I’ve been slacking in my Smokey Reports as of late. Some pretty cool things have transpired in the past couple of weeks:
First of all, we went on our first “trail” ride! Sharon met us down at the barn with Ace and offered to escort us through the woods behind the barn for our first non-arena outing. It was great! Smokey was steady and behaved himself and I basically just held on for dear life because I was sure we were going to bolt and I was going to lawn dart it. Having Sharon and Ace there was an immense help. Whenever I felt like Smokes was insecure about something, I smushed him up to Ace, who dutifully accepted our ridiculousness and plodded on like the champ he is. Ace got to handle the Smokey and Sharon got to handle me. I think Ace got the better deal in that one. No one should ever be asked to slow down at a walk, you guys. I’m so ashamed.
I will admit that I dismounted to walk past the boat and chair combo right next to the arena wall. I had visions of a freakout and subsequent trial by fire of banks as the land meets the arena wall (PS – it’s pretty tall, like maybe 6 feet). Not something I’m ready to try yet. Is that even legal height? I don’t want to know if it is…
Secondly, Smokey and I rode English for the first time and have even tried it a few more times this week. I maybe have a buying problem and love having the “right” tack and attire for whatever I’m doing, so I bought some better fitting half chaps and a Stubben bridle to finish out our English look.
I’m so handsome, even though I act like I hate everything.
Thus far, everything has been a success. I’m horrified by how unbalanced I am in the English tack right now. I thought it would be a piece of cake to hop on without my trusty horn, but as it turns out, I’mmmmmm pretty out of shape. I’ll just go ahead and admit it.
For those of you who have asked about what a grab strap is, here’s a picture of mine:
Now, while I’m super happy it’s there, it by no means makes me feel like I have anything to grab on to when Mr. Look-At-Everything-That-Isn’t-What-I’m-Supposed-To looks at something scary outside the arena and drops a shoulder and spins. Granted, he hasn’t actually spooked while I’ve been in English tack yet, but having a spook big enough to unseat me and have me catch myself on the saddle horn within the past week keeps me on edge. Oh, and I’ll go ahead and get it out there that I haven’t cantered in the English saddle yet. I am a wuss.
Speaking of Mr. Look-At-Everything-That-Isn’t-What-I’m-Supposed-To, he’s also Mr. I’m-Still-Trying-To-Get-Out-That-Gate. Literally every time we turn towards the barn in a circles, on the rail, on a diagonal, he speeds up. And then if we are passing the sacred “gate” that he hasn’t left the arena from in months, he drops a shoulder towards it and temporarily loses steering until I get in his mouth. And then he gets mad. And then we fight all the way to the next turn towards the barn. Rinse and repeat.
While I’ve managed to get out of his face much more than I was, I’m still struggling with this. The more I’m out of his face, the happier he is however, he still doesn’t steer off my leg enough to be completely hands-free. Especially by the “gate.” Last night, we kind of had a breakthrough and I think we’re starting to work together on the problem a little more than we were before. He’s looking at the other horses a little bit less, but still kind of spacey in the arena, but it seems to be getting more under control as I ask him for a little more (like bending and sidepassing and going near scary things).
Oh, and speaking of spooks – Did you know what stand fans are the scariest thing Smokey has ever encountered? I didn’t. Not until last night. Since he’s so brave about so many things, I just figured the stand fan inside the barn was going to be old hat, but Smokes had other ideas. Was it that it was on? Was it that he wasn’t expecting it? Was it that he had his fly mask on? I don’t know, but what I do know is he turned the corner to the barn and LOST IT. I haven’t ever seen him spook that badly. He pulled the leadrope all the way to the end through my hand and would have kept going if I didn’t hold tightly. It was one of those spooks where he might have gone through a fence or something, I think. Just the complete brain incapacitation spook.
Once I got him back on planet earth, we took a while to approach and sniff and wobble it. He never did really get comfortable with it, but at least he didn’t wet himself when he walked past it the next few times. Silly pony.
Aside from that, I found out a few things about Smokey’s coat last night. One is that he is going to magically produce a sock on his right hind leg. It’s there, and I always knew it was kind of there, but now it’s going to be there for people who aren’t examining him closely, too.
His front left is also getting spots. Spots of white. I’m not pleased. Sigh. I was hoping he’d stay gray. I guess I’ll have to learn to love my white pony, too. And invest in shampoo…. Lots of shampoo….
Out, damn spot!
Oh, and just in case that wasn’t enough – he’s shedding again! What! It’s July! Wasn’t this supposed to be over in May??
Mom, I don’t really know what you want me to do about all this hair falling off me…
Well, Ol’ Smokerton and I will keep at it. He seems to be growing and filling out some right now. It’s neat to watch him come into himself more. His neck has gotten downright big for his medium sized body.
Mom says I’m getting bigger. I dunno about all that. PS – I can see that fan from here.
He’ll be getting his first true farrier trim tomorrow (Elisa trimmed them while he was at camp), since his feet have gotten a bit chippy as of late. I just want to make sure all is well with them, and I definitely don’t want to put shoes on if I don’t have to. The farrier didn’t seem too thrilled that he would be the first farrier to trim his feet, but I told him more out of an abundance of caution than anything else. I expect a fine report card tomorrow for his visit.
Hopefully with more interesting updates on his molting and riding. And my fitness level. Although, no one really cares about my fitness when that fine animal is near me (that’s why I keep him around!).