Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Casting Shados

Yesterday Brian and I headed to the barn in the morning for Brian's first ride at the new place. Steen has gotten so mellow about being handled and tied. He was practically nodding off while Brian groomed him. I think the new environment and all the changes combined with consistent handling in spite of the changes has brought Steen some new-found flexibility, and he really seems to understand that he is mine and I am his and that's just how it is now. I know everyone who works with horses knows it takes a long time to really get to know each one, and though I feel like I've known Steen pretty well for a while, we're really rounding a new corner lately. I think it's that I'm beginning to genuinely trust him and have faith that he's not going to break down and lose his mind to panic or anxiety, or try to run off, or throw me like he did that first time I tried to make him leave the herd. It's amazing how long it can take to truly believe a horse is with you, all the way.

So we got Steen tacked and Brian hopped on and then the lovely Diana arrived just to pull her mare, Shado (yes, no "w") out of the pasture and show me all about her tack so that now Brian and I have the ability to ride together. Shado is a quarter-horse mare - mostly gone to white. I'm not sure how old she is - but certainly old enough to be "over it." She is solid and balanced and sweet, though completely on the opposite end of the sensitivity spectrum from Steen. She also only has English tack, which is fine as I've gone both ways. We got her ready to go, Diana watched me ride around a little bit and then she took off, generously leaving us to our own devices. What a friend!

Steen and Brian were having a little difficulty, though. Part of the problem is the new space. We had no arena, and riding in circles in an unfenced area is really not the easiest thing to accomplish. Steen was having some steering problems, so I mostly sat on the dozing Shado and gave Brian pointers, and things between them improved a lot by the end. Then I hopped off Shado and onto Steen and we did some good walk/trot work and he settled down pretty well and listened with only occasional and slight interjections of his directional opinion. Then we even loped for a little while, and he felt balanced and relaxed and willing to go, but not at all worked up when asked to stop. I think we really have three gaits now.

After that, we untacked and groomed the two horses and returned them to their pasture. We are now pretty excited about all the new doors having Shado access opens for us.

2 comments:

  1. That's neat that you have access to another horse, without all the hassle of owning. It's fun to ride with other people, at least some of the time. I frequently wish I had someone to ride my other horse more often.

    I hear you on getting the the stage where you really know a horse. I feel that way with Trekker, and I'm starting to get there with Tranikla too.

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  2. Yeah, we are toying with the idea of getting another, but we're not quite there yet. We need to make sure Brian is really entangled enough to warrant that, because as you have noted, it is hard to really keep up with two.

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