled it several times, with a strong right leg and open left rein, and he went over it with no additional issues. Came around and did the course again, and he was good as gold.
So he passed the Trainer B test, so I’ll be mainly riding him until P recovers or he sells. We definitely have some things to do- increasing his fitness being the first priority.
Trainer B did nail him on his lack of adjustability at the canter (something he’s quite picky about with every horse), so yay, I get to work on that some more. But it’s something that was quite obvious- I would go to press him forward and nothing would happen. Then I would go to collect slightly and he’d break to the trot. So we’ll be addressing that ASAP and I know will become easier as he gets back into the groove.
While I definitely wish I could be on my own horse, I have the feeling S is going to be quite fun.