I had possibly the best mother’s day I could imagine this year. I got to play mustang most of the afternoon with Elisa Wallace!
Naturally, the unruly gelding bunch had managed to free themselves into a pasture they weren’t supposed to be in, so Elisa hopped on Rune to herd them back in (Fledge was just too muddy). After several misses, she determined that Smokey and I near the gate was hindering things, so we moved and voila! All the geldings into the correct pasture.
We took the mustang boys up to the barn, hers to hose off and Smokey to let me piddle around with. I had to hose him too, since he had basically done a stop, drop and roll as if he were on fire right before I caught him. I mean, he literally was cantering along and then just plopped down. He’s super weird.
Smokey is a rather bratty child with no patience and a little bit of a temper, so he was apparently left in the washrack to work out his demons for quite a while the other day. Hopefully he’s decided that pawing to get what he wants isn’t the answer finally. It sure seemed to have helped as of yesterday – He was very quiet while he was drying.
Look, mom! I’m standing in the washrack like a big boy!
We got tacked up, Elisa on the fancypants eventing horse Johnny and me on little old Smokes. An odd couple, no doubt. I was planning on just puttering around, but I think Elisa is actually a slave driver and made me work for it. We did a lot of trotting which was new and exciting since he actually moves forward now. For such a little guy, he’s got a pretty big step, so it was fun to get him rolling along. It also helps keep his brain in the arena and not on literally anything else he can think of.
He was a good boy in general, even though I was totally wiped out after about 30 seconds. I have SERIOUSLY got to start working out again. I got some good pointers on how to keep him from being stupid about things like banners and jumps and other scary objects. He’s actually settled quite a bit, I think.
Oh, and basically the highlight of my day: we got to canter! I hadn’t cantered on Smokey, so naturally, Elisa wanted me to (she also wanted me to jump, but I can only be persuaded to do so many things at once). Smokes isn’t exactly a speed demon, so it took us chasing Johnny at the canter to break form a big ol’ trot into an actual canter. I was really thrilled to find out that not only will Smokey not buck me off like an insane horse at the canter, but he also has a really nice canter. He’s naturally very uphill and decently smooth. Granted, we didn’t go very far so it was more of a guy reaction to all of it, but I’ll tell you what, next time we’re going to do a lot more of that. It was pretty much the coolest.
After our ride, we untacked and then Elisa offered to lay him down for me. I was pretty excited since he appeared to be dead in the video she sent me last week. I figured he’d be pretty cool about it since, well, he’d get to lay down. Turns out Smokey isn’t cool as a cucumber about it. Elisa spent quite a while dancing around with him while he pulled some pretty sweet moves and showed us just how much of a motor he has in his hind end. He finally gave in and plopped down. And once he’s down, goodness, it’s naptime.
Since he was peacefully chillin’ out lying down, Elisa went to get Fledge. Smokey didn’t even bother to get up until they came into the arena. Fledge showed Smokes how it’s done by a professional and, of course, laid down when he was asked. That guy is adorable – and he’s always smiling. It was such a treat to get to see a “finished” mustang doing things he’s supposed to.
On another note, Elisa used Smokey to round up a wayward pony the other day and said he seems to understand “latching on” to another animal to herd it. That’s pretty exciting news since I have been debating doing some cutting with him and have a clinic in November that I’m on the list for that would have a cutting class in the afternoons. Maybe he can learn a few things!