Friday, April 17, 2009

Horse time

I need to be brief because I really should be working on physics right now. I took my dad to the hospital for his post-op checkup this morning(he's doing great).

Then I spent all afternoon and evening with the horses! Yay! It was so warm (lower 70's) that I just HAD to get out and play. The hardest decision I had to make today was which horse to work with because I know I'd only get time to do one. I chose Chico, since I decided he needed some extra attention after trying to not be caught yesterday. I saddled him up (first time this year with the saddle), and took him to the neighbor's outdoor arena. My neighbor and I talked about liberty work, then I let Chico loose and let him move around and explore, then asked him to lunge around me. When he stayed close and came to me when asked, I gave him a treat. He will do anything for a treat. If I'd had a treat on me yesterday, he probably wouldn't have evaded me...little turd. Then I mounted and walked, trotted and cantered the cloverleaf pattern to get him to slow down and pay attention and collect himself through his turns a little. There is definitely room for improvement, but he did better toward the end. He got pretty sweaty since it was so warm today. At the end, I let him air up and we practiced leg cues and side passing. He is now tuned up on leg cues and will move off a one leg cue rather than jumping to the trot like he was before.

After the arena work, I decided to go for a ride. My dad was at home (a couple miles away on the other side of our tiny "village" (only a couple hundred people at most live there). I though he might like a little visit from Chico and I, so we braved the very busy interstate bridge (had to go under it), road signs for construction, fire hydrants, lots of cars, grates covering culverts, and the super scary horse eating manhole covers. He was eager to go, but was very uncertain about all these new things. Chico's never been around this stuff before! We usually ride in the canyon, or take lessons at a facility in the country. These were all firsts for him. He was uncertain, but went ahead and was pretty level headed. The one thing that really unnerved him were the manhole covers. Some were in the roads, but most of them that we encountered were actually in the grass alongside the country road. All of the area we rode through has recently been annexed into the village, so they put in "city" water. I finally got sick of circling him around them until he wasn't afraid, so finally, on one of them, I dismounted, led him to it, knelt down and patted it with my hand, then he was brave enough to walk up and sniff it (I'd shown him it wasn't going to hurt us). Once we got to our place, my dad snapped a photo and fed Chico an apple. You can see that he was quite alert and watchful.

On the way back, he was much more relaxed, walked much more slowly, and this time, actually approached and checked out all the things that were making him concerned when we went through the first time. He's such a cool horse. It seems like everything was new at first, so he was on high alert, but after the trip back, it was the second time he'd seen things and he hadn't died yet (I showed him that the scariest thing was actually okay), so then he approached the others to assure himself that they were okay too.

After we got back, I led him to the pond because I thought he might roll in it. He was very excited about the water and pawed and pawed at it. Once he almost laid down in it, but I think he just wasn't quite comfortable enough. Maybe next time he will.

He was back to his usual self after I turned him loose...he waited for his pat before he walked off.

Oh, and tomorrow, I am heading to Madison for the Midwest Horse Fair. I have tickets to watch the EMM finals Saturday night. I'm excited, but it looks like I'll be heading down alone. That's okay.

Well, so much for being brief.


Linda said...

That is cool!! What a great horse to handle all that--and you must live in an awesome place!!

Tracey said...

Brave girl and brave Chico for taking that ride!

Have fun at the Midwest Horse Fair this weekend!