This weekend, I managed to get three sessions in with Smokey in four days! Probably the most work he’s done in months, and definitely the most I’ve done in almost the past two. I can only hope he’s half as tired as I am right now!
That being said, I have had a few other outings to the barn since the lesson with Elisa. I’m happy to report that Smokey is not a total idiot and has retained a good portion of what Elisa taught him; namely that he actually has to move when told to. There’s still a lot of work to do, but he is MUCH more responsive now, both on the loungeline and leadline. This means he’s much easier for me to deal with while I’m gimping around in my boot and I can actually lounge him without the training flag AND don’t have to chase him all around to make him move. Sometimes I can even get him to stay in a canter, though that seems pretty difficult for him in such a small circle at the moment. He might need me to run after him a couple times for that to be polished off.
Since I’ve been in the boot for over a month now, I still haven’t gotten on him (which is killing me). He will undoubtedly be a different horse under saddle, as well. I’m excited that I have another lesson scheduled for next Wednesday, and hopefully I’ll get to see him go under saddle again – if not hop on him for a bit myself. I’ll still be in the boot, so I’m trying really hard to wait until I’m out of it to get on him. Safety first!
Jenn came out this weekend and we made a day of horse things by visiting Smokey and then going to see the PBR Built Ford Tough Series event (which was loads of fun). She took some great pictures, and I took some not so great pictures of her working Smokey. It’s good for me to get some outside perspective on what he’s doing while watching someone else work him, too.
Jenn working Smokey
Some sad news out of my barn came last week with the death of the matriarch mare in Smokey’s group. Her cause of death is unknown, but all signs indicated some neurological issue. Her owner said that the other horses were gathered around here, protecting her, the morning she was found. At least she passed with a pasture full of friends.
The passing of Angel has led to some interesting shake up in the herd dynamics for Smokey’s group. With the addition of Virginia, a Belgian/Saddlebred cross (and stunning dressage horse), she has taken over the top of the food chain. Joe and Smokey seem to kind of vie for second place, but ultimately seem like just good buddies who aren’t particularly competing. God bless geldings, right? I think that Smokey occasionally confronts Virginia, but out of sheer size, she chases him away. Everyone seems to get along well and no one appears to be going hungry, so all is well.
Dinnertime last night
In my never-ending quest to find the perfect tack for me and my horse, I have been toying with finding a bosal to work Smokey in. I haven’t been happy with his reaction to the snaffle bit that I’ve tried on him, and am wondering if starting him in a bosal would really be any different in the end. I want him to be a leg cue horse anyway, so why not? He seems to respond fine to the rope halter while under saddle, so I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch. What I HAVE found out about buying bosals is that a decent one is pretty pricey. If anyone has some good ideas on where to find one for a reasonable price, I’d be eternally grateful. I’m currently scoping out Steve Guitron’s bosals as a reasonably priced option.
I’m also coveting the above Dale Chavez bosal set. Early Valentines Day gift, anyone?
As what turned out to be a funny story and nothing more, one of the other boarders put Joe in my roundpen on a particularly cold and frisky horse day. As he ran around, he also decided that he would try to go visit with the other horses who had been turned out. He made a flying leap, from a standstill, I hear, and cleared the panels (all 5 feet of them) with his front end, but wasn’t so lucky with his back legs. He landed on the panel and mangled two of them. Magically, he managed to walk away with some scrapes and nothing more to show for it. The panels, though….yikes. It’s hard to believe they can look like this and he is still standing!
And the PBR was awesome. Go see it if it comes near you!