They say that bad things come in three and it has been a bit of a bad streak for me. Gavilan choking, Love sliced his foot, horse with two gushing arteries on both sides of his foot and Letterman getting cast. That is enough to drive you to drink. Thankfully, all horses are okay and sanity has been restored.
Sometimes the best way to feel better is to just get out and ride. However, this weather makes riding darn near impossible unless you can get up super early to beat the heat. I have had a few days off so I have been able to do just that so I can get some rides in.
I wanted to illustrate a video series of the first few rides on Bling. When I picked him up he had been off the track for about 8 months but basically living in a stall with an hour of solo turnout a day.
This was the first ride:
All new horses are sort of a mystery that you unfold as you get going. The first ride told me a bunch of things. He had been galloped very deep and curled. He didn’t really seem to love metal bits. He was all over weak in his body. He didn’t steer. He didn’t go forward. He wasn’t spooky. He wasn’t hot. He wasn’t mean. He is big and I look stupid on him. Making him go where he was supposed to go was quite the challenge. He got pissy when having to turn away from the barn or go straight. He had not a clue what leg meant. Both legs caused him confusion and he reacted with little humps of his back. He could have been really bad but he wasn’t.
I took all the above thoughts and decided to give him some more time. Transition him to turnout first. Then spend some time doing groundwork and installing a forward button.
Now this is the ride #2 but a month after the first ride.
Notice how much forward he is and that he just looks stronger. I wasn’t quite quick enough to figure out that perhaps I should change bits so I’m still in the metal bit. Although he is still very curled at the canter he is going forward and I can kick him out in front of me which improves the steering. Once again you can tell he isn’t sure but he isn’t mean. He is trying super hard to please. I believe I was riding him with a whip in each hand to help me control his shoulders for the steering. This works super well just a little tap here and there on the shoulder to keep them straight.
Here is the 4th ride from yesterday.
Now in the herm sprenger duo. I have him forward..yes I’m kicking a lot and using my dressage whip but he is lazy. He will get stronger but right now he takes a ton of leg to keep going forward. It’s essential that he goes forward and you don’t try to mess with the reins because of his past history of curling. I want him to think go..go..go. Ride him a bit over paced for now. Normal canter transitions!!!!! A bit snarky in the one going to the right but immediately picked his head up and out and cantered like a normal horse. Steering is much improved. I can make turns, circles and keep him off the rail. I try not to ride the rail on any horse but this horse absolutely is not allowed to stay on the rail or many straight lines at that. His muscles are in the process of changing. It’s hard to visually see but he has lost some of the thickness. He will begin to shape his neck differently and will become more uphill.
He is another one of those horses that I think people would snap right up. Big, beautiful and quiet. However, he does need somebody that knows how to fix these few minor issues or I think you could get in over your head with him. It can be a bit intimidating to really lift, kick and use your whip to send them forward when they are trying to put their head down between their knees. You have to have faith that it will all work out in your favor. If you didn’t kick him up and out perhaps he would buck. Now, I don’t feel a mean bone in this horse at all. That is probably just how they rode him. He doesn’t understand what I’m asking him to do but look how quickly he has figured it out. He is about as sweet as they come. I have no doubts that he is going to be amazing in a few more rides. I just thought this was a very cool video series to show you just how these guys can look to be restarted. The good, bad and ugly.
Ideally, we would ride him out of the ring to get him really forward, strong and up and out but it is so hot and the bugs are in attack mode. Hopefully the weather breaks soon and I can get him out. He is just so chill about everything. I adore him. He loves people and will just put his head right in your chest and let you snuggle with him. He now allows me to fly spray him so we have got that figured out.
Love has been off with his bad heel grab. He grabbed the back of the heel and put a nice slice right above the hoof wall into the coronary band. He was very ouchy. He seemed happy to be back in work. He wasn’t as steady in the bridle as he had been when I left off but I think way better than the last video that I showed of him. It just takes time but he is on the right track.
I also picked up two new horses this week from Delaware Park. Both are absolutely lovely and I’m excited to see what they will become. My two should be sold just as they are ready to get started.
I would like to get Love out to another xc school but I’m going to advertise him soon. If this weather ever breaks I feel like I could get a lot more done with the horses.