If you look closely at the photo, you will see that it isn’t me astride Ike. This past weekend one of my favorite young riders came out to the barn to ride the big boy. I have known Miss A since she was in elementary school and she is now in her first year of college. She was one of the few people who would actually ride my OTTB, and let me tell you, he loved her…I mean loved her. He’d buck and cowkick his way around the arena with me, but when she would get on him bareback, he would happily carry her around – walk, trot, and canter – and never take a wrong step. I even watch her drop the reins while cantering bareback and Cigar peacefully cantered until she asked him to stop. Really? She has a calming effect on horses. She is a kind person and they seem to sense that she is not a threat.
I must admit that I was still apprehensive when she put that first foot in the stirrup. Since coming to Virginia, Ms. C and I are the only ones who have ridden Ike. Would he behave? Would he object to a new person? I needn’t have worried. Ike was his perfect gentlemanly self. He too realized that Miss A would take good care of him. I gave her a few pointers and then let them figure each other out. It was different for me to actually see Ike go with someone else onboard. I’m usually not around when Ms. C rides him, so I have only ever seen him from the ground when we met him in Florida over a year ago. Miss A did a great job with Ike. She put him through the paces with no problems at all. I now know who I can call if I need a long-term substitute.
I let Miss A enjoy Saturday with Ike, but I got back in the saddle on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday. This unseasonably mild weather cannot be passed up. Why not get some good quality saddle time in January if you can manage it? Warmups continue to be a bit challenging with Ike resisting and fighting the contact and refusing to use his back. Yesterday was our weekly lesson. It is amazing how much faster Ike and I click with Ms. C guiding us through the warmup. Too bad I can’t afford to have a lesson every time I ride, but I guess half the
fun battle is learning how to get a horse through and connected all by yourself. We continue to focus on controlling Ike’s shoulders. We have realized that sometimes it is easier for us to work on smaller circles to start. Once I get it right on the 8 meter circle, we then will leg yield to a larger one. More shoulder control exercises for the clumsy rider…I’m getting better, but that outside shoulder still likes to get away from me because of course I love to overuse that inside rein. I still have to consciously force that inside hand forward. I clutch it like Linus clutches his blanket. So hard to be a big kid, but I will continue to try.