A Little Baby Trail Ride

I was going to ride Dressy this afternoon, but she had a bit of swelling come up along her jugular vein where the catheter was inserted. It is not bad, and I’m just guessing that maybe she banged it on something and it created a bit of a hematoma. I’m sure it takes a while for the vein to heal (the catheter was quite enormous!). But I have a call into the vet anyway just to make sure it’s not something to get into a panic about.

So, since I was dressed to ride, and haven’t been out for a couple of weeks… I looked around my paddocks to see who showed any interest in visiting with me. Ares volunteered, so I brought him in, and cleaned him up some. He was looking a bit uncivilized and feral, so I got out the scissors and trimmed some of the shagginess away. His bridle path was about four inches long and standing straight up in a mohawk. And his fetlocks are long and a bit curly. He stood very nicely while I snipped away at it all. It’s not a show clip by any means, but he looks a little more “kempt” now.

He really loves attention and he was being so good, that I decided it was time to start riding him again. So I tacked him up. It was hot today, and my crash vest is far too bulky. But I put it on anyway (along with my helmet of course). Ares is a good little guy, but he’s only been backed a few times, and not for a couple of months. So it seemed like a wise precaution.

First I took him in the stall, which is where I backed him originally. He obviously remembered and was very good. But I had forgotten how soft he is. You can’t tighten up the reins while you mount or he backs up. He will stand perfectly on a loose rein though, so it’s just a matter of remembering. I got on and off him a couple of times in the stall. Walked him around a few times in each direction. Then got off and took him to the round pen.

He stood perfectly out there too, so long as I left those reins loose enough that there was no contact. He doesn’t flinch or worry about me getting on him. In fact, I think he kind of likes it. He always keeps one ear back listening to me.

I got him walking around in both directions. He’s very bendy. Like a little wiggle worm under me. Dressy is very long, straight and solid. King is powerful and agile. Ares is sort of sinewy. His stride is very long. Longer than either King or Dressy I think. I can feel how far he tracks behind and it’s a bit strange to ride. Especially since he’s quite little. I doubt if he’s 15hh. He feels rather like Foxy Baronessa actually. Though he looks nothing like her. He has the same super soft mouth and natural flexion that she has. When I ask for bend, it doesn’t feel like I’m contacting him at all, he just tips his nose right in and bends around my leg. At one point I put a bit of extra leg on to see what would happen and he started sidepassing immediately. So I think he’s going to be an awfully nice horse to ride when he’s got a few miles on him.

After a while, I got off and opened up the gate. Got back on (he still stood perfectly), and rode him out on to the lawn. Did a few circles around, then out on the driveway for a little walk. Went down to Sue’s driveway, past a culvert. That was a big moment for Ares. He says he’s never seen a culvert before. And they should NOT be allowed. However, although he was scared, all he did was stop and goggle at it. I asked him to go by, and he did a bit of a sideways slither and scoot, but it was controlled and he went where I asked him (with a bit of soft snorting). Then we had to go past a pile of gravel. Again we did a bit of a slither. And then a slight scoot when he took me under a branch and it made weird leafy noises. But it was controlled and he does respond to both rein and leg even when he’s worried.

We came back up the driveway, and I allowed him to go a little bit faster up the hill. It was sort of a pacing walk I think. Quick but very smooth. He’s not a particularly high headed horse it seems. He was quite flexed at the poll the entire ride. And very responsive.

He was quite proud of himself when we finished. Fluttered his eyelashes at me and preened. Then had a good roll in the stall to get shavings stuck all over himself. Can’t be looking TOO tidy….