Monday, December 10, 2012

A One-Person Horse.

I keep telling myself I'm going to update more often.

Sadly, I think the bulk of the fact that I fail to post on my blog is simply that nothing really interesting ever goes on!

At Amber's last farrier appointment, her farrier and I were talking about trail rides and we might be accompanying him on a mountain ride in the future. I've never ridden in the mountains on anything besides the nose-to-tail packers, so it would be an fun experience. And it would be awesome to have somebody to ride with. Trail riding is a lot better with friends - it's even better with real, legit trails. Which we do not possess at the barn.

So that might make for some interesting blogs, although I don't think we will be able to go every weekend.

I might have some legit trails to ride on in the near-ish future, but the reason I'm not going to post publicly, as I'm sworn to secrecy. It is a very exciting change though.

I was considering half-leasing Amber to a nice older woman who wants to lease a horse to walk-trot in the round-pen once a week, and brush and fuss over.

I was reminded of why I should approach this endeavor with caution yesterday.

I had a really great ride on Amber, she was so relaxed and responsive. Victoria decided to try her hand at riding Amber has not gone well in the past. And not just for Victoria...Amber gets very tense with any new rider and "takes off" in some cases. By taking off, I mean she sticks her nose up and simply avoids the bit and tries to canter away - she doesn't actually get really out of control.

I wasn't sure how things were going to end up really. She was so chill and quiet with me I thought Victoria would have it easy...Amber kept cantering off with her. Tense, rushing and choppy. They eventually worked it out. Amber was still on edge, but she was semi-relaxed. They even got a nice canter! I was impressed.

But it made me wonder how beginner-safe she is anymore. She was pretty lazy when I first met her. Now she likes to go, go, go. And if she starts to worry if her rider is going to hurt her, she goes even faster. It's her way of avoidance and self-defense. I honestly don't believe she would ever do any crazy aerobatics and dump someone, but I know someone like the woman I was thinking of leasing her to, it would shatter her confidence if Amber started cantering off with her, or if she started to trot fast and tense and the brakes weren't working so well.

But it makes me realize just how close she is to me, and how much she trusts me. I have to say, it's very gratifying to know my horse behaves markedly better for me than others. The only person who can get her close to the relaxation I can get her to is Casey. But Casey knows what works for Amber, like me, because she was the one who helped us get there! The best approach is always to keep calm, and above all don't try to adjust everything and nit-pick. Don't ask for too much until she relaxes. It usually takes her a minute once we start trotting and then she's fine. My aids literally have to be whispered to her. And minimal aids are effective because she knows how to go nicely and she only feels comfortable to go like that if the rider is basically sitting there posing.

She wants you in a nearly perfect position. She doesn't even want you on the wrong diagonal - I can't remember if I posted it here before, but she has actually learned to switch my diagonal for me, or at least let me know I'm wrong.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE. I'm getting some serious goodies for Christmas for my sweet girl.

Four, yes, FOUR new saddle pads.

A navy blue Baker baby pad with the baker plaid for trimming. It's going to look stunning on her.

Remember the navy blue fleur de lis pad I had that I spilled bleach on? I gave it to Victoria, but I miss that pad, so I'm getting it in hunter green, since with the addition of the baker pad, I will have 2 navy pads already.

A cheapy cotton pad in lavender. I'm getting this because it will match my tendon boots perfectly.

And finally, a pretty Centaur pad in sage. I've been wanting an "earth tone" saddle pad for a while.

I'm getting ear nets to match all of these, except the Baker pad, because I already have a navy ear net. I'm getting a black one to match my custom baby pad. I'm getting a lavender bonnet that will go with all my purple stuff. I thought about getting a white one to go with my white pad with the purple piping, but it will get dirty so fast I decided lavender will be fine.

I'm also getting a couple of new pairs of breeches, and a new halter and lead in a turquoise color. I'm a little ashamed of myself - I'm totally breaching my purple color scheme! But there's only so many "outfits" you can make with purple, and I'm fairly obsessed with ear net-saddle pad "outfits" lately. I would be getting matching polos for everything, but as of late, I'm way to lazy to polo wrap, and it isn't really necessary with our little 30-45 minute light hacks.

I promise to update more often. I'm sure I'll be itching to post pictures of our new "outfits", anyway.