Oh, it's that time of the year. Silly season. Town clogged with cars driven by people on a mission. Mission being the buying of presents and the stocking up on food (because - shock horror - the supermarkets will be closed for a couple of days!!).
I've avoided most of it. Braved town yesterday for the last time for at least a week (hopefully until next year!), to get a bit of food for me and some feed for the horses. And this morning, I did my last trip for the year to the farm up the road where I buy hay. They are busy harvesting their crops and I doubt they'll take more than a day off over xmas.
I'm not taking any time off, either. Horses (strangely) want to be fed every day ;-)
This morning, I had a very brief ride on Samba, Yvonne's Paso Fino mare. We had started the mare over a year ago (more like two) and she's had a foal and been turned out since. Yesterday, we did a brief reminder in the yard. Saddled, brief lungeing session, me leaning over, then getting on, and finished off with five minutes of riding in the big yard. Today, two minutes of lunging in the big yard, I climbed aboard, rode her in the yard for a few minutes and then we headed out. I rely on my gut feeling a lot with green horses. There are some that I feel comfortable doing stuff with and others where I don't. Samba wasn't overly impressed, like most horses she prefers eating to being ridden ;-). But she is a good soul and aside from minuscule expressions of princess behaviour, she really was very good. And I certainly had that safe gut feeling.
Yvonne came along with Flamenca as usual, and we had a very brief ride up the road. First time for Samba from what I remember, and she took it really well. And what lovely gait on the way home.
We've also spent a bit of time with Yvonne's Dacio. He was also briefly started and turned out. Coming back in, he was a bit hesitant. Mostly unsure, really. So I got the job of taking him out riding. I always joke that my butt is on fire, as I tend to get horses moving forward quite easily. That's good for the slow ones, but has been known to become a bit exciting on the already "goey" ones :-))). In any case, the first ride started with fits and stops and sideways excursions. Looky here and looky there, all was highly scary. But forward we went, and the further we went, the better we went. By the time we came home, he was going just about straight, yielding to my legs (most of the time) and yielding in his jaw to lateral cues (most of the time).
Second ride out was much better, and by the third ride out, he was happy to go in front of Flamenca. We also went one way along a narrow trail through the scrub when Yvonne took Flamenca another way. He wasn't completely happy about it, but soldiered on, over branches, through a gully and up the other side. It really was fun. It always is on a young horse that is basically willing and just needs a little reassurance. I really don't mind if they have a good look at stuff, and I totally understand if we have a sudden stop or a little sidewise prop. They are young and green and it's a big wide world out there. My job is to support, encourage, guide, coax when necessary and laugh at their antics. If it's fun for both of us, that's the best.
So guess what we'll be doing xmas day??
Happy xmas to everyone who drops in and reads this blog. Wishing you have many happy hours with your horses next year!