Bringing in the Specialist

As I mentioned, my brother came to visit for the holiday weekend. He brought britches, boots, and helmet, and today he got to meet Lucky. It was creeping up to 90, almost, but at least it wasn’t humid. That makes it a thousand times worse. Lucky thinks it’s all bad enough as it is. Though considering that prior to this year he spent the overwhelming majority of his life in Florida, you would think he’d be used to the heat!

I got up first, and since I brought my camera (and ride in jeans, so I had it in my pocket) I snapped a photo:

The view from above.

We walked and trotted a bit and then my brother got to take a test drive.

My brother has been riding Gids, a Perch/TB cross who takes even more leg than Lucky requires. He also is apparently taller and wider. As such, he had relatively little trouble getting a trot that lasted more than halfway round the ring. Then he tried the canter. Lucky still needs to rush into it from a trot, and of course, the big excitement of the day happened while they were trying for that left lead he hates so much. Someone next door either was shooting or setting off a couple firecrackers. Lucky did a bit of a scoot, but my brother did not have a problem stopping him. The problem was not so much the ‘pop’ from next door as Dom, Trudy, and Takota bolting. More trotting and he worked through it.

Once my brother finished, I got back on and, finger or no finger, tried some cantering myself. Between the two of us, we’ve figured out that Lucky is cross-cantering. I think that must be what the people who passed on him that Jared had mentioned meant about ‘not changing behind.’ Even when he does pick up the left lead, he’s still on the right behind. My brother did get both leads eventually, while I tried using a crop tap to get him to switch when he wouldn’t pick up the left for me (which he did, somewhat reluctantly.

My brother’s take in general is positive–it was definitely a different experience for someone who’s been riding road-broke draft crosses and a grade jumper who’s doing courses. He thinks, though, with work, he’s going to be a very nice horse. Though he finds Lucky short. Since Gids is 17+, I think that’s really more an eye of the beholder thing.

Once he gets home tomorrow, he’ll upload the photos from his camera, and hopefully I’ll have a new confo shot showing how sleeknshiny Lucky’s gotten. And some pictures of me riding, though I might not want to post photo evidence of me ignoring doctor’s orders!

I need a right-hand man.

Well, actually, a left-hand man. Any man. (But that’s another blog.) It isn’t even so much I’m worried about hurting my hand when I ride as there are times when it would be really, really helpful to be able to close my left hand completely. Such as today. Since for once it was sunny (hot, even) and I had time, and had walked the dogs, and had nowhere I needed to be I figured that it was a good day for a ride. Lucky was less positive, but he was good as usual for grooming and saddling. We had one unexpected bounce when some sort of doggy disaster broke out across the road, involving screaming and running. Otherwise, Lucky was he normal phlegmatic self, ignoring the tractor mowing the pastures.

Before I bought Lucky I had said that if I bought a horse again I wanted a packer. And as I’m riding around the round pen practically on the buckle I realized that in certain respects I absolutely have. Lucky is happiest at a stop, but will cooperate with a walk without too much urging. Trotting actually went reasonably well. In lieu of working on the canter (as I really do need both hands for that) I’ve started on stretching and turns on the forehand. Lucky is tolerant of this. He also was quite tolerant of my opening the gate off his back again. This required my leaning WAY over on the post and reaching across his neck with my right hand to lift the gate up. He also seemed generally more accepting of the Kimberwicke, which is good, because I am not in a position to adjust a lot of tiny little stubborn buckles to swap bits again.

Unfortunately we got out of the round pen and his response to walking to the big ring was “Aw, hell, no!” With a side order of “I don’t wanna and you can’t make me.” Quite literally–this was not a major explosion in horse terms, but he made it explicitly clear that he was not turning right when ‘right’ meant going to the ring, not going forward when pointed in that direction, and would in fact go backwards rapidly if necessary to avoid either of the former. Given I have no effective way of using both reins to correct him, this is not helpful. So I got off and we had a walk. I’m sure he feels that was some sort of win, and it’s insanely frustrating that I can’t really do anything about it, but I cannot think of what I’d do with one rein.

Too bad for Lucky my brother is coming to visit next week. The one who’s been riding a jumper of unknown origins (he was apparently a rescue, possibly some sort of QH cross, who LOVES to go fast) that takes a lot more whoa than go, and a Percheron/TB cross who, much like Lucky, needs more go than whoa. And he has two functioning hands and lots of prior experience riding an OTTB. So even if I can’t steer very well, someone’s coming to visit who can.

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