So I go out-of-town for a week of sand between my toes and I came home to an ENORMOUS horse. I swear that Ike added 6 inches in height and at least 100-200 pounds while I was gone. How is this possible? What did Ike eat in the 7 days I was gone to bulk up that quickly? I checked around the barn, but did not find any secret stash of steroids or evidence of weight gain powder residual in his food bowl. Of course, I am certain that he really didn’t gain any height or weight in one week, but the mind sure can play tricks.
While I didn’t do much besides play in the surf and soak up some rays, Ike had to face the daunting task of performing for Ms. C on two days. Luckily he was his usual stellar self for both of his training sessions. She put Ike through his paces and confirmed that indeed, he is ready to move to harder concepts. She played with pushing Ike forward and then bringing him back to a working gait. There are more gears yet to be discovered. Oh, dear. While an extended canter does nothing to faze me, a huge extended trot is enough to give me the vapors. Thank goodness that you can now rise the trot even at First Level.
Knowing that our (okay, my) next big hurdle is sitting Ike’s trot while keeping him together and keeping my legs from shooting out in front of me, that is what I worked on for my ride on Sunday. Why not go full-out my first day back in the saddle!? I used my SOS strap as best I could to help keep my ass in the saddle where it is supposed to be. Also used all my yoga breathing techniques to keep me from holding my breath as I am prone to do. Had limited success with the SOS strap since I then would forget to half halt and Ike would lose his connection and raise his head. Arrrgh! Oh yeah, as I was forgetting to half halt, I also managed to let my reins get too long so Ike was left to wonder what the heck was going on in the saddle. He did his best at interpreting what he thought were my aids, but were in fact just me flopping around like a fish out of water. And no, there is no video.
Today was a challenging day. Ike must have woken up on the wrong side of the stall, because he was recalcitrant from the moment I retrieved him for the farrier appointment. He tried to bite me. He tried and almost succeeded in biting his farrier (he must have forgotten what happened the one time he did bite Phil…). He then tried to bite me again. Once the shoeing was done, he pawed the shavings in his stall until there was a hole near the door. I yelled. Ike then turned around and pushed with all his might on the stall door which got him a poke on the butt from me. He then tried biting me while pinning his ears as I wrote the check to the farrier.
I decided to tack up to see if the mood would carry over. Why yes, it did. He tried to bite me as I tightened the girth. He spit the bit out. He even spit out his peppermint. A squeeze from my leg resulted in an ear-pinning, cow kick to which I responded with a tap from my whip. I got an ear-pinning, “I’m going to bite you” look from that. Ike then sucked back and would not connect. Then he decided to play giraffe and blow through my half halts. After 30 minutes of arguing, we FINALLY had 10 minutes of pleasantness. I considered that a success and dismounted. Tomorrow is another day. Hoping Ike has a better night’s sleep tonight. Vacation is over!