So I did two early morning rides this week and had a polar opposite horse each time. Spoiler alert, neither one is the horse I want long term. But that is the game with babies, right?
|With their cute tongues out|
Well I guess I should start all the way back with Monday, when I rode after work. The weather here had been crazy and stormy all day so I almost didn't go to the barn. But I figured it would be quiet (wrong) and cooler (sort of wrong) and hell, I like riding my horse so fuck it.
I get to the barn with a tiny hope I could ride outside since our footing drains pretty well, but that hope was in vain. Well ok, I will ride inside. I bring Odin in to tack up and peek in the indoor. All of the poles and jump standards are piled in two giant stacks in the ring and the long suffering barn manager is in there painting the walls with a huge extended rolling painting thing. I confirm it is ok to ride in there, he offers to stop painting but baby horse is not spooky so let the man do his thing.
It is like a sauna in there as I get on, with all the rain and wet paint humidity. Smells nice too. As I start riding, another boarder pulls up to the barn. Immediately their car alarm starts going off. This lovely ambient noise continues for my entire ride. It stops for 15 seconds, or 30, or a minute or two, then goes off again. Repeat ad naseum. I guess something broke in her car so she decided the best place to deal with that was the barn.
Then the next storm hits with crazy rain and thunder and lightning to further set the mood and add to the humidity.
So here Odin and I are, trying to ride with noise and painting and mugginess and giant piles of shit. PS out of all of this, the only thing that phased him was one of the giant piles of shit. He snorted past it a couple times and then was fine. I wish I could ask him why the other giant pile wasn't scary though.
The rest of the stuff wasn't scary but it was super distracting. And the car alarm was making me insane. After a quick w/t/c, I called it a night. He did everything asked and I probably had 80% of his attention so I was happy. With him. Not with much else.
Wed morning I did my on the horse before 6am thing. It was cool and dawn was breaking as I got out there and Odin was feeling way too good! The quick changing morning light created lots of shadows in the ring which is good for his education so that made me happy. But he is fit and his stifle feels good (YAY!) and it was the coolest temperature we had ridden in for a week so he was quite a bit of horse.
We were able to canter ground poles too although the shadows make, um, extra poles to jump sometimes and when we ended I felt we had done some good work although I look forward to the day it is a little bit easier. I also had extra gratitude that even when he is a bit much, he is never scary.
This morning was mostly a bust. For some reason they were feeding a full hour earlier than normal which means the feed truck pulled up to the outside horse pens just as we were getting started. I have ridden him during feed time before but never in the outdoor while he watched his neighbors get fed.
Another great learning opportunity but not what I was hoping for today when I had limited time and 8am meeting. Odin's reaction was also not what I expected, because I figured being upset about feeding would make him hot and flighty. But maybe that was Fawkes' carryover because instead he was a 100% pouty brat who wouldn't go forward for anything. I should have gone back for a crop but I figured he would get over it.
|Sir Pouts a lot|
I was wrong.
He spent 40 minutes sucking behind the leg and making crabby faces and trying to watch the feed truck instead of listen to me. When then truck finally left, there was much less arguing over keeping his attention in the ring, but he still didn't want to play. I could keep him going at the trot, which is a hollow accomplishment at this point, but I could barely get him into the canter, much less keep him there. How on earth do people ride less sensitive horses? Legs of steel?
There was much hitting with the end of reins for motivation but the effort was still minimal. On the positive side, the few times we were able to canter all the way around the ring was the nice floaty canter.
I finally had to call it on an ok note because I had to leave, but I will not be forgetting my crop again. Odin thought we had a fine ride and was happy to get to his meal. After all, it isn't his problem that I couldn't stay and ride longer.
An odd week where nothing really aligned to go well on any given day but luckily all the bad things didn't align either. And since Odin did his full behavior spectrum this week, maybe he got it out of his system and will be just right for our lesson tomorrow!