Did I mention that Trainer is not only awesome at training, but is also the kindest person on earth? Well, she is.
One of the unexpected issues with bringing the Dynamic Duo home has been finding a farrier willing to come out for trims on two horses on an evening or weekend when I could be there to hold. Most around me don’t even work weekends and evenings are also hard to find. The ones who do need at least 4 horses. I reverted to doing them myself which is a whole lot easier when they are home and I can do a little at a time, but I really want an actual farrier.
I asked Trainer a while back for recommendations, but kept running into the four horse minimum. She has her farrier come in every five weeks all the way from Aiken and told me I could bring them in. The problem was that he always comes on a Wednesday when I work. I thought it over and shot her a text with honestly little hope it would work out. I figured I could trailer them in on Tuesday night after work, pay a stall fee, hope someone would be willing to hold them for me and then grab them Wednesday after work (maybe sneaking in a lesson too). She was unavailable for a lesson, but told me I could plop them in a spare paddock without any fee and she was more than willing to hold them. My jaw dropped. I owe her big time!!!
Tuesday night I got this when I tried to get Gem to load her up:
After the two idiots nearly ran themselves to heat exhaustion, it was 98F with high humidity, we hosed them off and headed to the barn. Pete was put into the pasture and I tacked Gem up in her dressage gear to see how she would be. I was a little curious to see what I would be dealing with. The last few times I tried to school her in any way were just downward spirals of tension and bracing. Since then she had the IPE ride and two trail rides just for fun.
I went to the dressage court with no real plan. All I wanted was a relaxed ride with walk and trot. If we could add in some 20 meter circles to work on bend that would be a bonus.
She was in an unusual mood. I wouldn’t call her relaxed, but she also wasn’t tense or racing around. She listened to small cues, halted spot on when asked with no fuss and did walk to trot transitions agreeably enough. But she was also looking for reasons to spook and spent time staring at anything she thought would allow her to get away with spooking. I just ignored her and carried on. Half way through she got insanely heavy in my hands. I am working really, really hard to get my position better and to not let her break me out of it. Or as trainer always says to me “be greedy with your position”. When she didn’t get away with anything, she just leaned. It felt like all 900 lbs of her was in my hands and her head was nearly dragging on the ground. Having never dealt with this from her, I wasn’t really certain what to do. I knew she was sucked way back behind my leg, but I was concerned that booting her forward would result in her getting tense and bracing. So instead I kept my position where it was and began working on lots and lots and lots of bending in every direction all over the place. I figured that she would eventually have to start carrying herself or she wold trip and that was exactly what happened.
On Wednesday I got the info that the farrier thought everything looking great which is always good to hear when you have been the one trimming for the past 6 months. I had taken the truck to work so I could go get them afterward. They were both ready to come home, but first I wanted to ride again. A kid free night at an empty barn? Who could pass that up?
I only had my dressage saddle with me, so it was back in the dressage tack again. This time I headed to the jump arena where the jumps were all set to sky scraper height, but it would give me obstacles to work around.
Gem was AMAZING. Light in the bridle. The perfect balance of forward but relaxed. She halted. She walked. She trotted. She was so good that it felt like we were floating on air around that arena. I could barely feel her feet touch the ground. I was grinning like a fool.
With her being so responsive, I went back to working on my favorite exercise: sending her forward and bringing her back with just the rhythm and speed of my posting. No change in the pressure of my reins at all. And she listened so perfectly. I let her out into an extended trot down the long sides and brought her back by tightening my core and slowing my posting down when on the short sides and she hit it right every single time. I was giggling out loud and I am sure the barn crew thought I was insane.
It was the type of ride I never want to end, but it was another insanely hot night and I had to load them up to go home eventually. I’m not sure if it was the location, the fact that she got her wiggles out with galloping like mad for 20 minutes the night before, the three fun rides she last had or what, but I’ll take it. This is the Gemmie I had before the CT and I am so very glad to have her back again. Our next lesson is Wednesday night, so hopefully this is the horse that comes to play.