The Marbles Come …
Thursday afternoon/evening at Stepping Stone Farm. The day was too hot to long-line in the sun, so we went right to riding. I walked in covered ring for 10-15 minutes to warm up in the shade. Unfortunately, the diameter is too small for his big self to open up. We went up to the big ring for a quick spin in the sun. Trot, a big loopy trot on a long rein. Canter, ditto. Reverse. Trot. Canter. A few minutes of trot work to see if we remembered how. Getting him use his butt instead of letting it trail around behind him. Done. Pats all around.
It was so normal. Just go in the ring and ride your horse. I had forgotten what that felt like.
… The Marbles Go
To paraphrase a president, “We do not school things because they are easy. We school them because they are hard.”
Saturday morning at Full Circle Horse Park. We deliberately went at the busiest time of the weekend. I emailed the management ahead of time to find out what time would expose Rodney to the most activity. Be careful what you ask for. At one point, there were six horses schooling near us.
We started with pluses. He was pushy at the walk. I went through my usual bout of despair that we were doomed to walk for that day. After a while, I decide to see what would happen if I trotted even though the walk was not 100% as relaxed as I would have liked. The trot that was also not 100% relaxed, but we got it. More walking. Then some absolutely stellar trot work. I worked on keeping my fingers flexible. He seemed to appreciate it.
He did lots of looking, as always. He got to the point that he could look and yet kept going. I told him it was okay to look with his eyes but not his head & neck.
The three horses schooling cross-country came around to a new side of the course. Rodney was rapt. He stared at them as if he had never seem horses before. I honestly don’t know if he a) wanted to be out there jumping with them, b) was worried they would be eaten by dragons, or c) was worried they were dragons.
I got off rather than fight with him. I seem to have developed a habit of dismount during adversity [Milton at home, Rodney at home, Milton at show]. I’m sure die-hards are appalled. In my defense, I remount and return to work, generally accomplishing we were attempting in the first place. I like to think of it as strategically retreating and reapproaching the issue.
Got back on. We stood. Horses began to filter into the ring with us. We walked. One horse went into the dressage arena that is set up inside the ring. We trotted, not as brilliantly as previously but decently.
A horse in warm-up with us. A horse in dressage arena next to us. Three horses on XC. One horse strolling in grass outside the ring. I could feel the effort he put into holding it together. Good boy. We declared victory and went home.
I don’t know what it is with Rodney and other horses.
Thank you for reading,