Rule #1: Always expect the unexpected!

Sorry about the lack of pictures, but we were suffering from a dead camera battery. Next time, really!

Tonight, after a busy week, I finally managed to put ride #4 on the VLC. We had sunshine and beautiful weather, so I thought it would be a good time to venture into the great outdoors. I put him out in the round pen to investigate and ran around feeding the others for a while. He trotted around once, slowly, and then set to snaking his neck through the panels and vaccuuming up every blade of grass within reach.

I headed out, brushed off his filthy self (of course, he had to roll and coat himself from head to toe in filth…hmmm maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t take pics tonight!) and tacked him up. While he was less wiggly about the girth and saddling in general, he did revert to cowkicking at me twice. It was right at the beginning, as I reached under for the girth, so he got smacked and growled at. He then decided that pawing violently with a front foot might be a better way to show his displeasure (mind you, I had not yet actually pulled the girth snug and it was hanging in a loop under his belly. Drama queen.) Of course, he was not allowed to do that either. He finally gave up with a big sigh and allowed me to proceed to tighten the girth. I do it slowly and always let him move around in between pulls. Once it’s tight, he doesn’t care a bit or show any discomfort, and I have been pulling out both front legs to make sure the skin lies flat. I just think it’s a naughty baby behavior that he will get over with time, although I am going to buy him a fleece lined girth this weekend and see if he minds that less than the neoprene. I know some horses just hate neoprene girths.

I chased him around a bit at the trot. Probably 5 minutes tops. The footing is quite deep in our round pen and he was quickly huffing and puffing. It was obvious it wasn’t going to take much to ensure he was safe to get on – he is a marshmallow. (So am I. We both need to get more fit!) I pulled out the mounting block and got on and we proceeded to swim around the round pen. Seriously, it felt SO weird going through the deep footing. I had to remind myself again to just pitch him away and let him put his head down for balance. I did not want to try a trot again in the deep footing, so we just worked on walking, circling, and stopping. He barged through the first two stops a bit and then the third time, he was really good. We do need to spend time practicing that. The nice thing is once you get the halt, he stays in it until you ask him to move forward. He’s listening very, very well to leg and never shows any resistance to it.

Here’s the funny part: I am normally a little leery about riding outside because of the unexpected things that happen. After all, we are right next to pastures full of horses and adjacent two very wooly llamas that sometimes bolt off at a surprising speed. And, Murphy’s Law being what it is, of course two horses took off running at full tilt while I was riding. The VLC raised his head and paused to look, but didn’t get upset. He ignored other horses whinnying, and couldn’t have cared less about the llamas. You know what he had to give the wall eye to and sidestep away from?

You ready for this?

His own poop.

Yup. It was going to bite him in the ankles if he stepped on it. He had to sidestep into the middle of the round pen the first time to get away from it. (interesting note: he’s going to have a lovely sidepass once we actually train this into him!) When I got done laughing, we went back to the wall and after several more rounds, he managed to at least walk next to it. I do not think he ever stepped over or through it, though!

Silly, silly, very large colt!

Overall, though, no complaints. How are all of you doing? Those of you who put first rides on recently, have you gotten back up there for ride two or three? How are you doing dealing with your own fears? I seem to be totally fine on the VLC now…I know it sounds corny but I already feel like we’re a team.

Of course, now I have to start scheduling in time on the other three year old I promised to start. He’s in my comfort zone size-wise (about 13.3!)…watch him launch my butt, LOL!

By the way, tomorrow is the VLC’s third birthday! I think we’ll do ride #5, add a little trotting and celebrate the fact that no wacko yearling-riding AQHA trainer got ahold of him and ruined his legs at 16 months. 🙂

Published in: on May 2, 2008 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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