Monday, October 14, 2013

Rain, Asian markets, and Halflingers: OH MY!

On my way to 3rd Annual Girls Weekend at Cape May to band raptors this year, I spent a few days with Saiph and Charles in DC. My tale of this story will likely be slightly abbreviated due to my internet issues, but Saiph has already written the story here.

The weather was less than cooperative for our riding plans - raining raining raining - but we made the most of it.

I arrived in time for dinner on night one. We went to a local pizza place and where Jeremy - who also lives in DC - met us. It was a ridiculous dinner full of absurd conversation. Medical professionals should not be allowed to spend time together like that. We know too many terms and giggle far too much about silly things.

Kenai found the "chump" in the room to pet his belly.
I had hoped to be able to provide some guidance in halter tying in my evenings there. In this we had great success: Night one of halter practice was retarded by a little too much alcohol consumption, but one learns best from mistakes. So in tying, retying, and tying again many, many times, Saiph slowly began to grasp a better understanding of the Fiador knot required for these halters. Night two went much better, however. The knot was successfully tied and the halters were able to be completed!

My second day there it was still raining incessantly. We putzed around town visiting REI, Barnes and Noble, snagged lunch, and also visited a huge Asian market as we tried to wait out the rain. The highlight of these activities for me was by and large the Asian market. I was more giddy than a kid on Christmas morning. Charles and Saiph laughed and laughed at my antics.

Despite my body's great desire for a nap, Saiph and I changed clothes after our city adventure and headed out (in the rain) to the barn.

Biiiitttt big. Lily was the first horse where I could see and better understand why
some horses need a smaller captivator than the provided one. They swallowed
her feet! This foot had the weirdest fit of all the others. The hoof was much smaller.
I helped her to size Lily's feet for Renegades. I've been riding with them for almost three years now
and am familiar with fit. Saiph's been getting a wealth of wonderful advice and help from Mel, but its always hard to do things such as this from a distance as you're limited to a text medium. I think my explanations and demonstrations of the boot fit on both Lily and another horse in the barn helped to provide some more understanding to all of the descriptions and understanding that had previously been presented. I'm a very visual learner, so these kinds of things are always helpful for me. Here's hoping the boot fit issues comes to a conclusion in the near future! =)

After we sized Lily's boots, we made the decision to brave the rain a little so I could putz around on the little lady. My bum ankle proved a little problematic with mounting the pepped up mare (due to weather), but with some patience I was on with minimal issue.

We walked beside Saiph for a time while we both settled. I was slightly nervous because if Lily did decide to buck me off I was concerned about what would happen with my already bum ankle. Sitting the buck itself - if it happened - could also have potentially hurt my ankle more. With two weeks to my race - I'm nervous about these things!

Lily was sweet though when she discovered that I could, indeed, ride successfully. I was light with my hands - likely lighter than I should have been - but I'm always hesitant to haul around at all on a new-to-me horse. Its something I ease into with more time on the horse or with direct instruction from their owner/trainer on the matter.

I LOVED how easily and quickly Lily would laterally move off leg pressure. It. Was. Awesome. I was squealing and (apparently) sang and hummed as I went through the motions with her.

After a time with Lily - ending on a good note - I dismounted and we tacked up a stocky little Halflinger gelding by the name of McTavish for me to ride.

McTavish is an ex-Amish carthorse which basically sums up to him having an extreme work ethic. Saiph warned me he was very forward, but fearless under saddle. From readings about him on her blog, I knew he was very unlikely to exhibit any sort of manic antics to toss me.

I mounted from the right to protect the bum left ankle, and he was a doll from then on out. He didn't want (greatly) to stand still after this point, but with a series of pressure and release gestures coupled with a circle or two to the left and right, he did provide me with a few moments of still feet before moving forward again.

I had to laugh at him.

His Amish background has led him to believe that he must work. I found that his personality and thought process was much like this, "Work. I gotta work. Can you see me work? I'm working. I love to work. I'm working this way. This direction. Can you see me working in this direction? Come on Lily, lets work this direction. No. Seriously. I'm working this direction."

Once Saiph was mounted, I let McTavish march off at a smart working walk. He was so happy to do so.

McT: Work. I must work. Can you see me working? I'm working.
Me: Yes! You're such a great worker!
McT: Yes. I'm working. Lets work. This way? Yes. Work. Go. Go. Go. Lily, keep up.
McT: Work is important. I must work. I love work.
Me: Yes! You are so good at working! Want to work at the trot?
McT: YES! Trot. Trot is work. Trot is good work. I'm working so well. Work is so important. Lily, keep up.
Me: *giggle*
McT: Work. Work. Work. I love work.
Me: You do! You've got such a great work ethic!
McT: Yes! Work is important. I must work. Work my way up. One is not CEO without working!
Me: Good idea. Now stop.
McT: Stop?
Me: Yes, stop. *applies steady even pressure to reins*
McT: *slowing...slowing...stopped* Sigh. Okay. I stopped.
Me: GOOD BOY! Now lets work some more.
Me: Yep, work. Just work on my terms.
McT: Okay. Yes. I think I can compromise with that.
Me: *cuing a faster and faster trot to see if he'll canter*
McT: Oooohh! Yes. I can work this way, too!
Me: *cuing a stop*
McT: *slowing...stop*
Me: Good boy! *cuing a back*
McT: *backs*
McT: I am a good boy. I love to work.
Me: You're a MOST excellent worker.
McT: I am. I love work!

And thus, I cantered and stopped the "unstoppable" horse while traveling in the "home" direction to boot! I also had him walking home. With a loose rein. On the buckle. One handed.

We also trotted side-by-side with Lily and Saiph close enough for her and I to be able to hold hands and go "la la la" and laugh like fools.

Rain? What rain?! Fun was had.

Such a great little gentleman. I loved him.

I rewarded him post-ride with some treats and then rewarded myself with a sushi treat (NOMZ).

The following morning, we met a good friend of mine for breakfast and then I headed off on my Cape May adventure. More on that to follow!!!

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