Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Lag, and Mud

Early this week I let Steen go two days in a row without seeing me - something I had not yet done since I bought him. I could have gone on Monday, but I just didn't feel like getting in the car and driving out there after work. I figure the whole point of having a horse is to enjoy it, so I shouldn't set the stage for making the whole thing into an obligation.

On Tuesday, of course, I spent the afternoon at my other barn.

So, yesterday I headed for the stable feeling more than ready to see my noble steed again. Unfortunately, the off-lever on the Iowa rain spout is apparently broken, and it is just wet wet wet around here. Since Steen has the unfortunate gene often associated with primarily white horses that makes him roll in the mud whenever possible, he was more than a little dirty when I arrived. Beyond that, the vet was there doing a few things to Cathi's horses, so there was a lot of activity in the barn, horses yelling to each other, etc.

However, I am pleased to say that although Steen was paying attention to all these goings on, he was not fidgety while tied even though grooming took a while, was very, very good with his feet even though picking was protracted due to the two days worth of mud that was packed into his hooves, and furthermore never even added his own voice to all the calling.

In the arena he was pretty keyed up at first, but still so responsive and tuned in to me I really have nothing to complain about - except although he's gotten much better at standing with me when I'm on the ground, he still doesn't like it at all when I'm in the saddle.

We did a lot of loping in very tight circles to help him with his leads, and a lot of figure eights to help him with his trot. He is still very erratic in some of his responses. When I touch him lightly with the rein on his neck, usually he turns gradually, but sometimes he turns sharply for no apparent reason, and while I can control his speed at all gaits with only very light occasional touches on the bit, he hasn't quite put together yet that there is a preferred speed he should start off at until I instruct otherwise.

But, I am confident these things will come eventually. In the meantime, his inconsistencies sure prevent boredom. And have I mentioned he's just a joy to ride?

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