It's the little accomplishments and successes that make all the failures and frustrations worthwhile. Isn't that we all aim for? Those successes that make your heart soar and paste a great big ole goofy grin on your face.
Gabe's balance on circles and straightness in balance have been improving very, very slowly. He's a lot of horse to keep balanced and he isn't very forgiving at all if I'm the least bit off balance. He definitely forces a darn near perfect ride if I want to get anything out of him! He lets me know right away if I'm dropping a hip or a shoulder....he moves away from it crookedly. If I just try to haul him around corners using just the bridle he turns like a tug boat, not a horse. He absolutely insists that I include my body to turn him: hips, core, leg, shoulders, head.
Today we managed two very nearly perfect figure 8s. I know what you're thinking: "Two? Really? You're excited about TWO?" Why yes, I am! He was rounded, balanced, moving forward with controlled energy and really reaching for the bit and lifting his back.
It was absolutely delightful to ride! Of course, those were probably the two most exhausting figure 8s I've ever ridden, he definitely made me work for them, but they were well, well worth it! After the second nearly perfect circle we walked, I made a great big huge deal out of him and I gave him his head and just let him wander around the arena for a while. It's one of those things I think is important to do from time to time: Just let them make their own decisions during the ride. It's one of those important qualities an event horse should have, decision making! As long as he keeps moving forward, I don't care where he goes. At that point, I'm no more than a passenger.
Gabe is the first gray horse I've ever owned. My dream horse was always imagined as a dappled gray. I never thought I'd actually own one, but, here we are!
One thing I've noticed about him is he is constantly itchy. Insanely itchy and itchy all over. It's not so bad that he's rubbing himself raw or anything, but bad enough that he spends quite a bit of time under one of the low-hanging tree limbs just itching his neck, butt and back on it. His ears get this really nasty gunky black buildup inside them if I don't clean them a couple times a week and the inside of those ears are so danged itchy I can shove my towel-covered fingers way, way down in them to itch and he LOVES it. Sometimes I think I'm gonna touch his brain I get so deep! He moans and groans and his eyes roll up into his head while I itch all the gunk out of the deep insides of his ears. It drives me crazy that he's so itchy because I can't even begin to imagine going through life with so many itchies and no hands to scratch them!
So, today, after his bath I rubbed and groomed an aloe/lanolin horse coat conditioner into his entire body. I'm hoping a little extra moisture on his itchy skin will help him be LESS itchy. I also picked up some soothing oatmeal shampoo for his body, so here's hoping the combo of the two will help relieve some of his itchiness. Other than being itchy, his coat looks fabulous. All the horses are already shedding out their summer coats in preparation for those winter coats. Gabe's winter coat is coming in dark, dark, dark and extremely dappled. He looks FABULOUS!