Still very wet outside, so we worked in the arena today, especially on being consistent in his running walk. It went swimmingly. Well done, Shadow.
Jarry, Linda and Shannon drove down to visit Shadow, who obliged by not covering himself in mud and being his affable self when he was ridden by Jarry and Linda. Shadow goes back to Rochester on Friday.
Not a terrific day weather wise, with overcast skies and a strong breeze. But out we went. We covered some new ground today, with a long stretch along the state highway, which I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a few months ago. He was a little nervous, but managed quite well. A particularly loud and rattling semi that went by caused him to move away from it about a foot on our ditch ride, but he dealt actually pretty well. We then went down the gravel road and past the scary blue insulators that are waiting to be put on the new electric poles. These things are huge and odd looking, like 5′ long and bright blue, so I sort of empathized when he shied at them. I thought about it myself.
We continued on our way and got to the grass waterway which had a culvert and a bit of water and mud in front of it. I encouraged him to go forward with a lot of leg and he did. Very good. We went on the grass lane for a bit, turned around and came home. Very good day.
A new horse arrived in for training and he went in Shadow’s paddock with him. Jones is a small thoroughbred who happily let Shadow be quietly dominant over him. They are now best buds. Today when I rode Shadow, he whinnied to Jones while in the cross tie. I corrected him and he got over it and stood nicely. On the ride, which was all over the section, he whinnied exactly once, and really, pretty half-heartedly. I gave him a nudge in the ribs and he didn’t do it again. On our ride, we kicked up a deer and he hardly flinched at all. Very good.
We went out for a hack as it was a beautiful day. After a period of walk and foxtrot, we went back to walk and came to the base of a hill. I asked him to foxtrot, which he did, but then offered a very sedate canter, so I went with it. It was great fun for both of us. He did it a few more times later in the ride when I asked for it too. He stays in foxtrot unless asked to canter. Great fun.
35 mph sustained winds battered the indoor. It was 94 degrees, so it felt a bit like a convection oven. The wind tends to make him a little wary, so he started out a little tight. We did a lot of walk halt walk transitions to help him tune in to me rather than some monster that he might not hear that he had to be wary of. He got better and better as we went along and by the end he was doing some very nice work despite the battering wind.
I was out of town for the weekend, so he had a few days off. Today I got back in the tack and went for a hack with a student. The student was a bit nervous, even though her horse is pretty solid. Because of her nervousness, her horse started to ramp up a bit. Shadow was unimpressed and just carried on. Wonderful!
I comment on the weather alot because it affects everything I do with horses, despite the indoor arena. Today was just perfect. No wind, partly cloudy, 77 degrees. I tacked up Shadow to go for a solo hack. He was great about his feet, totally relaxed about the overhead door in the arena, a little worried about the cars parked in the yard, and completely oblivious to the puppy following us on the other side of the yard fence on our way out the driveway. He was completely relaxed with the traffic going by on the state highway, relaxed and foxtrotted or walked as asked all over the section and we spotted 4 bunnies. Good time of the year to be a bunny. Lots of grass. Just an all around wonderful day.
I went for a hack with a student of mine on her horse. Shadow seems to get along with the other horses pretty well. He doesn’t make a big effort to get near them, doesn’t offer to kick, will sniff if asked by the other horses and is an all around good sport. Can’t really train that, and really nice to have. We primarily walked and he was great until we were coming home and had to pass between Jay mowing the ditch (and shooting debris away from us, of course) and the highway. Shadow, understandably, found that a little overwhelming. I guess I wouldn’t recommend doing that kind of thing with any horse come to think of it. But anyway, he handled it adequately well. He settled very quickly.
When we got home, for a treat, I invited this student to ride Shadow in the arena. So few people have ridden a gaited horse and I also want to confirm how Shadow will behave with another rider. He was stellar and she had a big grin going on. Very good man.
There is still snow on the ground and the fields are mighty muddy, so we stayed in the indoor today, working on suppleness and transitions. He did very well. I had a different student ride him for a few moments at the end. He had a great time and I don’t think I could have slapped the smile off her face while she rode. I promise I will videotape or take pictures of him soon. It has just been so muddy and horses look so awful while they are shedding but both problems are coming to their natural end!