I feel like this year so far has been one big Adjusting To Change exercise. Learning the new normal, and then learning the new new normal, and then learning the new new new normal, which just keeps evolving. Really kind of brings home the Heraclitus quote “The only thing that is constant is change”.
Working from home from my actual home is definitely a different ball game than working from home from the farm. I’ve changed the structure of my day, although every day looks a bit different depending on what’s going on. It’s not as easy to duck outside for an hour and go ride Henry before it gets hot… now “ducking outside to ride” is a minimum 3-hour thing. I am lucky to have some flexibility though, and indeed my day is actually most productive when I break it into two parts. Sometimes I have a day packed with meetings that makes it more challenging to unshackle myself from my laptop, and it doesn’t give me a whole lot of time at the barn during the week. But in this particular era where everything is temporary, I’m just taking it day by day and making it work as best I can.
Because of that, I don’t really have time for both horses on weekdays. I have to pick one or the other, and of course Henry has priority. This is always the time of year that I dread the most with him, heading into summer, because of his struggle with the heat. I’m trying to get him ridden as consistently as I can before I start having to back off. Despite being a bit of a chonk he does feel really good right now. Maybe a little too good. The sass level is high. Later this week I’m going to try to get him over to the giant field across the street so he can gallop, because he definitely feels like he needs to blow off some steam.
Presto, on the other hand, has been shelved for the past few weeks. After I bonked my head I thought it was probably a bad idea to ride the baby horse for a little while. Although now that I think about it, Presto is generally the far less spooky one. Hmmm.
But anyway, now I’m healed up and I finally had time for both horses yesterday, so Presto was called back into duty. And how was he after 3 weeks of doing absolutely nothing? Clearly he was quite feral.
Yeah no just kidding he was super quiet. It was as if not a single day has gone by since his last ride, everything was retained and there was no silly behavior. That’s the longest he’s gone between rides since I started him, so I was curious to see if he would backtrack a little or not, but nope. This was ride #9 and I continue to be fairly pleased with how he’s going despite our slow progression. He’s had as many rides in 2 1/2 months as most have in their first 2 1/2 weeks, but our atypical program seems to be working just fine for us.
I always put Presto on the lunge line for a few minutes before I mount up, just to get him focused. We do a lot of transitions to get his brain into “it’s work time, pay attention to me” mode. It also gives me an idea of where his head is at. Sometimes the upward transitions come with sass, other times you can’t even get the whole word “whoa” out before he’s stopped dead. Yesterday was the latter. After a grand total of 3 minutes lunging, I got on.
I did notice on the lunge line that he’s a bit unbalanced in the canter at the moment. He’s definitely growing, as you can see in his picture, and the canter quality and balance tend to come and go during these spurts. Because of that I decided not to ask him to canter this ride, so we just rode around the ring for a few minutes, walking and trotting and doing some circles and figure 8’s and transitions. Then I figured… he’s being so quiet, lets go out to the field.
He perked up a little bit out there, but was still a good boy. After we walked for a little while I decided to see how he felt about trotting out in the open, and it was very anti-climactic. We trotted a lap of the field, I told him he was amazing, and we quit with that.
I think he’s ready to start riding out in the fields more now. That was my whole goal for the spring – getting him “broke” enough to be able to hack and trail ride this summer, and I think he’s pretty much there. Or at least ready to start small and work our way up. Obviously with 9 rides he isn’t a super quiet broke reliable horse but he’s got an excellent whoa and he’s not particularly spooky or anything, so at this point I feel pretty comfortable riding him out.
We’re still waiting for his tongue-relief bits to arrive (there was Bombers back-order, they’re supposed to ship this week) but Presto seems content enough on a loose rein in the Myler for now. Knowing horses, I will be shocked if he actually likes the fancy expensive bits that I spent hours discussing and agonizing over, because they’re turds and nothing can ever be that easy. But we’ll see. I have a long weekend coming up so I’m hoping we can do some more exploring.
Hope everyone else had a good weekend!