So do you think you have the answer? Hay? Grain? Grass? Carrots? All good answers, but all of them are wrong. It was a trick question. The correct answer is “wood.” Let me explain. I called Ms. C yesterday morning to check in on the boys. She told me to start saving my money because I was going to have a rather large bill coming due soon. I scratched my head since I could not recall any large outputs of cash upcoming. “Well, guess what your horse has done?!?” I asked which one since they both seem to have it in them to cause mass destruction and chaos. She then proceeded to inform me that Ike had decided to chew on one of the main support beams for the barn wall.
Umm, oh. Great. Baby Huey is now tall enough with a giraffe-like neck to reach the one piece of wood that he really shouldn’t destroy. I guess we will have to cover the beam with chicken wire to prevent further damage. (A side note: The commercially available No Chew sprays did nothing to curtail his noshing of the window frames and stall door last winter.) Before it is all said and done, Ike will be living in a chicken coop. We already had to strategically place chicken wire over the light switch to curtail his favorite nighttime game of “Lights On, Lights Off.” That set off a few nights of stall trashing by the other horses until we realized what he was doing.
So enough about Ike’s latest bad barn habit. Let’s discuss his progress under saddle or lack thereof. This was another week that kept me out of the saddle for a few days, so I asked Ms. C to ride Ike to assess where we are with only 30 days until our licensed show debut. Guess who has a lot of work to do? Correct, the rider. Always the rider. The horse can only be as good as the rider makes him. If you ride the horse to beep bop around the ring with no connection, then that is the horse you will end up with in the show ring. And that is our issue. I need to do a better job at attaining and maintaining a steady connection for most of my rides. Ike is now strong enough to maintain it IF I can get him through and working over his back. So it was not a surprise that we worked on getting that connection during my lesson today. My ability to get Ike to that happy place will be the difference between 5.5’s and 6’s for scores or 7’s and 8’s (she says with stars in her eyes).
Ms. C kept me focused for the entire lesson and finally we achieved nirvana. We had a lovely, fully connected trot and I managed to maintain it for more than a few strides. Phew! I am capable of learning. Will have to let you know if I can achieve it again tomorrow when I’m on my own. Will also let you know if the barn is still standing…