This highlight of last weekend, by far, was a visit from my good friend Kelly and her mom. I rode at the same barn as Kelly and her mom in the way back times and Kelly and I ended up going to college together. Kelly is equally as eccentric but probably twice as wonderful as me. She’s given up her breeches for spandex and tools around Colorado on her bike nowadays, but still shares that really fundamentally ingrained love for horses that true horse people always have. Her mom is also a wonderful horsewoman and not just the typical show mom. She has trained her fair share of horses and is an expert in her own right. Both of these women have just an endless wealth of horse knowledge that’s almost as vast as their kindness.
I was looking forward to their visit all week, is what I’m saying.
Smokey wasn’t as thrilled. Though, he’s never met them before and he was more irritated that I was trying to scrape off all the winter hair I could manage to so that his visitors didn’t asphyxiate on loose, flying hair.
Oh Saturday, I spent the better part of two hours just grooming. So much so that my arms were pretty much wasted by the time we got to the arena. It looked like a small [really, medium sized] woodland creature had died outside the barn when I was done. Smokey looked approximately half the size he had before, so I counted it as a win, even though there was plenty more hair to come off.
He was pretty good on the ground and really good under saddle on Saturday. We spent a lot of time doing figure eights and just tooling around the arena at a walk and trot. I’m getting more balanced, he’s getting more balanced, and he’s learning that even if he doesn’t want to go, he’s going to have to because those irritating legs around his sides won’t stop bumping until he does. We got some really good stops in, as well. He seems to be catching on to things really well in the past couple of weeks. I’m really happy with him.
Watching my boy in the sunset
On Sunday, I arrived sneakily early to the barn before Kelly and her mom got there to make sure Smokey’s death trap of a coat was at least tolerable. I got probably another 75 lbs of hair off him [just kidding, but it may have been approximately the amount of the barn cat] before they arrived and managed to shine up his mane and tail so he didn’t look quite as homeless. Kelly pointed out that he has an Apollo Ohno goatee right now. Methinks that needs to meet with the clippers soon…
This is not a good look, Smokey.
Of course we spent most of the visit talking about ye olden times and Smokey’s training and all things going on in our lives. They were smitten with Smokes [and really, who isn’t?]. He won them over by being his friendly little self and getting into literally everything – except the apples he was so kindly brought – and just being Smokey. I got him out to the arena and worked him a bit on the line before I hopped on. He did some really sweet trotting and some even better walking while we gabbed like a sewing circle. We took pictures and Kelly even got to ride him! Granted, he’s not too terribly much fun yet since he’s mostly a walk/trot mount right now, but it was nice to see another very capable rider hop on and make him go where she wanted.
We are beautiful animals. All three of us.
Kelly’s mom also bestowed some of her very nice tack on me and Smokey. We have some new headstalls and bits to try out, even a Dutton bit which I will be anxious to see if we get to use in the future. We also received a bosal and mecate setup that has started a few horses and is guaranteed to make Smokey do exactly what I’m asking (that’s how that works, right?). We’ll be trying that out this weekend if I have enough time out at the barn. Basically, I can’t really thank either one of these ladies enough for coming out and giving me all sorts of goodies. I LOVE to nerd out about horses and spending the day in the sunshine with my pony and two truly lovely ladies couldn’t have made for a better Sunday.
Hopefully, the next time Kelly is in town, Smokey will be a bit more exciting to ride and she can actually put him through his paces instead of just play “keep away from mommy” at the walk.
Look at them go! Kelly and Smokey
This week Smokes also got his six month shots and coggins taken. He was a brave boy and didn’t even really flinch for any shots or the blood being drawn; all this while the wind was gusting up to 30 mph and five other horses getting shots and x-rays and all manner of vet things done to them. He was a trooper and the vet, of course, said “He’s very well behaved for a mustang.” I like to think he’s very well behaved for a horse at this point, but I’ll take what I can get.
He was kind of a wild man before the vet appointment when I went to lunge him. He did a lot of kicking at me (which is pretty unusual for him) and a lot of unexpected and un-asked-for direction changes. The arena was pretty soaked from the rain the night before, so he was pretty uppity about the puddles at first, and the footing was a bit different than he was used to, so that might have been part of it, but with the wind being so gusty, I think it was more that he was just wound up from that. All in all, I’ll take how he acted for the day. I don’t know many horses that are totally the same horse when it’s windy out as they are when it’s not, so we’ll keep working on it for now.