At 8:30 a.m. on August 10th of 2011, Ike emerged from the hauler’s trailer and stepped foot on Virginia soil for the very first time. Moments later, he then stepped on my foot for the very first time. Maybe it was his way of claiming me – much like a climber sticking his country’s flag at the peak of a mountain. I was so nervous, but tried to hide the fact that I was. My mind was racing. “What have I done? OMG, I own a horse that I’ve only met once before and ridden twice. Eek! He is only 3 years old. Can I do this? Did I make a mistake? Will he like me? Will he like Virginia? The butterflies in my stomach are making me feel nauseous. Oh my, I now own two horses. Please let this all turn out well.”
It has been a year of firsts for Ike – he started wearing shoes, wore a blanket for the first time and tried to run from it, saw snow, had acupuncture, went to a dressage show and went down his first centerline, met a horse whisperer, earned his first blue ribbon, and lest we not forget, became the star of a blog.
We have come so far in our partnership and yet have so very far to go. Our centerlines have gone from looking like sine curves to being dead-on, stick-straight lines. We’ve learned how to have less explosive up transitions and we no longer run into brick walls in our down transitions. Of course some of our canter transitions are still a bit exuberant, but at least the odds of running into the fence while cantering have diminished. There is now a hint of a topline and muscling in his neck. While he’s still learning to put the body parts together as one unit, Marmaduke still lingers just beneath the surface, Ike’s balance and self carriage have progressed. A certain person who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty needs to continue her quest to be a better rider to help Ike become a better horse. Ike is starting to lose the baby face in exchange for a more mature look; I might be biased, but boy is he a handsome devil.
Today’s celebration included Stud Muffins for Ike and all his friends. Ike’s brother commemorated the day by trying to bite Ike on the butt as we walked by…such brotherly love. We also celebrated with our weekly dressage lesson. Ike must have been feeling overwhelmed on this momentous occasion because he decided to bolt during our warm up. There was no impetus, just a quick flip of the switch and we were careening towards the fence. A very direct inside rein was all I had to save us from the crash. Ms. C had us do walk-halt transitions and one rein flexes until big man decided to tune in to the program. We then progressed to walk-trot, trot-walk-halt transitions until Ike was fully on the aids. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics to re-instill the past lessons. Since there was no further disobedience, we moved on to canter. The transitions were a bit noncommittal today. Not sure if it is a balance issue or the timing of my aids since there were no problems with my rides earlier in the week. Once in canter, Ike is much more honest and over his back. In my humble, novice opinion, there is a really good canter in the boy. I’m looking forward to the day when we both get our acts together.
Ike spent the remainder of his day contentedly munching late summer grass. Looking forward to the year to come and our future centerline adventures.