Thoroughbreds With Good Heads
I start with that comment responding to something someone on another blog site said about Thoroughbreds. The remark was that if you didn't ride a Thoroughbred for a while that before you got on to ride again you would need to lunge or work the horse down first.
I have not ridden Tucker in weeks due to the lost shoes and consequent lameness. Today, I saddled him up, pulled myself into the saddle and walked off with nary a problem. Now, that was also after I had saddled up Toby who has not been ridden in a while either and taken him out on a hack in the woods. Once more, not a problem except one brief very "Toby second" when he thought he saw something strange in the cornfield.
My Boys are very "Thoroughbred," as well, with rather opinionated personalities and a relatively high sensitivity. Which brings me to Chance. He is no slug, by any means, but definitely a different sort from his pasture brothers. The big difference seems to be in how he tunes in, or rather does not tune in to me.
I remember when I first rode Toby, I was really impressed by how he instinctively wanted to stay under my seat. He was, from the first, just naturally inclined to react to my weight. Tucker was the same, although I am not 100% sure he actually cared if he stayed under me. But regardless, it was clear that he knew I was there and reacted to me.
Chance, on the other hand, is "his own man." If he wanders off track following his own gaze, it doesn't really matter that much if I am leaning the other way. He has a very solid feel in his body as if he is well grounded, which might be the big difference. He seems to connect to the earth while Toby and Tucker have a much more "airbound" feel. I think it is both physical and mental.
At any rate, in case you haven't yet figured it out, I rode Toby on the trails. Then I did a short school in the arena with Tucker, mostly to see if he felt sound. I would not say he was 100%, but he was nearly 99.9% with just a step here and there that I would normally ignore were it not for the lost show syndrome aftermath. What was a big plus was that he took both canter leads without a protest, so the acupuncture seems to have worked. I finished up with a mini-hack just on the loop in the woods directly behind my property. I think Tuck really enjoyed that.
I didn't even bother to work Chance in the arena but instead took him right out for a hack. He is so funny out there. Even though I am clearly attempting to steer and choose our path, he will try to make his own decisions on which way we should be going. When he does, his body just goes off in that direction almost as if he is drawn by a magnetic charge. As I noted above, he really does not tune in to me unless I insist. He's never really "bad," just more interested in doing his own thing. He was even funnier when we got back home and I opened the gate back into the arena from the saddle. Instead of walking in, Chance just stood there, leaning back towards the trail heading out into the woods again. It took me four tries to get him to finally go in.
He surely does have a mind of his own. *LOL*
And it is now official...the farm across the woods is saved! It was announced at a press conference today. The house dates back to the 1600's---about as old as it can get for a house here in the USA. On the top floor are intact slave quarters and there are two historic cemeteries on the property. Along with the house are well over 100 acres of prime farmland. Here in one of the most densely populated states in our nation, this is something truly special.