Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day two - First Day in the Saddle part 2

On my way back to practice I thought about what Mark said about working with young horses, or more specifically, babies.

Here's an embarrassing confession. It hadn't really clicked in my head that Smokey was a baby - I thought of the whole "baby" thing as a term of endearment. Not a literal description of what he is.

Over and over people would tell me how cute my "colt" was.

Colt? I didn't have a colt. This is a colt:

Smokey, to me, was not a colt. He was a horse.

But of course, he is really a baby. Mark explained that for the first three + years of a horse's life he can do whatever the heck he wants. Eat when he wants. Run when he wants. Pester when he wants. Then, at 3 or so the other members of the herd put their hooves down and the baby has to toe the line.

Smokey, like all babies, needed to grow up and realize that he had a job. That there were expectations that had to be met.

And it was my job to do that.

I need to keep my signals simple and clear.

The next time I came up we worked on stopping without the turn. That's when Smokey got his new nickname from Mark.


It took a while, but we got to a nice, clean stop without turning.

By the way my phrasing was off in my last post. The idea was to focus on a spot where I was going to stop and just keep that spot. Not compromise. We had to stop when I was facing the spot I was looking at, period.

Whew. That took a while.

Being compromising by nature was not a good thing. But we got it done.


We left the clinic to jet down to the East Mountains of Albuquerque to pick up my niece and drop off Donna who was looking forward to a quiet evening. My niece and I went to meet bloggers!

Justina and Don, from Morning Bray, Val from Fantastyk Voyage and a surprise from Lisa from Laughing Orca Ranch!

It was a bit of a wait for dinner, but the food was great and the company even better. We laughed, shared stories, learned top secret answers to questions we always wondered about (See? this is why you have to go to dinner with bloggers. Ply them with food till they talk!).

And we celebrated Don's and my birthday! Yep, we're just a day apart.

Here's my rather cloudy cell phone picture. But the memories are as clear as a bell.

Val, Me, Justina, Don, Lisa. And a pretty ravaged meal. Yum!

Wish I could have bundled them all up and brought them home with me. But in some jurisdictions that's considered kidnapping.

Shame, really. :)


Anonymous said...

Looks like a great get-together!

It's interesting about Pie - at 4 1/2 he's a baby in some ways - he is overly attached to being with other horses - but in other ways he's not - a lot's been expected of him and he's done a lot. And physically he doesn't look like a baby, although he may fill out a bit. So far he's been easier to deal with than many babies - not to mention older horses - I've dealt with.

Leah Fry said...

How FUN!! I'd love to meet up with some blogger buds.

This was a great post. I have to constantly remind myself that Daltrey is still a baby. I'm not used to baby shenanigans. I'm used to grown-up Boyz who sometimes need reminders. It's a whole 'nother thing to be working with an "empty kettle," as Mr. Fry and I refer to Daltrey. It's a lesson in patience, to be sure.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Nope. I wouldn't consider it kidnapping on my part...I'd go willingly with you. hehe!

I love all horses. There's not a one that I don't think are attractive in some way or another, but Smokey, I must admit, is one of the cutest and most beautiful...oops, handsomest horses I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. And he's the most adorable colt ever!


Dan and Betty said...

We had an invite to the dinner from Val (Fantastyk Voyage), but we were unable to make it. Maybe next time. We love El Pinto's.

Smokey will continue to mature, but my horse didn't really mellow out until he was 10. From 6, when I got him, until about 10, a little baby reaction would poke through every once in a while. Now he's as steady as a rock.

Keep up the good work.


jill said...

Your experience is similiar to my first one riding Scout with Mark. Scout had just turned four at the time and I had to learn to ride him very differently than Joe. Be very present and clear intended. It's a great stage for building trust. Enjoy it and revel in each little ah-ha moment you have as he grows. Rmember to have fun!!
I'm riding with Mark in the spring...can't wait!

Carol said...

My horse is 5 and I'd say he is just getting over being a baby in the last few months. Some seem to take longer than others. It's fun to experience them figuring out they have a job, and then starting to like it.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Yes, it seems funny to refer to him as colt. I know you always refer to him as your green horse. But he wasn't a bit green when I saw him. He is a lovely color, buckskin, dun, grulla, whatever he is! I love his coloring and his face too. He has the kindest eyes.

It was great meeting up with everybody for dinner. But, why the heck do we always go so far for dinner when it's not convenient for anyone? Poor you! You had a late night out and an early morning following. You must have been running on adrenalin.

morningbrayfarm said...

It was a great get together! :) Happy Birthday to you once again... it was so nice meeting you Winter.

We'll be looking forward to the next time you're in NM... you've just got to come out and meet the donkey boyz. :D xxoo

Wolfie said...

How wonderful that you were able to meet up with blogger friends!!! So cool. Belated Happy Birthday, Winter, and best wishes for many more. Your clinic adventure has been amazing and I am sure has altered the way you approach riding. The fact that you are working at doing right by Smokey and doing right by yourself shows how committed you are. Good for you.