You know, the second the weather turned decent again, I’ve had exactly zero time, energy or brainpower to form more than one coherent typed sentence at a time. I cannot brain, I haz teh dumb. *flail!*
So, in short:
1. Simba was accosted by Chad the Vet last Friday from all ends. He had his teeth floated, his vaccines updated, and his sheath cleaned (under a lovely happy pony cocktail). He was an angel for most of it, though he clamped his tail and scooted something fierce when Chad went to take his temperature. Chad said Simba just wasn’t “that kind of horse”. I about peed my pants laughing. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my vet?
2. I rode him briefly before Chad came (it was a “hey I’m in the area can I poke your horses with needles?” type deal), and he was juuuust a little on edge. He chilled out after some schooling circles in the paddock and we gaited around kind of aimlessly for a half hour before I hopped off. It was entirely unproductive but outside of his coiled start, he was paying attention and made attempts to do as I asked.
3. Saturday he got the day off — he looked just a bit punky from the shots and was a liiitttllleee too quiet. I took advantage of the little bit of free time, as I was also house sitting, and…well, I slept. A lot. A+.
4. Sunday we toodled in the paddock again, as Tory was definitely still off from her shots and long trail rides by our onesies are not in the cards just yet, so we did some gait work in the paddock again. The paddock is basically a giant hill, so we were able to do some hill work weaving back and forth across the paddock. He was soft and responsive, especially since I flopped him over to a bit with a port. We then went on a very short solo trail ride with Dolly the Border Collie and Poppi the Papillion, and he was tense but didn’t put a foot wrong. I hope to build on the short little rides away from home to build his confidence when he’s out by himself.
5. Monday was actually FUN — we went out with M and Clara again, and did the whole loop. Simba’s “sweet spot” is directly in the middle. He much prefers a horse ahead of him and a horse behind him, and he was, dare I say, relaxed and happy to be on the trails? Gasp!
I also found out he has this REALLY COOL button…I’ve been raving about how he occasionally pulls out this gait that is like gliding on air. We gaited out quite a bit during this trail ride when we could, and after fussing at him every time he broke into a pace, I had him hit that wonderful, four beat glide…and I realized it was when I lifted my hands to adjust my reins a bit. Something went “ding!” and I dusted off my old saddleseat knowledge from high school. I rose my hands a bit, sat back on my pockets, and all of a sudden…off we went. Magic button! Magic button!!! We ambled after Clara and M and he kept his gait and speed without a second thought. I tried it again later on in the ride, and even though he took a flying leap over a downed branch, garnering a very girly squeal from me, it was the same result. I think I’ve been riding some very pacey/trotty walkers in my time, because while his gait is not the silky-smooth gait of a Paso or Peruvian, it was LOVELY to sit to and my back was not cranky when we were done.
Progress, progress! That’s something, at least! The wind out there today is wicked so I’m not sure what the riding plan is for after work…I might be flying a Simba shaped kite, not riding a horse!