Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pie Leads the Way and Red Plays Soccer

Today was a three-horse day - and I spent almost 4 hours in the saddle, and lots of wonderful stuff happened, so things couldn't be much better.  I started out in the early morning riding Dawn.  We worked in the indoor on her being able to start off soft at the walk - some progress on that - our consistency is greater.  We also did some very nice trot and trot/canter/trot work in both directions - some of the transitions were pretty nice.  A nice rinse off and a bit of hand grazing to follow . . .

By the time I was done with Dawn, two other boarders were getting ready to go on the trail and asked if I'd like to come along.  I said yes and hiked out to collect Pie.  After a minimalist grooming - saddle and girth area, flyspray and foot picking, we were ready.  It was Pie's first long trail ride at the new barn - we were out almost two hours - and he did exceptionally well.  He was with two geldings he didn't know well - they're in a different herd - but he was happy to be with them. He led, he followed, he trotted in company in front and behind, and he dealt really well with everything we encountered.  He even led the way across the wooden bridge over the creek when the other horses didn't want to cross (he'd never seen it before but just did it because I asked) - he was a little nervous but marched right across.  We encountered several bicyclists - he was slightly nervous for the first one but was indifferent to the others.  When he got a bit tired on the way back, I got off and walked with him for a while.  He seemed pretty happy to be out and around.  Although it was pretty hot, he showed no signs of heat stress, and I also noticed that he wasn't sweating a lot on his neck - more on his hindquarters - this means he's using his body more correctly as the parts that are working the most tend to sweat the most.  Pie got a rinse and a hand graze before I turned him back out.

In the late afternoon, I rode Red.  Today was his first full day out with the other geldings, and when I went out to collect Pie I noticed that Red had a new friend - he's been sticking close to Pie but today he was staying with another gelding - a big bay who's pretty dominant in the herd.  When I had Red ready to ride, some other boarders had a large ball in the ring and were showing it to their horses.  There was also a platform for horses to cross, and one boarder was working with her horse to get it to cross.  Red did not seem worried about any of this.  I mounted up and we started our work.  The large ball was unattended for a bit, so I rode him up to it.  He clearly knew what to do with it - he lifted a foreleg and gently pushed it.  We rode all over the ring, herding the ball in front of us.  He seemed to really enjoy this - it made for a great walk warm up.  We then went on to have a very nice walk/trot/canter work session.  There were numerous very nice transitions, and his canter was balanced and relaxed.  After we were all done, and he'd had a rinse and a hand graze, we went back into the ring.  The platform was not in use, so I led Red up to and over it - no problem.  I also raised and lowered the big overhead door - his eyes got big but he stayed put on a loose lead and took it all in stride.

There's nothing better than a good day with three horses!

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