Grab a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of wine.... this is going to be a lengthy post! It will be long because that is how my Saturday was. In fact, I think I overdid it!It was a back-to-back event packed day. As a result, I woke up Sunday morning with a bad headache that left me on the couch all day. I suppose our bodies let us know we need to rest up when we've pushed them to their limits.
First off Saturday morning, I had my second lesson. No pictures again, I'm sorry. I rode the Steady Eddie. This time, he showed some spunk for a 25 year old! I'm still working on leg positioning. I lose a stirrup from time to time. My instructor had me do an exercise where she put me on the longe line, had me drop the reins, and post with my hands on my hips.
I still need to build leg strength and that will just take time in the saddle. I also need to relax at the lope. The good thing is I know when everything feels right and is the way it is supposed to be, I just can't hold it there very long. My instructor said that when my legs go haywire, I correct them on my own. She said I am doing really well.
Next week, she's probably putting me on Zoe. Zoe is a Saddlebred mare.My first Saddlebred!I'm shakin' in my paddock boots!
I left my lesson and headed up to meet a friend and her daughter at a different stable. My friend is looking for a horse for her high school aged daughter. Her daughter has been riding and taking lessons for 10 years, showing in 4-H, pony club, and wants a hunter to finish out her 4-H years with and then take to college.
They had looked at a mare last weekend but she was acting "sketchy." She hadn't been turned out or worked much and the owner was struggling with her behavior starting from the grooming session to the ride. In fact, my friend's daughter didn't even want to ride her. But they wanted to go back and try her again. I learned all this via Facebook and offered to tag along and give my opinion.
I looked up the mare's ad. For once, a for sale ad that was nice. Great pictures and video of the horse. She was priced well and looked really nice. She is a young off-the-track Thoroughbred. She's been in training and has done some jumping.
When we got to the stable, my friend's daughter brought the mare out of her stall and took her to the grooming area. When walking behind the mare, I noticed she seemed to be stepping different on her left hind. In fact, it even made a different sound (she's barefoot) on the concrete. I second guess myself though, and always think I am imagining these things. The mare was really fussy in the cross ties. She was very sensitive about her flank and her skin being groomed in general, and often pinned her ears and turned her head in an attempt to nip. I am not used to seeing a horse act like this. Then again, I think I'm biased because My Boy stands like a marble statue for grooming! The comment was that this grooming and tacking up session was much better than last weekend's!
My friend's daughter longed the mare a bit. I noticed the mare still seemed to be off a bit on that left hind. I mentioned it to my friend and she said something to the owner, who said it was because she was going in such small circles.
The owner could not ride because she'd injured her foot. I think my friend's daughter was a bit nervous to ride, but she did. She walked and trotted. The major issue was the mare's head. She constantly chomped her bit, lifted and tilted her head to the side. She seemed really uncomfortable. I had noticed this a little in the sale video, although it was not this bad.
The owner said she needed her teeth done. It seemed like that could be part of the issue, but it also seemed the mare just hadn't learned to give to the bit fully, which could be worked on.
After my friend's daughter rode, I bravely offered to ride her as well, so she could watch someone else ride her. I donned the daughter's helmet and climbed aboard. Goodness, where am I finding this bravery? I think it's my lessons!
That head tossing and bit chomping was not pleasant. I was able to push her into a trot and she'd start up with the raised sideways head. At her owner's suggestion, I'd put pressure on her reins until she'd drop it, and at some point she would. I'd immediately give her release. My friend and daughter said that when she dropped her head, she looked amazing. Unfortunately, the head did not stay down very long. Please ignore my form in this camera phone photo, I have no idea why my arm position is so awful.
I walked and trotted her, and tried some side passing along the arena wall. Other than the head issue, I felt like she was a nice mover and fairly level-headed. There was a lot of activity around the barn and arena and it didn't seem to phase her. She was a very likeable, smart horse.
This mare is so beautiful, it's hard to see past it. Her eye is big and kind, her face distinctly Thoroughbred. She's petite and elegant at 15.3 hh. I think she needs to mature a bit, and is definitely green, but has potential. I think my friend's daughter could go far with her once the mare was finished in her training.
The owner said that they can come back and ride the mare anytime, and take lessons on her, to determine it is a good fit. I suggested that they also go see as many other horses as they can. This will help them eliminate their must-haves and can't-stands. They aren't in a huge rush to find a horse, they have until this spring to claim what horse the daughter is taking to the fair in 4-H.
Next on my list, I needed to see my own horse! I decided riding was out of the question since I'd already ridden two horses and pushed my poor leg muscles to the limit!
It was an unseasonable warm afternoon. And it was sunny! Everyone on the farm was dozing and lazy in their fuzzy winter coats, including My Boy. That apple molasses treat ball I got him for his birthday? Um, yea. He is now wearing it on his face.
And it won't come off. Note to self- treat balls in the winter are not a good idea. Unless I shave down his muzzle hair first. Oh well, it will wear off or I'll have to wash it or shave it.
On the longe line, My Boy seemed a little off when trotting to the right. I found nothing visibly wrong. He is often "off" in the hind, due to the beginning stages of arthritis in his hocks (I had a chiropractor evaluate him a couple of years ago when I noticed this. She called him a grade 1/5 lameness.) In the past, it is typically his left that was worse, which you see him resting in the photo here.
The chiropractor that evaluated him a said that he compensates on the right for that left, which means the right will also have problems at some point. Or, it's possible he tweaked himself in the pasture somehow. I'll keep an eye on it and have the vet or chiropractor out if he continues to favor it or it gets worse. He hasn't been longed out in two weeks. I didn't give him any bute as I didn't want him to feel better and go on a bucking spree in the mud and injure himself. Also, if he suddenly got worse, I didn't want him to have anything in his system if I had to have the vet out.
My day wasn't over. After tucking My Boy in with his dinner, I rushed home and got ready to meet a friend for the movie "Dear John." Dang that Nicholas Sparks! You think I'd have learned my lesson from "The Notebook," which took me two days to recover from. This one was good too, I think the relationship between the main character and his father was what particularly got me. Horses do crop up in a few teeny tiny parts of the movie, too. The other main character, Savannah, has a dream to have a program for autistic children to work with horses.
I talked to Paint Girl this evening and she gave me some scoop on the beginning of her Scottsdale Arabian adventure, so I will be posting over there for her tomorrow night.