My coffee is cold
As are my hands, so I am back to two finger typing. 35 and raining again; everybody’s favorite weather. Since I cleaned a boatload of tack yesterday, I guess I get to scrub toilets today. Just another one of those jobs volunteers won’t do. They also don’t show up in the rain, not that I blame them for that. This is nasty!
So, today riding was rained out. Yesterday was hunted out. Keswick came through, and as soon as that happens, the horses go nuts! Flash was cool as the trailers came in (they park in the field next to the barn), but as soon as everyone mounted up, his attention was shot. I did a lot of leg yielding back to the barn and got off before we had a melt down. Too late for Bailey. As he was in a stall with a view of the trailers, he was in the process of dismantling my barn by the time I got to him.
I have started getting calls about adopting again, but it’s been weird. The last three calls were for, in order, a prelim eventer, a three foot hunter, and a dressage schoolmaster. Yeah, that walks off the track every day. Really? And it occurs to me that if I had the time, talent and resources (i.e. money) to produce those three horses, A) they’d be worth a heck of a lot more than 500 to 2500 bucks, and B) I probably wouldn’t be working here. Today I’d be somewhere warm and sunny with one of those fruity umbrella drinks admiring the pool boy or something. Dog it’s cold!
So, here’s what I actually do with horses I think will be adoptable:
Round pen and in hand work to make sure I can get on and off safely, from either side (since I don’t believe there is a “wrong” side. I’ve also been stuck in the hunt field where the easiest way back on was the “wrong” side. The practice paid off). They learn the voice commands for walk, trot, canter and my favorite word, WHOA.
Since they already know left and go, I teach right and stop. Once we’ve got that down, we pick up the trot and practice left, right, stop, go. Even better if we can get a bit of balance going on. Now that we have the basics of steering, we add gate and flask maneuvers (turn on the forehand, back, leg yields). All very handy. Then we do poles and cross rails.
Lastly I take them out on trails and around Montpelier and push all the buttons I can to make sure that if I adopt this horse out, it isn’t going to blow up in someone’s face. I used to take them out second flight, and if they held it together for that, adoption was easy. But I haven’t had a horse that sound for a while. Bummer. It was fun.
If they still haven’t been adopted, I will try some gymnastics or something, provided lameness is not the reason they are still with me. But that’s all I do. I don’t produce a finished product. I try my best to make certain the horse I adopt out is a solid citizen. From there the adopter can make a fox hunter, barrel racer, trail horse or dressage beastie. Up to them.
To answer other weird questions:
Does it go bareback? With those withers, I ain’t gonna find out. If you are into pain, go for it.
Does it ride double? Might. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.
I’ll talk to you all soon.