A Day of Horses

Hiiiiii everyone!

Been a while again.  My last undergrad semester is over!  If you can even call it that; honestly I just thought it sounded cool.  I still consider last spring to be my last "undergrad" semester.  Maybe my last semester at AB? Yeah that sounds more accurate.  One class doesn't constitute a full semester.  But anywho!  My Intro to GIS course is over, annnnnnnnd...drumroll please.....

I got an A!
Oh yeah.  I was happy, especially with my idiot self's due date mix up on my final paper.  It was a day late, and I wasn't at all happy with my final result, as I had to rush finishing it because I had thought it was due the next day.  But it must have been at least "okay" because I pulled off an A.  Without the paper (which was a large percentage of the final grade), I would have had a C.

I've been back in my hometown for a couple of days now.  I stayed with Chels the first two nights, and on Saturday we had a morning out Christmas shopping and then a good 4 hours or so of our horses. :)  

You all have no. freaking. clue. how much I have needed my boy recently.  And yesterday didn't disappoint.  He was a short distance from the fence and came over at my whistle and the offer of peppermint treats.  Chels and I decided to split our time in the paddock.  She took Kit to the empty field to groom and do a little work with her on the lunge line, while I took the paddock and worked with Orion sans halter.  We did some free lunging with the new dressage whip that I bought that day (it was $10 and I was sick of the lunge whip getting in my way when ALL I really need it for is slight guidance to give him a little extra incentive to keep moving when he gets distracted).

He was freaking perfect.  Minus the 5 minutes or so of "OH MY GOD I'M DONE WITH THIS AND YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" antics that I've come to expect out of him when I haven't worked with him for months.  Cantering, being a rocking horse (seriously, I need video of this because it's gorgeous, even if he isn't supposed to be doing it), bucking, LEAPING in the air....all as he's zooming around the perimeter of the paddock and I talk soothingly at him to chill him back out.  After a few minutes, he's done, ready to work again, albeit panting and slightly sweaty.  Trust me, I make fun of him for being stupid and working himself up.  After he'd gone a few circuits and switched directions for me a couple of times, I allowed him to stop and come in.  He immediately pushed his face into me, like, "Mom, I'm tired.  That was hard. Can we stop now?" Input me making fun of his tantrum and doing it to himself.

We did a little bit more groundwork, and I discovered that with the dressage whip, he taught himself a new cue to back up, which was fine with me because it's much more hands off than his previous cues have been.  It works much better.  Essentially, at one point, I made him do a couple circuits around me, and he'd stopped.  From where I stood about 5 feet from his side, I gestured with the whip for him to turn and go the opposite direction.  Instead he backed up.  Completely focused on me the whole time.  Hmmmmm...  I repeated the gesture.  He backed up more.  A third time, continuing the motion for a longer time...he backed up until I stopped.  I praised him and then sent him back out for another minute to make sure he's still turn for me when I want him to.  My conclusion: he sees that cue as a request to turn around while he's moving, but while he's halted, it works much better as a back up request.  It works for me, and I can easily find another turn cue for while he's halted.

The other highlight of the day was....
Another drumroll please....

I finally got to try out my new saddle!
Oh yeah.

I was happy.  It seemed to fit him fine, and he didn't mind it at all.

Unfortunately, I was so excited about trying it out that I didn't think to take pictures of him wearing it until we were done and everything was stored away.  But trust me, he looked handsome. :)

One last cute picture to leave you with:

This was Thursday.  This little girl is 3 years old and has been on small ponies before, but never a full-sized horse.  When we asked if she'd like to see some horses that day, she got really excited.  I didn't actually promise a ride until we got there and I was able to judge Orion's behavior, but he was fine.  We led them around for about 5 minutes before calling it a day because it was cold and everyone was worried about her getting sick.  She was a little champ, not scared at all, and thrilled about the fact that she was on him. :)

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