Two years, that’s right, two years have flown by. It was August 8, 2011 that Ike officially joined the family. He started his journey to Virginia that day and arrived two days later. My baby-faced three-year-old with 30 days of training is now a handsome, strapping young boy. He continues to amaze me and I count my blessings every day that I have the privilege to ride him.
He is sporting a new bridle in the photo in this post. Sadly, he has outgrown the one I purchased for him when I was in Wellington (well, duh, you can’t go horse shopping in Wellington and not hit the tack stores!) The pretty bling browband that I had specially made for him sadly no longer fits either. And, in case you weren’t aware, he also outgrew my old horse trailer; we had to buy the supersized two-horse bumper pull with a side ramp so there was plenty of room to accommodate the giraffe neck. Guess I should feel lucky that my saddle still fits him…
I still can’t believe how quickly he has progressed in his training. Now some would say that with a more educated rider he would probably be further along, and I would not disagree with that statement. Let me explain my reference point: My dearest Cigar began his dressage education in 2005. He was not the ideal horse on which to learn dressage. “No!” was his go-to place. “No, I do not wish to yield to your half halt.” “No, I do not wish to canter with my nose near vertical.” The talent was there, but the willingness was not. That coupled with his propensity to injure himself made for a very slow journey out of Intro and Training Levels. By fall of 2010, we’d barely clawed our way into First Level when his fractured knee ended his riding career.
Now Ike, on the other hand, is a very willing partner. Cigar would call him a suck up. We are discovering more and more gears as he grows stronger. The lengthened trot I rode yesterday felt like it only took 8 strides to ride the long side of the arena. Two years ago we were lucky to canter without me losing a knee on the fence while Ike’s legs were flailing around like propellers. Just yesterday during our lesson, we started schooling counter canter. While schooling counter canter, Ike actually performed an effortless flying change. A bit of an overachiever like his mother. Two years ago, Ike would drift left and right since he lacked the balance and strength to keep his body traveling in a straight line. Yesterday, we attempted half pass at the trot with gorgeous results to the right and a decent effort to the left. Wow. So this is what it is like to see forward progress. It is a giddy feeling. Makes me wonder where we will be this time next year!
Happy Anniversary Ike! We are so glad you are part of our family!