I’ve been remiss in not keeping the world updated on Smokey and his new adventures. The past two week have been a blur of surgery and pain meds, and I’m finally able to get back in action for updates!
Firstly, I was able to sneak in a lesson with the fantastic Elisa Wallace the day before my surgery. I learned a LOT and Smokey probably learned even more. She showed me how much I have been babying him and where I need to tighten up on the control to get him in line and working properly. Smokey was surprised that he actually had to do work for once, but performed quite well, and actually better than I expected he would. He was never scared, but mostly just surprised that someone was making him work like he should.
Firstly, Elisa pointed out that I basically let him call the shots and that he moves my feet (I hear your words coming out of other people too, Buck Brannaman), even when I’m grooming him. So basically, I need to get control of his feet and not let him move me around at all. This is especially true on the longeline. After speedily correcting Smokey’s misguided notion that he ran the show, Elisa got him to walk, trot AND canter on the longeline with no trouble. He tried a few times to get her moving, but didn’t succeed. It was truly impressive – mostly on Elisa’s side, but Smokey did get to show off just how athletic he is as he skittered around the arena trying to make a point.
After a while on the line, Elisa asked me how much I had done under saddle with him and I admitted that 1. I am a giant wuss and 2. we haven’t done much more than walk. She hopped right on up and took my little Smokerton through a walk, trot, canter with absolutely no incident. She even got him to give a little softer feel while she trotted him around. I just about died.
I’m actually kind of embarrassed at how well he did and how little resistance he put up to the whole riding thing. It was really humbling, but I guess we all have to learn somehow.
While I was being humbled, I was also being reminded just how athletic and awesome Smokey’s gaits are. He looked GREAT under saddle and all three of his gaits were really nice. I’m excited to get in the saddle and try it myself! Unfortunately, that won’t be for a while until my foot is healed more. I’m hoping in the interim to get Elisa to come out again and see how he handles it once he knows what the drill is (and yes, he learned fast enough to indicate that he will now understand what work time is). He was worn out after the lesson, but he actually seemed content with it all and never really balked at working. I’m happy about that since he’s been fairly lazy in my experience.
A few pics from the lesson:
Observe my ineptitude and Smokey’s lackluster actions prior to the lesson:
Off to REAL work:
Ok, now my turn….
Going for a ride:
Wrapping it up