Dipping and Ducking

Maybe I’ve maxed out at a hundred posts or something, but man. Not that much has been going on.

That’s not really true, otherwise I would have written more.

Much has happened (there, that’s better) since I last wrote!

#1 on my mind is that my poor, disaster of a dog, Tucker, tore his second ACL in under a year by jumping off a 3 foot retaining wall in my back yard (I guess he wasn’t going to be any good at evening anyhow…). Since he blew this one out all at once, it was much more dramatic than last time and he three-legged about the rest of that night until I heard his get up to get water around 3AM and he fell. I turned on the light to see him just lying there, shaking. Off to the E-vet. 2 hours and one on-call doc’s opinion of “maybe a hip” and I headed home to get to work. A call around lunchtime confirmed that the surgeon says it’s definitely an ACL. Fast forward a week and Little Man is in for surgery. Vet and Vet Tech assure me all went well but that there was “extensive damage” and they had to remove most of his kneecap. All this means he’ll have more arthritis as he ages – Cue me buying glucosamine in bulk.

Cute story: the vet said he went to take a look at Tuck and read “border collie mix” on his chart. Came to the kennel he was in and said “Wow. Border collie with a LOT of corgi mix!” Designer dog, that Tucker. Before it Borgis were cool.

20140803_095659My Haussie (Hound x Aussie) and Borgi (Border Collie x Corgi)

Things are going alright with him now. It’s been exactly a month today since his surgery and while all things were looking good, the past day or so has been a bit trying, so I’m hoping I’ll see some improvement tonight. If not, we’ll be back to the vet… Poor little guy!

“But this is a blog about Smokey!” you say? Ok, well here comes 100% more pony-themed things:

Last I left off we were having some communication problems. Some? Really, we were having massive communication problems. I wasn’t speaking green horse every well and he was, well, being a jerkface. In the past few weeks, we have started to really bridge that gap. I’ve been working on using my legs and keeping my hands MUCH quieter. I had a human breakthrough on the gate mishaps that kept happening when I realized that his weird drifting around the barn-side corners could be solved with a few timely smacks by a crop since my leg kicking him really just didn’t cut it.

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Crop, you say?

So, where are we now? Well, right now, we’re in a good place. For all of the greenie things he does, Smokes is probably one of the most tolerant horses I have ever ridden. If he doesn’t like what you’re doing, he lets you know, but not by bucking or spooking or taking off. He just gets pretty testy. He tosses his head, he doesn’t listen to cues, he generally just kind of spaces out. Really, I couldn’t ask for more.

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My seriously good boy

The barn-side turns have really made an improvement when I’m paying attention to them. He’ll still take any opportunity when my mind isn’t 100% focused on it to drift out on that side, but comes right back into it if I remind him that he’s only about 6” away from the crop at any given time – and I can close that gap pretty quickly. Should I forget my crop (like I did last night), there seems to be some trying of the shoulder dip, but not too much anymore. My leg support helps, but I have to apply it very early to get a reaction. He still seems to have some of the green horse stickiness going on.

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I’m lucky I’m handsome!

I’ve been working on circles, backing up, breaking at the pole and cantering too. I’m very excited at the roundness of his circles. If I don’t mess him up too badly, they’re usually awfully pretty in a freshly drug arena. Our backing up is a little sticky sometimes when he wants to go in, but aside from that, it’s pretty trusty. And he’d much rather whoa than go, so we generally don’t have much issue slowing down from something faster than a walk.

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Stopping for photos is my jam!

I’m super excited with the progress he’s made at “getting on the bit” or breaking at the pole. I’ve been asking him to keep his nose down and tucked in somewhat at the walk for a few weeks now, but we’re transferring it (slowly) to the trot and even a little at the canter. I can’t wait to see video of me riding (which I’m determined to take this week) with his face all cute and in. This will also hopefully help with his topline. I’d really like to see some more muscle up there soon.

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Not if I keep letting him graze like this…

For all of the scariness I have about cantering, Smokey is actually a pretty cool customer about it. Even when I’m being dumb. He totes me around dutifully and sometimes even listens to what I’m asking at the canter. He’s got a bad case of drift at the canter and REALLY would like to dump me as he swings back into the arena wall and want to change direction when we go counter-clockwise. This is the same way he tries to dip really hard for the gate, so it’s somewhat to be expected. I’d been trying to keep him down at the other half of the arena away from said gate to avoid this, but apparently that’s not enough. Going to have to duke it out with him at some point. I will say, though, that his canter is quite enjoyable. It’s rhythmic, powerful and yet pretty controlled for a guy with that much of an engine. I’m pretty happy thus far.

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The very best seat in the house

What else? Well….I’ve been booting him up the past couple of rides as he’s a bit clumsy with his feet still, so I thought it might do him some good. For your viewing pleasure, I put on his neon green polos last night and really gave myself a kick. He, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly thrilled by them.

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So, what’s next? Well, I’m hoping to get some solid time in with him as I have a week of vacation coming up, and hopefully coaxing Elisa to come give us a lesson where I actually *gasp* RIDE. Dude, we both need a guiding hand right now. Aside from that, we’re just going to keep on trucking. Hopefully we’ll get some great rides in this week and see where that gets us!

And now, some mustang humor:

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About smokeythemustang

I'm just a girl who loves horses, who's asking horses to love her back. Right now I'm training a wild mustang. Or he's training me. You decide.
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