Saturday, March 7, 2009


We took an otherwise grey day, and put a little dapple in it...

Finally, the ice on the driveway has melted, and it's safe to go outside. Actually, it was melted last weekend, but someone was off galavanting and left me home standing in the barn. We made up for it today. Brita came to the barn all clean and spiffy, toting clean tack and she decked me out in my "going outside gear". She took a picture to begin with, just in case I came back in looking like a mudpie. So, here I am all ready to go... but what have you done to my tail? Actually, besides the mud knot in my tail, you will notice in the pictures she also braided my mane. She does this when we go outside to avoid getting tangled up in it. She says 3 minutes of braiding can save a lot of hair, and some potentially awkward situations if I get a little out of hand.

Since we have not been outside since the last thaw at Christmas, and because we have only actually ridden about once a month all winter, we started inside to work some kinks out and get a feel for each other's mood. Most of the time, I am a regular kinda guy inside, but now and then I like to pretend I'm Pegasus.

We cantered inside to see if there were any bucks stuck in there anywhere. I did fine, but she decided I was just full of it enough to install an emergency brake, so she added a rein through the martingale before we went out.

The first few steps outside in so long got me so excited I wanted to jump for joy. I only got about 3 hooves off the ground before she growled at me and threatened to go get a "persuader". I don't like to be "persuaded" on my fanny, so I straightened out.

At first I did my best imitation of a Lippizan, arching my neck and first trotting, then cantering in place. I didn't feel much like a hunter today. I felt a lot more like a Park Hack, and I did a few saddleseat steps just because I can.

After I got my legs stretched a little, we had a refresher in road safety. It will be a month or two until either the fields or the outdoor arena are suitable to ride in, so we will make use of the shoulder of the road. We practiced walking on the side with the big deep ditch. At first I wasn't brave enough to go over there, but she asked again in five minutes, and I was OK with it.
We practiced crossing the pavement safely. You have to be careful, especially when it's wet. I always walk cautiously on the road. No dancing around here.

Then we practiced getting off the road at several spots in case of traffic. The field slopes away quite steeply on one side, and I have gotten used to climbing up and down off the road, just in case we ever have to do it in an emergency. This is something I never had to do in my early training as a show horse. I wasn't brave enough to do this at first, now I will climb up or down almost anything, and can even hop over a ditch or log.

We spent most of our time walking since I am a little out of shape, and Brita says I need to learn to be patient, especially headed towards home. We did trot and canter, and I was pretty patient walking. When I got too eager and wanted to jog, Brita made me do shoulders in. That slows me down because it's hard to jig and fuss when you're crossing your legs.

It was pretty drizzly out as you can see. We were both steaming and all the dampness brought out the yellow grunge in my coat. Really I didn't get that dirty. Now, if I had had my way, and gotten to enact that scene in Seabiscuit where they "run until he stops"... now then I would have been muddy. As it was, it only took a stiff brush to get the mud off when it dried. I put on my big wool cooler until my coat dried out.

It really was a great day. I felt so good afterwards. Too bad it wasn't sunny and pretty out, but at least we didn't get caught in the rain. I really hope that winter is over and we can go outside every day. Although Brita arrived all spiffy, with clean tack, by the time she got everything put right around the barn, she was sweaty, covered in hair and hayseed, and had an armload of dirty tack and yucky towels. While I spend the afternoon munching hay and feeling all relaxed and happy, she muttered something about laundry and cleaning. At least she will have these pictures to look at to remember why she she has to do all that.


Leah said...

awesome! Grey- you look great! Your momma does a great job with you! LOVED the photos- what a handsome boy! Glad you had fun- I had fun reading about it!

GoonrGrrl said...

Excellent!! Great pics. He is just stunning - truly lovely. You do realize he would make an asp-kicking dressage horse, right? ;-)

SmartAlex said...

I have been toying with the idea of hauling him for lessons at one or the other of the two dressage barns here in town. Although I've been looking into dressage and reading up on it, it's a whole different world. I may be happy just to trot around the rail, but then again, maybe not.
But thanks, I think he would make a nice dressage horse too. He certainly has the mouth and the brains for it.

Anonymous said...

Lovely horse, but please add some high-viz gear when you're out on the roads! It could save both of your lives.