It may not appear that I win if you look out the window right now. It is mid-March snow is falling from the sky and a blanket of it covers the ground. The tempuratures are right around freezing. Cold enough to be fridged out yet the ground under that blanket of snow is a slopping muddy mess. So it would appear that winter and mud season both are winning in this senario but I have a trick up my sleeve and I assure I am winning! I am quite excited for some up and coming changes. I am having some serious withdrawls from riding and all the nasty weather/mud just adds to it. Without going into a big long story the short of it is that I met some great connections in the area. Finally, it only took nearly 9 years but I have found and connected with some one in this area that rides something other than Western pleasure headless horses. Some other great news, our 4-H group put together a dressage and jumping clinic for the kids and they actually got some people that knew what they were talking about to present it to the club. We were able to lay down the very very basics of dressage and some of the kids seemed genuinely interested and a couple WP barn owners came up and asked about getting their kids some lessons. I couldn't have asked for it to have gone any better. Sorry the ADD got me there. Back to what I was really writing about. I met a girl who is a senoir at the local college(where the clinic was held) and is on the college team. She was half leasing a horse that just was sold and was hoping to find something to half lease until graduation mid May. It perked my interest and we set up a test ride for yesterday.
Before she rode him I took a bonafide dressage lesson. In my lesson (first time with this instructor) the instructor was working soley on me. She is big on "centered riding" basically if the rider is correct it then allows the horse to move correctly more easily. So I am flopping around up there trying my hardest to do what she is asking and Steady was getting quite annoyed the whole time. We were doing quite a few walk halt transitions and he is not a fan of a bunch of transitions. His canter departs are awful right now and he has a bit of an attitude when asked. All that to say that I did a really good job getting him nice and irritated for the young gal to get on him and 'test' him out.
She gets on and they look like a complete hot mess. His head is a mile high in the air and either slowing way down and getting jiggy or rushing around inverted and she looked worried up there. As I was watching them go round I was trying to figure out why he was going around like that. He never does that. Don't get me wrong he does plenty to evade but this was new. I knew she had to have been doing something but it being the first time I have ever seen another person actually ride my horse I was trying to translate how I ride to this girl. I mean she was a nice quiet rider. She had a good light seat and quiet hands so I could see she knew how to ride. I finally realized that her contact was either non-exsistent or yanking back. I thought, yikes this is not going to work if that is how she rides. I finally told her that she needed more consistent contact and to stop using her hands so much to stop him and just keep a solid contact with his mouth then push him forward with your leg. In about 5 minutes they looked completely different. She did exactly as I asked and they actually looked quite nice. I think she was just nervous riding my horse as I am standing there watching her and didn't know exactly what was 'ok' to do on him. Which I can completely understand. Through out the rest of the ride I saw her have an issue with him and then she would figure out how to solve it. Over all I was very happy with them together. And now Steady will be on half lease for the next two months.
You may ask 'why' would I half lease out my horse. I mean I don't share well especially when it comes to my Steady. Well I am doing it to beat the nasty weather/footing and to get a jump start on the season. A jump start for me at least. See if I am working at home I am slave to the weather and mud. With his exhuberant attitude lately I am not comfortable riding in my pasture like I normally do with out getting a few miles on him first. I can't lunge in the mud and you can pretty much count out any cantering until some of this mess clears up. So it really really limits what we can do in a short amount of time. So now he will be at the college barn that is very nice. It as a 100x200 indoor and a large outdoor arena. I am super excited and can't wait to move him in. Board is normally $300 but with her college discount and she is putting in a little extra since I cover all other costs I will have to pay a total of $100 a month. That I can swing. I will have to give up 3 days a week of riding but hey I think the extra help conditioning him will be nice. He will get ridden 6 days a week which is not typical for him I usually keep it to 4-5 but it will be on nice footing and I will keep a close eye that he is not getting soured at all. I love his work ethic and I want to keep it that way but I imagine he will do just fine with it. I mean he didn't get burnt out on work with 8 years in the track life I think he will be fine with a little extra. I also think it will be great for him to have another rider for a while because all he knows is me. She is a good enough rider that I don't see her doing anything counter productive and really it is for such a short time I am not worried about that. And I know how forgiving Steady is I mean he has put up with me from fat and floppy to fit and sorta still floppy ;) and all my mistakes in between. They have 12 hour a day turn out and they take care of everything except the stall cleaning and her and I will share that. Lily will probably be quite sad because that leaves her alone for that time but she will have to make do for now. Eeeeee, I'm cited!
And for your viewing pleasure and daily dose of adorableness I leave you with this. My heart and soul...