T_T I really need to get better at this whole “One blog entry per week” shtick.
So, last week it was somebody’s birthday. That meant me showing up to a farm teeming with little kids, loud country music, lots of teenagers, and strange adults I had never seen before. Oh, and these big inflatable bounce houses that wanted to eat any horse within a twenty mile radius. At least, according to Winchester and Chica.
I rode Winny first, if I remember correctly. He was not impressed with the giant horse-eating monsters with little humans bouncing and screaming around inside. He did his best to seem chill for me, though, even after he accidentally made a little girl cry by stepping on her foot. (I told her to move away from his feet. Kids never listen.) He rode alright. Spooky, of course, but he has a tendency to be jittery if there is a lot going on. Otherwise, he is pretty much sleeping beneath me.
Chica was a different story, at least when I first led her over there. On foot. I didn’t want to ride her and risk running over some little kid who thought that the pretty pony needed to be petted. So I walked. We got up to the inflatables. She did pretty well in the beginning. I knew she was scared out of her mind, but she did her best to keep it together as I led her past them. When we were behind the first and nearing the second, she decided that enough was enough; she wanted to LEAVE. So she started fighting the lead rope, tossing her head, prancing, trying to run off with me. And she managed to smack me in the cheek with her head. I still have a bit of a bruise. That pissed me off so badly. (She is really good at that. When I rode her tonight, she didn’t respond to my leg telling her to get away from the fence. In consequence, she rode my knee right into the fence. It hurt WAY more than I thought it should have. Oh, let me tell you, if there weren’t any people around, there would have been f-bombs flying left and right.) However, like a good Horse Girl, I didn’t take my anger out on her. I calmed her down, we walked to the arena, I put her bridle on, and we rode for a good thirty minutes with no further blow-ups. She gave a few stink-eyes, but nothing more than that and the occasional halt. On the way back, she decided not to have anything to do with the spooky evil horse-devouring beasties that I lead her through before. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of NOPE.” I lead her towards them after we were past, and I guess it finally registered that it was natural to be afraid of anything remotely plastic and filled with air, unlike when I first led her through them and I guess she didn’t quite get it until more than halfway passed. After a few repetitions of getting close, getting scared and backing away, and getting close again, I decided she’d had enough of this nonsense, so I walked her back to the barn and called it a night.
The cake tasted like sugary cardboard. Oh well. I guess I have been spoiled by the local bakery.
I have ridden Chica four times so far for November. That means I have to cram in six more rides before my family gets here for Thanksgiving. Ten rides total. Still need to squeeze in a trail ride. Hmmmm….not sure which day. Whichever has the best weather and whenever I happen to be out there before four o’clock, since it gets dark at five thirty nowadays.
So tonight, when I rode her, I started doing pattern work with cones. Nothing much, just a basic progressive circle to help her compress a little and get used to bending her body while keeping her pace and rhythm.
After I rode her, I took her over to a small trail-class bridge in a corner of the arena.
She will not, under any circumstances, place more than one hoof, if that, on the wood. It’s like she can’t support her own weight once she steps up. I can see that she just doesn’t know how to do it yet; she bends her knees instead of riding up with the different height of the surface. It’s pretty cute, but it’ll be even cuter once she can actually step on it. Like a little trail champion. So, as I was trying to get her to step on it, she decided that jumping it would be a better idea. While I was standing on the other side. Directly in front of her. Luckily, I am smart enough to get out of the way of a jumping horse, but I still had to keep a hold on the reins so that she wouldn’t bail out on me. I had her jump it four times, to see if she would either jump or decide that stepping like a normal horse would be easier. Nope. She prefers jumping the damn thing. At least she was brave enough to try it. She lifted her knees up very prettily, and her ears were, as far as I could see, pricked forward. (It is so stinkin’ adorable when I am riding her and her fluffy little ears prick up at something.) Still, I do NOT want her to continue jumping scary things like that until she is much stronger. She has potential to be a lovely Hunter, but as far as jumping goes, I am still iffy about her ability (or I was before tonight), and either way, she is nowhere near strong enough to handle even cross-rails. Not to mention that flat work is more important anyway, and we have only had ten rides, which is not nearly enough basic riding time in order to consider her ready to try the jumps. In other words, she is not ready, mentally or physically. What I am hoping for, however, is that she will be ready mentally before physically. Because physical improvement is easier to achieve, and it takes an easily tracked amount of time. Mental improvement can either be rapid and representative of the trainer’s expertise, or it can be very slow and not very obvious. Mental improvement is more important to me at this point, since Chica’s physical health is in check at this point, and she is gaining weight every week. (However, it is getting colder and I have noticed the progress slowing down a bit. I found a blanket for her. It’s a bit small, but it works until I can get a new one for her, or at least borrow a heavier one. This does the job for now, however, and I am sure that, by springtime, she will fatten up quite a bit.)
All in all, the past ten days have been very productive. 🙂