My plan for the week was to ride Rags after the rain passed, if it wasn’t too muddy…however, the little norther came howling in dry and far too blustery for a ride Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday through Friday was another attack of gut trouble. So today I got back on him when not feeling quite 100%, in the evening when, alas, the wind had really come up again, this time from the SW. The ride was…interesting. Right out of the gate, he was nappy (see, I’m speaking English English here) and wanted to turn back and quit. “No,” I said. He prefers to dive to the right, and just shortening the left rein to keep him straight doesn’t work. To turn his head back to the left and straighten him out requires a strong pull sideways with a very short rein. STRONG neck. Short and thick.
We went along, with him trying to duck and go home repeatedly, and me “doubling” him several times and making ~15 meter circles here and there to enforce “You’re going where I want you to go, kid…believe it.” He remained unconvinced. I was taking him off the usual trails to deal with what felt like excess energy under my seat (lots of revs there) and encourage him to pick up his feet, walking over slightly taller grass and other plants. We covered more of the East Grass than we have before , and had multiple “discussions” of what next. (Abrupt turn and lunge into trot? No. Double left, double right, walk a big circle. Walk faster and faster and break to a big trot? No. Double, walk a big circle away from the homeward way. Pretend the car on the highway half a field away was scary enough to spin away from and head home? No. Double, re-double, circle. Etc.)
Tigger kept hollering for him, of course, and Tigger was upwind, so the sound carried easily. “Come back, come back NOW, don’t let her take you away!” I did enjoy the bluebonnets–not a great crop but amazing considering the lack of rain–and the Texas stars (one flower per plant, unusual.)
Although it was not hot (actually pleasant with a T-shirt and denim long-sleeved shirt over it) Rags was wet under the saddle when we got back. He is shedding now, but not nearly shed out. Most of the heat, though, was generated by himself, all those extra revs. It was not a relaxing ride, but it was a good level of challenging for me. Always fun to have a horse that’s not being dangerously difficult test the rider’s skills. Can you stay balanced with the sudden quarter-whirls? Can you stay balanced and upright when doubling the horse back? Can you try out other combinations of hand and leg that keep him straight as well as the doubling ? Which leg works better with this horse? Is he riding better at the end than at the beginning? (Horses either improve or backslide on every ride.)
I was tired when I got back but not too tired and he was not dangerously hot, or too wet. The exercises I do every day (well, almost…there was one day I couldn’t) are helping with strength.
So to the vet we go Monday, for the Coggins test, the shots, the dental work, and another (probably final) soundness test for Tigger, and Tuesday I have the dentist (the horses meet their dentist Monday) To give me something to do besides ride Rags this week, we discovered that part of the floor of the house is, um, rotten and falling in, so I have to call a contractor Monday when I’m back from the vet. And re-call the plumbing contractor about the other house’s main bathroom which needs major work.
Tomorrow I need to prepare both horses for the vet by trying to get them both groomed, manes and tails trimmed, etc. This may or may not work with Tigger. He has a bad mane trim, done a section at a time because he is freaky about scissors. However it’s better than what he had before, and this should end up looking respectable, I hope. Rags needs his evened out a bit (because he’s not freaky about scissors, his looks pretty much OK, just amateurish right now. Their coats are still long, only partly shed out, and since Tig hates all shedder blades…his is worse.
I need bed now, despite a short nap after the ride and a bowl of potato and cheese.