We’re going on two months of mustang madness! I can’t believe it’s only been that long. I feel like for how far he’s come (and arguably how far I’ve held him back) that he should have been around for far longer. I can’t help but to compare him to the mustangs that are being trained for the Mustang Million and thinking that I’m really the limiting factor here. Some of these horses are doing jumps, laying down, being shown… All things I’m sure Smokey is capable of, but I’m just too much of a weenie with too little time to do them with him.
Either way, last night was a good working session. I tied my dogs to the tack cabinet (getting fuller each weekend) and retrieved Smokey from the pasture where he was waiting by the gate. How convenient. He’s learning to ground tie outside the feed room for me while I groom him and generally mess with him. I decided that since he’ll be tacked up up there, I may as well get him used to it. So I pulled out my saddle and saddle pad and tossed it on him. He didn’t seem to mind too much until I tightened the girth. I can’t hold that against him. I wouldn’t be happy either. He stood like a champ for the whole thing and even let me grab a few items before we headed down to the arena.
Once in the arena, I made him do some spins with the saddle on, asking for them with the stirrups, which he did surprisingly well at. I then took his saddle off and put it on the fence while I went to go get my dogs. I’m still wary of having my dogs with Smokey. I don’t know if he’s really just curious about them or if he would stomp them into the ground. They’re horse-stupid so I don’t want to risk it. I left Smokes in the round pen and got them and tied them on the viewing platform. They love to supervise my riding. Tucker even chimes in and lets me know when horses go too fast for his liking. It’s kind of adorable.
Tucker is a portrait in patience.
Belle is a portrait in naughtiness. (This is the most unflattering picture ever taken of this dog. She is so pretty in real life.)
I returned to Smokey and rigged up his halter to have reins on either side, rather than the one knot below. I hopped up on him and asked for a walk. He did, in fact, walk off. He also went wherever he felt like and didn’t pay much attention to me pulling on his face except to stumble when he threw his head a few times. He knows how to back up, though. We did that a few times and walked a few more places of Smokey’s choosing and then I hopped off. He seems to do well learning something new if I quit while I’m ahead, so that’s what I did.
I longed him quite a bit and asked for the canter only to get a big old buck and kick-out. Now, I’m still trying to make a deal with my brain that instead of stopping him, I need to keep him going in that situation, but my brain is slow and made him stop, gave him the angry buzzer noise and then sent him on again. He always seems to kick-out, stop, look at me like “What just happened, mom?” and then move on as if everything is all better. What a nut.
We longed quite a bit and I pushed him well past his “I don’t want to anymore” moment and he did really well while still letting me know he was doing me a favor. It’s supposed to rain all week, so I know our time will be limited at best, so I wanted to get some good work in before that. After quite a bit of longeing, I re-tacked him in the western saddle, did some more maneuvering in the saddle to get him used to the feel of it, and then walked him back up to the tack room. I’d like to brag about one thing I’ve done right (and I may have bragged before) but I have made it a habit to open the arena gate then turn him away from it and lead him in a circle, come back to the gate, stop and back and then exit. He is so much less gate sour this way, I think. I know he knows what the gate is, but is patient about exiting since he knows he has to do those things first. It’s really handy.
He stood groundtied while I took off the saddle and waited almost patiently while I put things away. I had a couple of carrots for him and he just about trampled me for the first one, but was a much better gentleman when I fed them to him in the bucket in the pasture.
On the to-do list for this week is to schedule a vet appointment to get him looked over (he has two bumps on his legs I just want checked out and get an overall once over and worming schedule worked out). He also needs his teeth checked and possibly wolf teeth taken out (I haven’t even looked. I’m a perfect mom.) or floated. I’ll also mull over some supplements for him. I feel like he’s a bit on the thin side and for the muscling I want him to have, he’ll have to gain some weight. We’ll see what the vet says and what I read about in the next couple of weeks.