Well, I have a new project! Not a free lease yet, we are still looking at the red mare tomorrow or Friday, but a very kind couple at church have a little 2 y/o gelding that they’ve been looking for someone to start under saddle. I haven’t broken a horse in a while, but I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed taking a baby from being a fat, spoiled horse to an obedient, well trained horse that someone else can show or just enjoy riding. When I got the voicemail today from Miss C about me working with this gelding, I realized I had a rare afternoon free and headed right over. I wasn’t sure what this horse would be like…all I knew about him was that he was 2 y/o and had been shown in halter classes when he was younger. And that he was spoiled rotten and very well loved.
I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. Champ is a compact, well built chestnut and white paint gelding with one white eye (the right eye). He sized me up from the very second I walked into the paddock. After attaching a lead rope, I started with picking up his feet. He wasn’t fond of standing still for this process, so after each step forward I came back to his head and asked him to stand. If he pushed past me, I immediately asked him to back and then stand. It took about five minutes to do all four feet, but he eventually did concede. Next I put him in the roundpen and started seeing how touchy he was. I poked and prodded him all over, moved him away from me, around me, led him (start and stop on voice command), and then began moving him around me. He’s lazy, but very smart. At first he thought he could get away with stopping by going to the side of the gate near his buddies and turning his haunches to me. I started anticipating this action (or lack of action) and got him moving with lots of verbal encouragement and flicking the longe whip. He really impressed me. When I asked for a walk, he stopped…so I asked patiently several times, got a trot, a halt, and FINALLY a walk…and then he stayed in the walk until I asked for something else. He caught onto my voice commands right away and turned on a dime when I lifted my hand. I worked him for about 10 minutes (finishing up with more leading and asking for still halts) and then rewarded him with lots of pats and “Good boy!”s. He never once bucked or tried to kick at me or the whip, which impressed me. He basically just seemed lazy and testing me to see how serious I actually was. Once he realized I WAS serious, he was willing and listening.
My tentative plan is to start real work on Friday (tomorrow is supposed to be horrendous weather). I plan on doing more roundpen work, eventually adding a saddle and bridle to our routine. When he’s moving forward willingly on command and comfortable with the tack, I’ll back him. He’ll be started in a western saddle and a snaffle, since his future looks to be as a trail mount, although eventually he may be a nice English mount for the couple’s niece. I’ll strive for working him four times a week but we’ll see how his body and mind handle that. I’m so excited and blessed to have an opportunity to get more experience with babies and get more time in the saddle outside of work! The fact that this is a totally different horse from what I’m around all day makes it even more fun. If no one minds, I’ll post updates after each session with Champ on this blog and hopefully will have pics/videos next time. I didn’t realize I hadn’t brought the camera out of my car until after I left today, that’s how much fun I was having.
I also got to gallop the Monkee today and rubbed huge holes in my knees :-D Yay, I missed my old war wounds from the track! He was really good and strong today, and despite the crazy humidity he didn’t get too tired at all.
If the darling weather will be nice to us tomorrow we’ll be going to check out some OTTB’s for sale for a client…fingers crossed! And for me to get to try the red mare! I cleaned and oiled my beautiful Kieffer saddle today in hopes that soon it will have a new back to sit on.