Saturday, September 26, 2015

One Month With Huckleberry

I've had Huck for a month now and I'm loving him more and more each ride.  I'm sure there will be a point when we plateau or decline, but for now I'm enjoying the upswing.

In our month together he's gone from a complete bucking rodeo in groundwork to walk/trot/lope and rollbacks with very little fuss.   He stands tied quietly for the most part and has grown accustomed to having Jackie taken away from him and no longer panics and calls to her the whole time she's gone.  He is slimming down a bit and getting more muscle so he's getting smoother in his gaits which is AWESOME because I miss Kevin's lope so much!  He's holding his lope longer and our circles are looking less like amoebas. His teeth were done this week FINALLY and the dentist estimated about 5 years since he'd had his teeth done.  I was able to feel the before and after and WOOF.  I think I felt a huge difference in our rides after that.  I took a clipper to him Thursday just to see what he would do and I got NO reaction at all, even when I tried the ears!  I don't clip the inside of the ears, but I like a clean shape and he let me accomplish that with zero drama.  I know he was shown extensively so I'm sure he'd been clipped many times, but I know plenty of horses (especially jumpy ones like him) that are a challenge to clip.  Even Kevin gave me a world of trouble when I first tried to clip his ears.

Huck has spooked a few times now: apparently last Thursday the tablecloth on the table in the arena (which has been there as long as he has) was a monster so we've had some moments about that.  I've been able to ride the spooks with no issues so far (*wood*) so either my seat has improved over my year with Kevin or he's just that sturdy.  Or both.

He does not seem to be bothered by anything out on the trail yet.  As I mentioned in the last post, he's gone right into the creek each time I've asked and is happy to lead for most or all of our trail rides.  He's quiet and steady and aside from a snake moving off the path which made us both jump, he's been a solid citizen. Today we led most of the way with one of our trainer friends (he brought a 3 year old over to school), Kevin and his owner and Zip and T in tow.  Huck was the only one who would go into the creek.

For some reason fall is the hardest when it comes to missing Junior.  I think it's probably because that last fall seemed like everything was falling into place.  We did our first Ranch show, he finally started to act like a Western Pleasure horse, we'd just started working on cows and we'd started mounted archery.... and then the colic.  I miss Junior and I'd give anything to bring him back, but I am happy with my new pony.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trail Horse? Check!

I've been pleasantly surprised with each ride on Huck.  He's getting stronger so quickly and I find him to be willing to please.  He remains more alert and jumpy than I am used to, but we had our first real spook today and I was able to ride it out without any trouble.  I can't explain it, but even though he's exactly the type of horse I would normally be very nervous around, I am NOT nervous about him. Sometimes when he jumps I jump, but I'm getting desensitized to it.  When I try slapping the training stick/string on the ground, he hides behind me. He hates it so he hides behind me. At least he is showing that he trusts me... or maybe I'm anthropomorphizing?  He'll always be alert and sensitive and hopefully that'll mean that he's going to be responsive and agile in the reining and cow work.  He's already getting better with standing tied, though I hear he still has a hard time when his GF, Jackie is taken away from him.

Jackie was very helpful in coaxing Huck through our water obstacle on the trail course.  The water is not clear in the obstacle so it's actually more scary for the horses than the actual creek.

Today we took a trail ride.  How spoiled are we that we have 80 acres to play on!?!?!  Had a few moments where he preferred Ledger to go ahead of us, but other than1 that he was in the lead the whole time.  We went into the creek and rode downstream and got out at another place. There were lovely little minnows and crayfish in the clear water.

In the meadow of goldenrod we were treated to butterflies of all kinds, and even a small snake at one point.  It was so beautiful and it smelled so fresh. Huck just went along easy, though he's much faster than Ledger so he and B kept having to jog to catch up.  Such a perfect afternoon!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pony Progress.

Huck is officially 14.2 so I can truly say I have a PONY!

Since my last post I had my last show with Kevin and made great progress with Huck.

The show went quite well.  I was happy with Kevin's behavior and performance.   I just tried to relax and enjoy the weekend since it was our last show of the season and my last ever show with Kevin. We ended up in the top 5 for all four of our classes!  2nd in Horsemanship, 3rd in Ranch Riding, 4th in Green Boxing and 5th in Green Reining.
Ranch Riding class.

The gal that was only .5 behind me for the Green Versatility buckle didn't come to the show so I know I increased my lead. The year-end results haven't been announced yet so I can't be certain exactly where we are in the Buckle race, but I'll let you know when I know!  A few other greenies had a good show, too.

Late night bareback on a draft!
B roped her first cow and got 2nd in the Freestyle Reining so that was super cool.  The show ended much earlier than any of the other shows because we moved both horsemanship and both trail classes to the grass field so we could run concurrently AND there were really just the season die-hards there, no newbies to fill up the classes.  We were showing to 11pm and even 12:30am at the other shows so when we were finished before we even had to turn the arena lights on, we didn't know what to do with ourselves!  I got to eat my steak in the light!  A few people got out their horses and there were some bareback shenanigans.  There may have been some drinking involved but nobody did anything too stupid and nobody got hurt.    I only watched, but I did hop on our friend's big Belgian gelding just to try him out.  Big sofa, that guy.  I also fell in love with his new puppy, Oliver and tried to take him home with me.

Sweet little Oliver

Just chillin' under the trailer.
 Huck is great!  He is coming along nicely, each ride is better than the last.  I'm learning his buttons and trying not to break them.  He's re-learning how to be a working horse who has to do hard things like stand quietly tied...

.... and allowing his girlfriend's owner to come take her horse away from him.  I started schooling him on this tonight, making him stay well back while I haltered her and led her into their run-in stall and into the barn aisle.  I took a stick/string with me and he understood the message.

But, under saddle he's a saint, just goes and does his job. We even ponied him with the ATV down to the creek last night with four dogs running around and he wasn't bothered at all.  He went right into the creek when B led him in (she was wearing water boots, I was not) and was really chill for his first adventure into the woods.

Why am I tied?