Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again! Part 2

Back in the Saddle Again! Part 1

At first I thought there were two perfect candidates for this ride. One is Dandy and the other, Legs. Since Dandy, Rachel and Grandma have some issues to resolve, the stallion was the obvious choice. I was really looking forward to our ride.

Legs was probably glad to see me although that's not what he said. The horse stood back in the corner shaking his head at me and stomping his foot. He was definitely telling me off for all the time I'd neglected him. Just like his mother, Scandalous, who used to go into the corner, turn her butt to me and pout because I had been gone, this horse clearly let me know he was upset with me.

Normally I'm not crazy about dealing with crabby horses, but this kind of crabby actually makes me feel kind of good. There's something warm and fuzzy feeling about knowing your horse has missed you, don't you think?

I peeled off his ton of clothes while he just kept on shaking his head. It was clear he was going to be a bit naughty. After all he had a point to make. Just because he'd been cared for didn't mean that I could abandon him. I laughed as he gave me just a little shove and then lightly rubbed his head against my arm. He was definitely glad to see me.

Leading the horse across the arena to the cross ties, he still kept up his attitude. With a bit of prancing and a bit of talking and still lots more shaking his head, the horse let me know he was glad to be getting out of that stall and doing something. This horse loves to work.

As we turned into the barn aisle, the stinker pulled me over towards Hope's stall. Knowing he's not supposed to be talking to girls, he just has to make me pay a little whenever he feels neglected. He stuffed his muzzle through the bars of her stall, puffed up and screamed that sexy to mares , "Don't ya want me!" call of his.

Pulling him away from her stall took little effort because it really wasn't about talking to her as much as it was about telling me! Like I said, he gets naughty! Not big, dangerous, naughty, that's not his style. But just these little things that say "I know better but YOU left me!"

Of course, he had to squirm a bit in the cross ties, shake his head as I tried to clip him and paw when I tried to put his polo wraps on. The horse knows all the things to just make it a hair harder to get him ready to go. He doesn't want to discourage me all together, just push my buttons a bit. But I just laugh! After all, it's nice to be missed. I missed him too.

Most people I know do lots of lunging before they ride. I only do it with the young horses and usually the stallions. But Legs is past that stage. He is such a good boy, no matter how fresh he is.

Once I throw my leg over him, the horse usually goes right to work. He really hates the lunge line so we have a deal. He behaves and I don't lunge. With the cold I've had, I didn't want to stir up the dust before I ever got near the saddle anyway. so we passed on lunging and went straight to mounting.

I knew he wasn't going to stand still when I tried to mount. And he didn't disappoint. The horse swung his butt away from the wicker stool/mounting block. Yes! the one that bucked me off. It was only a half-a**ed attempt to avoid. He moved right back into place and stood quietly while I climbed aboard. Just one more thing to say the horse was clearly glad to be back to work.

I had to ask Legs to move forward. He didn't even try to cheat and walk off on his own. I really didn't do much more than a warm-up. I didn't want to push my luck with this cold. Just being back in the saddle was going to be good enough for me. No big ideas or lofty goals for this first ride, just enough to fill my heart.

I did lots of flexing and bending, some two tracking or half passing. The horse was as responsive as ever. He tries so hard to please. He is such a pleasure to ride.

Mostly for six weeks he's been just lunged a couple of times a week and been turned out the few times the weather permitted. He still was such a good boy. You'd think I hadn't taken any time off at all, he was right where we left off. If I can just ride, I actually think we might make it to the show ring this year.

His lope is finally getting awesome. And his transitions are getting pretty awesome too. His bad way has become his good way. And his new bad way isn't far behind. This horse is finally beginning to perform to his capabilities. It's been a long hard road but worth every step. This horse is such a kick to ride!

Unfortunately, it wasn't long after I got off the horse, I began coughing again. Last night wasn't good, even Dave noticed that my cough had gotten worse. So I didn't go back to the barn today but the plan is to go tomorrow. Cross your fingers!!

The coughing today hasn't been much better but it's still much improved from a few days ago. If it gets worse, I'll make arrangements to see a pulmonologist. (I had planned on seeing one last year but by the time of the appointment arrived, my asthma quit bothering me so they advised me to wait.) In the meantime, I can't help but think about heading back to the barn. Even thinking about this ride makes me smile. I really needed that.

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  1. All of the photos of the horses are stunning.

    Glad you are back in the saddle. That's tough to do if you can't get back on straight away. Well done.

  2. This cold that's going around this year is awful. I've had that cough off and on since Sept. Kissy still has it really bad but the Docs just say that you've got to just work through it. It's awful. I hope you feel better soon. :)

  3. Healing vibes going your way! :)

    One of my clients' horses is a bit like you described your stallion - he would be really sulky if she is away (sometimes I can't even catch him as he just wonders away) and on the first day that she is back he is mega bolshy and almost rude (which he never really is otherwise).

  4. I am guessing you guys stirred up some dust and that made you cough or your up and down jarred something loose. Anyway, you need to see a doc about it I would guess. I have asthma and emphysema and not fun in cold weather.

    I did read the entire post and enjoyed it a lot. I know a lot about animals and can read some of their actins and talk but not that familiar with horses anymore. Have been away from them for a long time. But what I read sounded familiar to me and makes a lot of sense.

    Dogs and horses are kind of social animals I think.

  5. Wonderful post! Glad you enjoyed yourself as did Legs. I haven't ridden "D" since it got cold and I can't tell you how excited I am for this cold to finally go away so I can get back to work with him. I think he's getting a bit antsy to do something as well as the last time we were out he called to us when we pulled int he driveway and then walked along the fenceline following the truck as we left. And he's been a little "naughty" as well...doing a lot of the stuff you've been discribing and more...the head shaking, turning the butt towards me (although the moment I say "fine...see ya later Diago" and start walking away...he turns back around and calls back to me like "hey...wait...I didn't mean you have to leave", rubbing his head on my arm, trying his best to chase everyone else in the pasture away from me (although that rarely works for long if at all as he's NOT very high fact if he's not the bottom ranked horse we'd be surprised), etc. Anyway, hope you get to ride again soon and your cough goes away!! ((HUGS!!))

  6. That's so sweet. It's funny that he has to make you pay a little for neglecting him - like a jealous boyfriend!

  7. Glad to hear you had a good ride, hope you feel better soon.

  8. I hope you feel better soon. I don't ride, I'd probably fall right off, but I do enjoy thinking about riding . . .

    Love your gorgeous pics.

  9. Your pics really take my breathe away. The horses are just stunning....


  10. I hope you feel better soon!

  11. I thought I had posted on this entry yesterday but obviously didn't. The mind is going LOL.

    I know exactly what you mean, Lori and Wiggle are a bit like that too but I still have to form a stronger relationship with both of them, Lori is 7 this year and if I have ridden her 2 dozen times that is a lot!! Isn't that sad. After Wiggle came back from the "trainer" in such bad condition last year she has been recovering and things have got so hectic so I never got to see if he taught her anything so have never ridden her and she is 4 now. Blue I have sat on two or three times and that is it and he is 5, we are pretty buddy buddy because of the time I spent dressing that wound for 4 odd months every day on his leg. He sulks the most when I dont pay him attention or get him out for a run.


  12. Your horses are really beautiful. I've always loved horses, though I've never ridden much. I have a friend who has raised Arabians, too. Horses. How can you NOT love them? They're majestic, intelligent, gorgeous animals. And their muzzels (I guess that's the correct name) are the most velvety pleasure to rub.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, too! And, the hot cocoa mix is pretty tastey esp. in the cold weather. Hope you try it some time and let me know how you like it!

    Eat chicken soup. It does wonders for colds and other ailments. I love fixing it and sharing it with friends and family. Hope you get well, soon. I hate getting the awful bronchitis, pneumonia cough mess! I've had it soooooooooooo many times. It ain't no fun!