Joey has been pretty much left to himself in the paddock over the last 2 or 3 days. We've been really busy. But this afternoon, I went out to take his blanket off (it was still that cold by noon O.O ), and then decided that he ought to be groomed (he was looking a little unkempt); and I thought we could both use the time together.
So we were grooming in our new cross ties, having a blast just being together. He's picked up the habit of always wanting to investigate everything before I tough his body with it -- from my own hands, to the saddle, to the curry comb, and even the hoof pick! Yet, as a result of me being polite and letting him be curious (and even respecting him when he says "no" every so often) we are working much better together; and h is willing to follow me just about anywhere and do just about anything for me.
our goal lately has been to get back in the saddle -- to give me practice before riding lesson horses again in college, and to give him practice for patiently teaching siblings how to ride when I'm gone. Even though we were consistent in our thrice-daily walks for about a week, and it's been a few days since our last walk, he was being so interactive during grooming, that we decided to tack up -- leg wraps and all!
Soon, we found ourselves eagerly taking the bit out of my cupped hand as if it were a treat -- first time he has ever taken it like that *gasp*! -- and climbing aboard to set off for a ride. We were both super happy to be stepping out in the "arena" (the second paddock) again.
We were only going out to do a walk-trot-halt transition lesson to tune up the brakes before siblings start climbing aboard (mostly walk; and we had to keep in mind that we are [both] still toning our riding muscles.)
But as soon as we got in the pen, Joey swerved into a ginormous fire-anthill, demolishing it between his back legs. I knew immediately what to expect; and no sooner did I shorten my reins and tighten my seat before Joey went from a standstill to a bucking, galloping, head-tossing, snorting bronc! The pen isn't very big, so I was trying to stay sweet but firm with all of my aids as I tried to get him to calm down while steering him around obstacles (like the fence) and trying to keep my hat on with one hand during the wicked breeze that had decided to strike up (I have got to make a stampede string for that hat. . .). I wasn't sure if he would, but Joey angrily stopped moving long enough for me to swing down and wipe the biting fire ants off of his legs and out of his tail, checking all of his polo wraps, as well.
Then it was calmly and alertly back to our walk-trot-halt transitions -- more walking than trotting, of course. (I do feel really bad for him when it happens; but when the ordeal is all said and done, I can't help but laugh out loud at the pure monster of rage my often placid, sluggish young boy turns into when it comes to fire ants -- and burs; he absolutely can't stand burs being anywhere on him. Which makes riding on 17 acres of country woods challenging at times. -_- )
Shelby (my 13yo sister) had been sent out by Mom to monitor me since I haven't been feeling very well lately. She swung up for a quick ride to work on her walk-halt (we're still working up the confidence to trot ;) ). She's got nice hands and a nice seat, especially for a "beginner" -- hardly any of it having anything to do with me or my teaching, I'm sure. No, I strongly believe that the all-time best teacher for riding is to just get on a horse and ride.
. . .Which means that if I want Shelby to be able to handle Joey without any supervision, I'll have to share. Hmph. ;)
Joey was a sweet baby-face the whole time we were untacking and grooming (and we took our time, let me tell you). And he nickered at me the whole time I walked back to the house. ^.^
We were all three simply happy just being together. <3
I did notice that Joey has a hard knot on his pastern, close to his coronet band. I was a little skeptical about riding, but we decided to go ahead, since it didn't look like it was anywhere super risky. I meant to take a picture to ask if any of my readers could tell me if it looks familiar to them. I've never seen one like this in this particular spot before. And when something out of the ordinary pops up on my horse's skin, then I become a worry wart. I'll try to get a picture of it up soon. In the meantime: can anybody tell me anything about bumps on the front of the pastern? It was maybe the size of a penny. And it was hard and didn't appear to give him any pain, even when we were riding.
*Well, I wanted to post a few pictures I took of my buddy today; but blogger has decided to be a jerk. So we will just have to wait for tomorrow.
Now it's off to take my [prescribed] steroids dose for the evening and stay up a couple more hours with that coursing through my body, catching up on Downton Abbey. :)
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