Colt Is A Genius

Okay, well, maybe that title is an exaggeration. Colt’s not a genius. But he HAS proved to be extremely trainable and has a very good memory, which is good enough for me.

I jumped on him last week for a short lesson with Anne. (In this heat, everything has to be a short lesson.) He was extremely well behaved in the barn, which is still kind of blowing my mind. The same horse that was constantly pulling back, whinnying, and dancing around nervously stood tied quietly while he was groomed and tacked up. He didn’t offer any problems taking the bit into his mouth. He picked up all four feet to be picked out and even tolerated a pair of sports medicine boots on his front legs. He was pretty good under saddle, too. Colt’s walk work is consistently good. He gets on the bit and into a frame, listens well, and bends nicely. Last week was no exception. We did a bit of trot work, and at one point he rooted downward, let out out a crowhop I was not prepared for, and I flipped right off. (Anne guessed his behavior was due to the nearby miniature horse stallion tearing around his paddock at top speed, bucking.) Colt seemed totally puzzled as to how I got on the ground and was good when I climbed back on. He finished up the lesson well, without any more incidents and with some good work.

Today I met Kyla at the barn. Baby Cal threw a shoe last week and is out of commission until the farrier comes on Tuesday, so I lent her Moe. I rode Colt. Kyla was in love with Moe, who was just as darling as could be- he got on the bit, gave her a lovely, big trot, and a very reasonably paced canter.

Colt was fabulous; he was forward without being out of control, fairly balanced, and very obedient. His trot work today was on the same level as last week’s, only better. It’s like he remembers the things he did the very, very best, the things I praised and patted him for, then only does those things the next time he’s ridden. His new bridle (which I’ll post of a picture of and perhaps review at a later date) is a hair big (I don’t know how this is possible), but fits pretty well and makes him look handsome.

While Colt might not be the brightest or most motivated horse, I have an entirely new appreciation for what’s going on in that big, dopey head of his.

Trail Ride Extravaganza!

It’s exactly 20 days until the glorious 19th of May- also known as Spring Hunter Pace Day! Kyla and I have been working Cal and Gina regularly to get them fit for the ride. Our third team member, Levi, tells us he’s been working his horse Bubba, too. We’re all pretty excited- after all, Kyla and I have our third-place finish to defend!

Levi’s trailering us to the event, but wasn’t sure if all three horses would fit into his stock trailer. He assured me that it fits six calves, but since we weren’t sure what the ratio of calves to horses is, we decided to load everyone up and take them on the trails at the local lake. 
Kyla and I hit the trails a few weeks ago with our friend Will and his horse Misty. The horses were good then, so we were really looking forward getting out again. The horses loaded up in Levi’s trailer without too much fuss and fit totally fine. Once we arrived at the lake, we tacked up our guys and got ready to set off. 
Gina was totally fine until we set off toward the trail. She immediately zoomed backwards at maximum speed, shaking her head and flailing around. I jumped off, removed her flash noseband, and got back on. She was quieter. We headed down the trail, with Cal and Bubba in front of us. About 100 feet into the narrow, slippery trail, a plastic bag lay. Gina was not having the plastic bag. She reared. I clung to her neck. She spun. I ducked to avoid tree branches. She galloped out of the dense wooded trail and back into the parking area. I stopped her. After that, we decided to take an alternate, slightly wider and less tree-filled route. 
Kyla and baby Cal
Gina calmed down after that and we ended up having a great ride. We let the horses gallop on a long, flat stretch. Bubba, who’s a sturdy little Quarter Horse used for ranch work, smoked both Cal and Gina (two race-bred TBs!). We’re planning a rematch, though, since Cal wasn’t feeling his best and was recovering from an abscess. 
Me (left) and Levi (right) after galloping.
We spent about 2.5 hours riding and traveled about 8 miles. We wove through forests, across streams, over rocks, and ended up right on top of the lake. I suggested we swim across the lake to make for home, but somehow, no one was with me on that suggestion. It would have ruined my tack anyway…
This was the least-dense area we rode through. The lake is beyond the trees.

The horses were tired and soaked with sweat when we got back to the trailer, and we (and our tack) were covered in mud, sweat, and bug bites. No pain, no gain, though, right? We’re definitely ready to smoke the competition at the hunter pace!