Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day Trip to ride Blu

Sunday was a day trip to Todd’s.  I got up early – 6:45am – ouch – that’s not right for a weekend!  I made Ken and I some breakfast and wished Ken luck in his baseball game before I hit the road in the MINI.  The drive was happily uneventful and I arrived about 10:45am.

It’s so wonderful having a horse of my own again.  I went directly to his stall and leaned on the door for a minute just looking at him.   It was very peaceful at the ranch and he was standing in the sun.

I pulled him out and put in him the cross ties and was grooming him when Sharon arrived.  His coat is handling the change in location and weather so far.  I’ve been a bit worried because I only have the one blanket for him so far.  The new shipment hasn’t arrived so I don’t have any other options for him.  He really enjoys getting brushed.  Though really, who wouldn’t?  He’s got some hair shedding out, and with all the different brushes I have he enjoys a massage.  I start with a soft rubber curry – basically it has little rubber nubs that are flexible, not hard like a hair brush – and I rub him all over his body with that - but not the legs - they're too sensitive for the curry.  I enjoy watching his lips twitch as I rub his upper neck and his withers and back.  I followed the curry with a shedding block – it’s hard to describe, but I'll try.  It's a grey block about the size of a sponge but it’s hard – like a pumice stone maybe?  And I think you can buy them to clean grills, too?  You rub it on his coat in one direction and it gently pulls out the loose hairs.  It’s amazing actually.  Once I’m done with that I go over his body with a soft grooming brush and finally his face with a super soft, horse hair brush.  Once all that is done I use the pick and clean his hooves.  It’s a great way to get to know all his parts, and find what scratches he’s developed since my last visit.  I put some Vetericyn medicated spray on the scratches.  Hopefully that will help him heal quickly and easily from the little marks he gets now that he’s in a stall with a paddock and has neighbor horses.  (I don’t mind the marks because I know he is getting to be a horse and play with his buddies.)

I brought Blu to the arena and lunged him for about 20 minutes.  It went much better than that first time.  I’m not the most coordinated person in the world (that’s being nice) and I’m guessing Blu probably did most of his lunging in a round pen before this, so I’m learning what commands work best for the both of us.  I’m quite sure I’m not giving him the commands he’s been used to in order to turn and stop, so it’s been kind of a dance.  But I know we’ll get it sooner or later.

Todd rode him for about 30 minutes talking me through everything he was doing.  And then it was my turn!!!!  I have been looking forward to this day for weeks.  Because he’s so tall and, while I made it up on him from the ground on that day at Nicole’s, I didn’t want him to have issues with me trying again so I wanted to see how he’d do with a “dude launcher” (a term I learned from Tom Carter at Deadwood Outfitters  – my favorite place in the WORLD).  I stepped up and down the mounting block a few times; he tried to nibble the step, and basically showed no fear at all.  So up I went.  Piece of cake.  Blu stood there like a champ and I could feel the grin splitting my face. 

Yep, we “fit.”

Sharon was there to video the ride.  The wind was messing with the sound on the video but I’ve edited it and added that horrid music to cover it all up.  (I really have to download some music so I’ve got something other than the “sample” music to put to my videos.)

We walked and practiced turning using leg yields and rein pressure.  We moved into a jog – well, truly a trot – it was a bit fast, but not as bad as I’d imagined it would be.  It was about the same as Cre’s trot, and probably smoother.  I can sure feel the promise in his movement.

We continued to work on turning and a bit on slowing his speed.  But the main focus of this first ride for me was to get to know the feel of him and for him to get to know me a bit.  I wasn’t trying to make him go in straight lines, and we were doing left and right turns and using only a part of the arena.

I was very happy and grinning ear to ear.  That ride made my drive home delightful.

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