September 21, 2014 Leave a comment
As much as I hate to see the end of Summer (hate! really hate!), days like today are easy to enjoy. The breeze ruffled the horses’ manes and sent fat clouds with white tops and dark grey bellies scudding across the sky, producing a sun-dappled landscape that was lovely.
Though the title of the post is “Two-fer” the day started with a visit to my old boy, Jag. He’s shed his spectacularly faded “bayskin” summer coat and is a rich dappled dark bay once again. His winter coat is coming in, and right now he feels plushy, like a Gund teddy bear. He’s missing an eye, his teeth are falling out and his kissing spines render him unridable but I don’t care. I love my goofy old horse!
After putting him back out to enjoy the day with Sam, Splash, Woody and Presley, I headed to my other barn to ride. I had to knock quite a bit of mud off Derby, but he cleaned up well and we joined Christy on Liam and Natalie on Chaucer (a really fancy OTTB who moved in recently. For the last few days, I’ve really been working on my stamina, as I lost a step when I was away from the barn for a week plus. I’ve also been trying to get my canter back together, so we put in a few laps of that too.
It was uneventful until the very end, when I dropped my stirrups for a little self-imposed torture. Derbs did a spook-n-scoot that left me in a precarious spot. I grabbed mane, held on and croaked out a “Whoa!” He whoa-ed, God love him. I stuck my feet back in the stirrups tout de suite.
After Derby and Liam went back to their paddock, it was time for round two. For the last few days, I’ve been squeezing in extra rides on Austin, now owned by Lindsay who is temporarily grounded, as she’s expecting. I’m grateful for the extra rides, and Austin is much different ride than Derby, giving me a thorough test of my skills. When I rode him first on Thursday, I has a nice ride and was able to get Austin on the bit and stretching. Today was a different story.
It was getting close to dinner time, and Austin is a bit notorious for being a stinker when he’s hungry. In the past, he’s exited the arena stage left, heading down the aisle with his rider in tow.) We rode outside today, and I let my guard down for just a second — and out the gate we went. In fairly short order (and with some shouted coaching from Christy, we turned around and went straight back into the ring and got to work.
I redoubled my attention to my inside leg and outside rein, working on an figure 8, practicing change of bend and working on my connection. Then we went back to the rail, and after a couple more passes by the gate, he quit trying. Victory! We then practiced patience, hanging out and watching Natalie canter Darco, Chaucer’s brother and an incredibly fancy ex-GP jumper, around the outdoor. Austin comported himself like a gentleman and got a pile of carrot chunks sprinkled on top of his hay for a treat. I’m going to take a lesson on him Tuesday — after he’s fed!