Regular readers of the Chronicle forums can probably guess who Lucky’s new pasture buddy is.
Dino arrived earlier this week, and he and Lucky are now turned out in one of the big pastures. Dino is very friendly and comes right over to say hello. Somewhere under all that hair I’m sure is a very nice horse.
Lucky, meanwhile, is probably going to go to the FAR end of the pasture tomorrow. Not because he is annoyed by his pasture buddy but because apparently I like to torture him. Since the weather was unexpectedly nicer today than the forecast suggested (yesterday was sleet) we could actually get into the big ring. I brought my jump bat from home, something that would be easier to swap from hand to hand, and today I also wore my riding boots for the first time in quite a while. Dancing involves a lot of standing on the ball of the foot with the heel elevated. I have a few muscles that find ‘heels down’ more of a stretch than they used to.
Lucky did step off again, but stopped and waited when I asked. We were able to use the entire ring for the first time, and I think it helped his concentration. There was wind, and plenty of dry leaves, but he was not as interested in what was going on outside. Though that may change, and I’m wondering if when we finally get out on the trails I might be going crashing through the woods to visit Penny, the redheaded mare next door. Apparently she is interesting.
Since we had open ring and it was dry, we tried some trotting. I went from being impressed at the big springy trot to being glad I had the stick to wondering about exercises for increasing calf muscles. Lucky would go about ten feet and begin trying to slow down. Wayyyyyyy down. Ideally to a halt. And there is no bending. We have almost no idea what leg means, especially on the right. There was a lot of work on that side, and with a lot of leg, strong inside snaffle rein and some tweaking with the inside curb rein, even a few brief moments of actual yielding. And we had trotting. Lots of trotting. Much more trotting than Lucky really wanted. He also seems to think a pat on the neck means come to a dead halt.
And as a result of my being lazy and really not wanting to dismount and climb back up, we dealt another blow to the myth of the hysterical, hyperactive OTTB. Lucky can let a rider open a gate from his back. Okay, the outdoor gate is on a roller, making it slightly easier, and we didn’t try the trickier outward-opening gate to the round pen, but he let me walk him beside the gate, lean over, and pull it open with one hand while backing him with the other. We went for a short walk outside, but since we were ‘home alone’ again I decided not to try going down the lanes, as if the other horses charged the fence, as they’re prone to do, and he decided to run, his choice at the end of the lane would be a fast stop and swerve or an attempt to jump a metal five-bar gate. Either way, I wasn’t giving much for my chances of sticking with either option, and who knows when the BO and her husband would be home? So we rode around behind the barn, went back into the ring and closed the gate behind us, and did one more time around before I got off. Lucky even managed to work up a tiny bit of a sweat under his girth. Not much of one, but it’s more than we’ve done so far.
He will be getting a visit from the vet this week (annual vaccines, plus he has a scaly skin patch I’d like looked at–please, Lord, not another one with fungus) and from the equine dentist. Plus, my eBay expeditions have been successful! A Crosby PDN saddle, plus a Crosby FLAT hunter bridle, are on their way to me, for a combined total of purchase and shipping for less than half what the saddle retailed for new. The bridle is also smaller, which should spare me having to punch more hole in the cheek pieces and caveson on the normal horse-size he’s wearing now (which actually can bow out with bit action and it’s on the top holes.) Of course, I’ll probably need a new girth and I’ll eventually need to find reins that match the bridle. But we’re not going to any shows any time soon, so there’ll be no one to care if we match or not.