And Two Good Horses
I trailered Kelly's horse (my teenage rider) and Tucker over for a lesson yesterday.
Gabriel gave us both really good rides. I have to say he worked Kelly really hard. Her horse is a big warmblood type she uses mostly for jumping. He has had some dressage background, but Kelly has no dressage background. So, as most horses will, he takes advantage of her lack of understanding by putting his head up and just not working through his back.
She has qualified for the year end 4-H State show in dressage, so this was lesson two in a crash course on how to get the horse on the bit. She is an excellent student, but as most of you know, that "feel" for correctness can often take years of work to develop. Well, in that lesson, she was about an inch away from total success, and I must admit, when that horse goes correctly, he is really wonderful. If she can school him and herself like she did yesterday for the rest of the time before the show and...this is the big one....get him to also work at the show, all I can say is, "Wow!" I will be trailering her to the show and reading her tests, so I guess it will be at least partially up to me to get her warmed up for the tests.
And then there was Tucker.
Gabriel had decided that we needed to just "chip away" little by little at Tucker's "attitudes." So we did.
The remarkable thing to me about Tucker is that when I first start to ride him, the leg on or the spur just makes him more resistant and he'll back off. So then, I kind of coax him forward and as the ride progesses, he accepts the aids. For example, the first canter depart might be a kick out, but once he realizes I want a canter, it's a cinch. I don't know if it's personality or physical sensitivity or what, but I do know I just can't get on kick him forward and get on with it.
Anyhow, once the intitial "Make me," was over with, he really began to work. One of my half halts at the trot had Gabriel gasping with joy as he said Tucker sat right down on his hind end, elevated his hind legs in the trot and gave me a couple of beautiful piaffey steps.
At one point, I looked in the mirror and Tuck was in an upper level frame, very vertical, very up, and just looking grand.
But, get this. We worked for a solid 25 minutes and then just called it a day.
No problem for me. I'd rather spend 25 minutes of totally productive good riding than an hour of trying to get something any day.
Kelly had to go to work and I wanted to stay on to watch Stacie's lesson, so I had both horses to trailer home by myself. More on that later.
Stacie and her horse, Lucky, looked great. She's been taking a lot of clinic lessons and it really has improved her seat and position. And that is translating to Lucky's way of going. He is a big, big warmblood with a long back and she has had difficulty in getting him together to move up to the next level. Well, all her hard work is really paying off. He looked really good and some of her canter departs were absolutely wonderful! I think she too had a great lesson.
So, my next challenge was loading my charges in the trailer. Well, Tucker is no problem at all--kind of "point and click." Throw the lead rope over his neck, Head him up the ramp and he just goes in.
Sax, Kelly's horse, is a minimum two person operation and sometimes even balky at that. One person needs to lead him in and the other has to close the butt bar behind him.
Well, I decided to try it on my own. I led him partway up the ramp, Tossed the lead rope over his neck and...and... HE WALKED RIGHT IN! I don't know if it's because he likes Tucker, or if he wanted to go home, or if he likes my trailer....whatever! I was so proud of him. I gave him a handful of feed, a ton of pats and praise and wished I'd had more carrots.
The lessons aside, I think that was the best part of the whole day!
Aside from going to the Planning Board at night and witnessing them finally deny a warehouse application adjoining a residential development. (And I played a part in helping the decision get made the right way.)
I'll just have to mark the day as one of the better ones I've spent!