The first warm day was a little over a week ago. I dicided to skip riding and give the BRH a bath.
64* is NOT warm enough for a bath!
Then it was on to conquor his tail. I love his tail and have had sleepless nights over the bundle of protein that looks like a rats nest. Over the past few months I have dumped conditioner on it and wrapped it until the weather was warm enough for me to fully brush every strand. For the record, I don't think the poor conditioning attempts helped at all.
No! Not the tail! Pleeeeeeasee not the tail!
Perfection---yes, it's dark. That is how long it took me.
The following weekend the weather dropped into the 30's* and the wind was terrible. We decided to pass on the riding in open, hurricane force winds, corn fields. Last week was the first of somewhat consistant days above 45*. We took a few short rides, just becasue the daylight was limited.
Yes, that is a bear in a field...a BIG bear. Where are the bears coming from? Huh, Liz?? I blame Lance!!!!
Thursday was the first day of asking the BRH to put in some effort. I timed the trotting sets and asked him to hold his form for longer than he was willing to offer. The fun thing about riding in the corn/bean fields is the distractions. Olly is easily distracted. This gives us both practice on focusing and I find that we don't get bored as easy. Win, win. We continue on at a good working trot, focusing and I start to feel him engage his hind end and round his back. I release my little finger off one of the reins and scratch his withers and tell him good boy. I then realize that he only held it for a few strides. I turn around and see that he was pooping and not *really* engaging his hind end like I would have hoped. FAIL--I was still encouraging.
Holy Big Buck Tracks!!!!
Friday knew that Olly would be slightly sore from pushing him a bit the day before so I went out (with Grandma Gracie in tow) to brush and love on him. I also did a few carrot stretches just for the heck of it. I go out in the paddock and bring him to the hitching post. As we all know, the BRH does bow. Not that difficult of a trick to teach, BUT what I found interesting/hilarious was Olly started to bow to beg for the carrots. I wish I could have gotten THAT on video or even a picture. Of course when I went to recreate the incident, it didn't happen.
"Is this far enough to get a carrot?"
Saturday morning I decided that we would go out for a nice long hack. There is so much to explore out here with all this open land. Shana (the BO) did inform me that to the east the farmers are cool if you ride in the fields, but to the west it's a no-go. Fair enough--to the east we go!! It was a bit chillier out. I had a hoodie and my Carhart, which at one point I may of been a mistake. The trotting sets were working me too, but after we broke to a walk I was thankful I had it. We walked along side the road and any path that went through the fields. We did only one canter set, just because I could feel his fatigue from the trotting sets.
Of course, when we turned around to head back in the direction of the barn his walking pace almost double than on the way out.
"Mom, why are all my friends short and fat?"
(We live in QH country)
At the last field, the one we were doing trotting sets in a few days before, Olly was on a loose rein, he took it upon him self to cross into the field and increase his pace. I thought it was so cute. "Mom, can we breeze the last few yards?? Huh? Huh? Huh?"I gathered the reins and let him breeze along, I did make sure to not let him go and push himself, even though I know that is what he wanted. When we got back to the barn he was so tired he just stood there and enjoyed all the brushing and loving.
"Don't worry about the halter Mom, I'm not going anywhere."
Sunday we went around the block. Now normally "going around the block" isn't that really that big of a deal, but here a bundle of 200 acre corn fields make up a block. All we did was walk. Yes. The entire time. Just puttin' some miles on. It was relaxing. I could tell Olly was feeling it from the six miles we had done the day before, but he was happy to go out and see new things. We decided to go west, since we would only be walking. It was nice to just feel him under me walking and relaxing. We talked, and by 'we' I mean ME. The BRH is a good listener. As we're just tinkering along, the BRH stops dead in his tracks. Now, a few years ago this would have been a 10ft lateral jump along with a spin and possibly a 10 yard dart in the other direction, but the BRH today has learned that a simple "WTF" will suffice.
*side note* a few years back I read in a magazine (Equus, I think) where this dressage rider taught her horse to freeze instead of bolt. This is where I got the idea from. The BRH was a bolter. Apparently he was chased by lions when he lived in the African Safari many moons ago. Back to the magazine--She talked about being very observant of your surroundings and trying to spot the 'hazards' before your horse does, then prepare. In the begining I felt like that was all I did was ride defensively. But after a few months I noticed that the bolting turned into just jumping sideways, then the jumping lessened to just freezing in place with your front feet out like a giraffe and now most of the time he just freezes and watches until he's comfortable or I say go. Which ever comes first. NOW, this isn't always the case...the camels got the best of the BRH not so long ago.
Why did the BRH freeze on the hack around the block?
"Uhhhhh what kind of horses are those?? Paint's?"