Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Dirt Sticks Better When You're Wet

That is a phenomenon Louie learned after our lesson today. But to start at the beginning, we went for a trial ride in the barn owner's saddle today. I wanted to try it out because I eventually want to get a new cutback saddle. Hers is a Whitman adjustable bar with equitation seat- I really liked it. The adjustable bars set way back helped me SO much in keeping my legs steady while posting. And I didn't mind the deep seat either. The only thing I didn't like was that the seat seemed to cut into my butt/legs on the edges.

We just did a plain old average ride in the arena today, worked a little bit on asking Louie to bring his head up- and he did that pretty nicely. He gets a little lazy and wants to hang on my hands, but he'll get it figured out eventually once I routinely ask him for that. We worked just a little bit on the canter- only tracking to the right today. The first 2 attempts he missed the lead. Then lo and behold he got his right lead! Good boy! We went around at the speed of sound in that tiny little arena and were lucky the arena was just leveled so we didn't wipe out. After it sank in to Louie that I kept saying "good boy!" and petting him, he settled down into a much nicer, more relaxed canter. We walked and trotted for a little while more, then one more time I asked him for the right lead canter and he got it again! Hooray! I don't want to say that this was a major lightbulb moment or an epiphany for Louie yet, because it was probably just luck, but I can sure hope! The right lead is definately less comfortable than the left, but hey- you gotta have a right lead to be able to work on it.

So to cool out we went for a nice walk around the farm again- between the row of pine trees, looking at all the pretty sights- neighbor horses, lawnmowers, big rocks, etc. Then all of a sudden, some ducks landed on the pond about 20 feet away and Louie spooked- we headed off galloping through the neighbor's yard. All the while I'm saying "woah! woah!" and thanking God that I was riding in Lisa's equitation seat saddle that actually has a cantle! He only went about 30 feet, but that was plenty! At least he stopped. We rode back up to the pond and I made him look at those ducks. He jumped/spooked in place when they took off to fly away. Scary ducks.

When we got back to the barn, I gave Louie a little snack. He is growing- yippee!! And while he's gained about an inch of height at the withers in the past month, he's lost probably 50-75 pounds. So we have increased his feed, and I gave him a little of his protein feed (Assurance Grass Balancer) mixed with some of the high-fat supplement that Sarah gave me (Empower). He gobbled that right up while I groomed him- of course, not before dropping half of it on the floor- I think he thinks that is a game, then he can enjoy it for twice as long while he's cleaning up his mess. Louie has learned to love being groomed- he has been standing like a perfect gentleman, super relaxed and happy as a clam for his groomings.

Finally, since it is absolutely beautiful out today- 65 and sunny- I decided it would be a good time to introduce Louie to the hose. So I set up the hose right outside the barn (our usual bathing area doesn't have the hose hooked up yet- it's April for heaven's sake, it's not supposed to be this warm out). I held Louie's lead rope in one hand and the hose in the other while I turned it on. The first squirt out of the hose was a little scary and Louie took a lap around me, but soon it became less interesting. I put my hand in the water and held it up to Louie's nose (I've been giving him a sip or two of coke this way- he loves it). At first he was a little scared by the concept, but then he figured out it's just water and tried to drink from the hose. After he figured that out, I was able to hose down his legs- starting in the front, then the backs, and slowly working my way up to his chest. He stood beautifully for this part, so I turned off the hose and called it a day. He promptly went out to pasture, kicked his buddy Khougar out of his spot where he was laying, then had himself a nice roll in Khougar's spot. Louie was quite pleased to discover how nicely the dirt sticks to his legs when he has had a bath!

1 comment:

  1. You're lucky. Quattro and I are still "negotiating" the whole bath concept!