Owning a horse that I just bought and a horse that I’m in the process of selling is hard. 🙁
For one, I feel bad because I’m trying to spend more time with Raglan and less with Ezhno, which makes me feel guilty even though logically I know Ezhno’s certainly not being neglected. For two, I have a bigger bond with Ezhno than I do with Raglan, which makes me feel guilty for not “loving” Rags as much as I feel like I should. For three, as time goes on I’m just really done with the whole situation, and then I feel guilty for wanting so badly to get rid of a horse that’s done so much for me.
Anyways, Ezhno got trailered down to the vet on Monday for a vet check (which deserves an abysmal post all of its own) and with any luck half of my situation will be resolved within a few weeks.
In the mean time, Rags has settled in at KW remarkably well. He unloaded like a gentleman and then spent the first few minutes in his new little outside space rolling in the sand, splashing the water in the trough, and kicking dramatically at the flies. We had a mild problem with the hanging plastic flaps we use to keep the flies out—he simply refused to go through them, trapping himself inside/outside.
But we put a few of the flaps up and now he comes and goes as he pleases.
I let him chill for a few hours while I worked, then came back later that night to put him in the cross ties and get him groomed up. We went for a walk in the arena (damn he walks so fast!), then I lunged him with his lead line walk/trot a little bit, and then I let him off his lead and we did some showmanship without it for a few minutes. He was a very good boy.
Of course, I also had to stuff as many different foods in his face as I could…
Day two I didn’t have much time (had to take my car into the shop to get some repairs done from being rear-ended a couple of months ago, plus I had a lesson at SEC at noon), so I groomed him up and then took him out in the arena to lunge him while TrainerA rode on the other end of the arena. He was very polite on the lunge line, he only got a little rambunctious once and he quit it when I tugged on him.
I also spent a good forty-five minutes trying to sort out his disasteriffic grain situation. Before I got him, the guy was getting eighteen pounds of grain a day (#whatapig, right?). I’ve got him down to fourteen pounds right now and we’re going to see how that goes, but he’s ridiculously expensive and my trainers and I are determined to find a solution to his stomach decimating my budget.
Trainer M loaned me a saddle/girth, so Wednesday morning I went out with the intention to climb aboard my giant beast for the first time since I bought him. My mother came with me to take video, so enjoy:
The first couple of rides I made it my mission to quell my nerves. They weren’t pretty, but the goal was to establish some form of trust between us and to remind myself that he wasn’t going to run away with me, he just likes to walk really fast and grab onto the bit (bad racehorse habit!).
Thursday I actually rode for ~fifteen minutes with a couple of barn friends. Rags was a little amped up about having company in the arena, but before I got on I told myself everything was going to be fine and lo and behold, it was. I didn’t ride him for very long, but he did well with horses trotting around/past him. Then I dismounted and he got to learn to stand still for another fifteen minutes while I watched them ride. I also got a chance to ride a couple of Paint ponies, so I’ll write a post about that next.
Friday my good friend Missy came out to take fancy pictures of me with Ezhno and Raglan. I’ve always wanted to take pretty pictures with Ezhno and I knew if I was going to do them, then I needed to do them before I sold him. We had some mishaps, but we came out with a lot of really beautiful photos!
Over the weekend I went out to serve as ground crew for the Ready to Ride team at one of the Lake Washington Saddle Club hunter schooling shows. I cheered on our competitors, brought snacks for starving riders, ran class results to the show office for judges, gave last minute advice/post class pep talks, praised a lot of ponies for doing a good job, and took so. many. photos.
I came back on Monday inspired to move on from my confidence building rides and find something to work on that would go towards my goal of going to our first schooling show before the end of the year. The caption on the pic I posted to my Instagram sums up all the stuff we worked on:
It's fun having a green horse! It's an experience that reminds you to be grateful for all the things you usually take for granted. Raglan's last owner and my trainer are more advanced riders than me (not being down on myself, just a fact) so they can work on his canter and his leg yield, but when you're an amateur sometimes the best thing you can do is to go back to basics. Does he stop when I say whoa? Does he go forward when I say walk? Does he trot when I click my tongue? Can he steer? Does he do all of these things safely, promptly, and with good will? Does he respond without me having to pull or kick him? Can he walk on the buckle for a lap and then come back to work? Does he listen when I lunge him? Does he bridle quietly? So many things to work on and make better before we get picky about head set and collection and things like that, let alone start to jump. 😊
All in all, it was a very good first week! It might seem silly since I’ve only had him for week, but I feel like we’re already making progress and headed in the right direction. All the things I’ve learned about riding a semi-green horse from Ezhno have made me very well prepared to take on this challenge, which is exciting because I expected to feel a little more uneasy about this whole journey. I’m confident that Rags and I are going to be good partners, and with the help of TrainerA/TrainerM I know we’ll have very strong foundations before we start jumping.