Thursday, February 24, 2011

He is...

He is a great big dork sometimes. (Okay, most of the time.)
He is always a trouble-maker and the root cause of great mischief.
He is an eater of anything that doesn't eat him first. He's the horse you have to keep the pastures poisonous-plant free for. He will eat it, even if it tastes nasty.
He eats John Deere seats and gnaws on steering wheels.
He dribbles his meals down my arm every day. I own no barn coats without Gabe slobber and bits of grain stuck to the sleeve.
He steals tools and has been known to run off with drills. He does not make sinking a post into concrete perfectly perpendicular to the ground an easy task.
He is sneaky and wily, especially when he's playing face wars with Chief. Or when he thinks I'm not giving him enough attention.
He is certainly forgetful. Whether that is on purpose, in defiance or merely a result of his Thoroughbred brain, I don't know, but sometimes, halt and stand still is a complete mystery to him.
He is playful and curious.
He is wonderful and fun and gorgeous and the horse of a lifetime.
He is my buddy, my secret-keeper, my tear-absorber and my psychologist.
He makes me forget every worry in the world and laugh at the wind.

And it's good to know the trailer training he received as a racehorse stuck in his brain.

Because I now have one parked in my driveway and I'm more thrilled than I can ever fully express.

Oh, the places we will go!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A greater maturity (ahahahaha!!!)

Gabe will be six on Thursday. Which technically means he should start growing a brain and not behave like a silly, naughty little juvenile quite so often.

One can always dream, right? I don't think he'll EVER grow out of that wonderfully curious, into everything, can I help?, nosy, playful personality and I'm glad for that.

SIX! Wow. I feel like we should be so much further along than we are. I had expected to have hunted him at least one season by now, maybe started popping over some 3' fences at the very least and become at least moderately consistent in our dressage work.

Nope. Seems that time gets away from me faster than I imagined it could.

But somehow, that's okay. We're rolling up quickly into regular riding season again and I'm going to (once again) attempt to keep some semblance of a riding/training journal. The last time I tried I managed to record my riding sessions a grand total of three times. It would be so helpful to know exactly how each ride went, what worked, what didn't and what we really need to focus on for the next ride. I'm getting older, and with it, my brain, which means as much as I could count on remembering the details of the last ride a few years ago, I think I really need to write it down as a reference from now on.

Goals for this year:
• Work on Gabe's sensitivity...something I never imagined I'd say with a Thoroughbred! He can be infuriatingly dead-sided when he just doesn't feel like doing it. Which leads naturally to:
• Forwardness and energy
• Better, steady rhythm at the trot and canter
• Circles!
• Lateral movement/shoulder-in/shoulder-out
• Jumping higher than a paltry 18" on a course/ditches/small drops/spreads
• Simple lead changes
• More out and alone rides to build the confidence
• Greater adjustability within each gait

Seems like a short enough list, but knowing Gabe like I know him, this will be one gargantuan task! I'm planning to ride at least four days a week, preferably five, and not every ride a "work" ride, but plenty of just out and about trail rides. I will have to really tighten up my work/school/farm/home schedule to fit those rides in, but I'll figure it out, even if I have to get up at 4 a.m. to beat the afternoon heat and ride with a headlamp.

I've been working on improving my own fitness all winter (since I haven't been in the saddle much), and I've not only gotten stronger and more flexible, but I've also managed to lose 37 pounds (so far!) with a few more to go. Before you know it, Gabe and I will BOTH be fit and sexy.