Most days Gabe is fairly laid back during our rides, sometimes, even downright plodding. I'm not complaining. I've had the horses who were sky-high the entire ride and you spend all of your time trying to get them to a quieter happy place so you can actually accomplish something, anything. The constant jig, jig, jigging some horses are so good at drives me crazy. Doing that day in and day out becomes tedious and is, quite frankly, not very much fun.
I do enjoy a horse with pep, for sure. I prefer a bit of pep and enthusiasm over ultra laziness. It keeps things interesting.
Gabe, in his infinite Thoroughbred wisdom, gives me both from time to time: The jig, jig, jigging and ultra plod. Sometimes, all in the same ride. I think he's bi-polar.
I can tell the heat is off in this part of the country. As soon as it started staying cooler (COLD!) more consistently, Gabe's energy level sky rocketed to what most people expect from a Thoroughbred.
Have you ever sat on a powder keg with a very short fuse? Exciting, isn't it? You never know when that thing's gonna BLOW!
That's how riding Gabe the last couple of days has been. Our nights have been below freezing, our days, just as chilly. And as soon as the chill is on, Gabe's fuse is lit. I always know when our ride is going to be stratospherically "fun" when we start the ride with him tossing his head and squealing while throwing in a few energetic crow hops. Exciting, I tell ya! I'm instantly "on my toes" and on the lookout for all the things that could suddenly appear and threaten to eat him. That mailbox that was just fine and benign two rides ago has suddenly sprouted flesh-tearing fangs and is whispering sweet gonna-eat-ya's in horse-flesh tainted breath to Gabe. He just KNOWS it. And he's ready to react.
He was a powder keg lined with TNT Wednesday. As soon as I got on I could feel that energy just waiting to explode, then, the head toss, squeal and leaping, firmly cemented in my mind that this would be a ride with me sitting in a half-seat at the ready for anything he could throw my way.
He was full of himself, but, still, well behaved for a Thoroughbred with an over-abundance of energy. We did a good, forward trot for a bit over a half mile and he was still full of himself but staying under control. He occasionally objected to the staying under control part with a squeal, head toss and Tigger bounce, but he didn't do anything crazy-stupid. Thank goodness. The coolest thing ever? I could really feel him round up and lift his back for more than half the ride and lift it more than he's ever lifted it before, both at the walk and the trot. It's an amazing feeling when a horse rounds properly beneath you and you can feel so much more horse ready and at your disposal. Pure pleasure and joy.
The rides only prove to me how very far we have come. Two years ago he would have been GONE, with or without me still in the saddle. And rounding? Forget about it.
I can handle (and I admit, even welcome!) the occasional excess-energy goofiness. It keeps things interesting. As long as I don't have to ride a jig, jig, jigging horse for five miles before we get a single walk stride, life is good. And boy, do I LOVE feeling all that athleticism and power right there at my disposal...all I have to do is ask for it and he'd give me all he's got with pure joy and boundless enthusiasm.