Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to the real world and real work!

Ignore the funny looking haircut - we are in the middle of teaching him to have his mane pulled, plus it likes to fall on both sides. I swear I'll have him looking normal eventually!

So, my very large son is at boarding school, AKA the trainer's, and is learning to work hard for a living (I hear he actually sweated today) and give to the bit and that he has to lead quietly for people who are not me. I am surprised to hear he is being a shit about the latter, but as my trainer says, she has seen him lead quietly for me so she KNOWS this is b.s. and she is doing all the same things I would to correct it.

I do remind myself that I have ridden lots of four year olds who still have their moments, under saddle and on the ground, and a little misbehavior is normal - it's just that this horse has had so little misbehavior that I am the one who is spoiled. I think of him as an old broke 12 year old and am terribly disappointed when he acts his age in any way. I am like that parent who has fits when their child gets a B+ instead of an A. ;-)

I am going to head out tomorrow and work him myself and see if he really is playing a game or if he's got a bad case of four-year-old-stallion spring fever. My trainer has trained and shown many stallions, so I trust her judgment. I know there are those who will be positively gleeful if he ends up getting cut and I'll tell you now - I don't care one way or the other. I'm not obsessed with the idea of this horse staying a stallion and if my trainer says to cut him, we'll cut him. If she says his behavior is normal and can be fixed, we'll work through it. She's the pro and her opinion is part of what I'm paying her for.

Meanwhile, the Big Gold Yearling, now a Big Gold Two Year Old, is being fitted up for sale at a friend's barn. I don't have time for two greenies and I feel like I've done my job in his life (raising him up from orphan-hood) and it is time for him to move on. My dressage rider friend drools over his short-backed build and beautiful shoulder and we both feel that his niche will be dressage/jumping. He is quiet enough to make a great amateur eventer - nothing spooks this guy. I will have pics as soon as he's completely shed out and we've convinced him that clipping his ears out will not kill him. I am looking for a home with someone who won't push him too young - he is 15.3 at 25 months and I think I can safely say he'll finish out around 16.2 so he definitely needs to finish growing before he is asked to carry weight. Fortunately, those people are more easily found in the sport horse world and he's the type to appeal to them.

Winter's finally over and my Crabby Old Bat and Thai, the old TB broodmare, are coming home soon to share a large pasture. Belle found herself a job - my friend who has boarded her this winter asked to keep her for the summer as she's proving to be a stabilizing influence on a more spirited mare, so she will stay where she is for now.

Now that I am done with the BIG mustang project (see the other blog!) I can get back to the SMALL mustang project. It should be warm enough soon to give baths and that is a big part of progressing with the two I've been working with. They are just too yucky with Washington state mud on their underbellies to clean it off without soap and water (they do not care for currying there, and currying isn't enough to do the job anyway), so I got them both longeing nicely and then couldn't move forward to carrying tack til they got all the way clean. I also need to rig up a high line in the arena to teach the scared one to tie so I'm going to try to get to that this week.

I have also started working with my friend's very sweet red dun overo stallion (he's been mentioned here before) again. I rode him for the first time this year last week and he was just perfect. As I've noted before, he's Sonny Dee Bar bred and while I just hated those horses 15 years ago, now I sing their praises. They don't go fast, but BOY are they safe and comfy. This guy makes the VLC look like a hot potato. I've also been doing ground work with my other friend's ex-stallion and he's learning to long-line beautifully and to wear a bit. He does not like the bit and does need more work on lowering his head for it - he is no fool and knows that despite only being about 15.1, he's still way taller than me when he puts his head up. I have been busy trying to convince him that the whole process is easier on both of us when he lowers his head. Note to self, buy some baby carrots. (And yes, I am grateful that the 16.2 one never went through a hard to bridle phase!)

So that's my update. I may hit some schooling shows on a rescued POA this year and am toying with fitting Thai up for the SAFE show if I can squeeze her into the work schedule and don't get too lazy about having to actually, you know, go out to the pasture and drag her in. (I confess! I'm SO much better about riding horses that are in stalls or paddocks near the barn! I know I'm not the only one...fess up!) I'd like to do it because I always promote the idea of retraining broodmares and now I have a completely sound 24 year old who could make a perfect example! I've ridden her once and she was so good. She is still out at Karen V's awaiting a ride home.

How are the rest of you doing? Got something to show this year? Still working? Still deciding if you are ready to take that step? Who has a new rescue they are working on?

For those of you are looking for your serious trail horse and don't have one lined up, I have to recommend Whiskey, who's a SAFE rescue. She has been in a foster home that has been using her for mountain trail rides and packing and it is TOTALLY her niche. She is super happy on the trails and not at all spooky. She is fit and ready to go and if you're in the Seattle or Portland area, you should definitely consider her! I have ALWAYS liked this mare and it is so cool to see her find her true calling thanks to her excellent foster home. It will be even cooler if she finds a permanent home. She has been on the kill buyer's lot twice and I want to know that she never has to fear that again.