Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hunter -- 10/31/08

Hunter got to be ridden for the first time all alone. I used a Tom Thumb on him, which he has had in his mouth before. He doesn't much care for it, but I know with time and patience he will understand how it works. All in all, he did fine for his first solo.

Jamie, a horsey friend who is skinny, got on him and she gently urged him and guided his head with the reins. He fretted about the bit, lathering it liberally and making a ewwy green paste from the grass he had been eating. He wiped it on my white sweater sleeve. Hope it comes out! Jamie would urge him on by squeezing and clucking and if he did not respond (which was most of the time at this point) I pushed him from behind. I then switched to gently giving him a jump start by leading him with his halter, but I wanted him to catch on to the rider cue, not me. Still, he was ok for this, especially when he was so busy with the bit. We only worked with Jamie on a few minutes and once he moved on cue from her and responded to the reins a little she got off. I tell you he made some pretty weird noises during this time...noises I did not know could come out of a horse. Hunter is such a character, I am not surprised he could produce these groans, gargles, whines, etc. They were dog sounds bordering on human sounds! And no, there was nothing tight on him. I checked repeatedly. I swear he will be Mr. Ed someday and actually talk. He probably was voicing his protest about the bit because he loves people to sit on him now.

Then my niece, Kayla, who is even smaller than Veronica, got on him. Kayla announced recently she wanted to adopt a rescue horse and her dad asked me to make it happen. So she is now starting lessons in earnest. She had had some basics over a year ago, so she was not a total greenie. I took the lunge line to its limit and Kayla clucked, squeezed, then I reeled him in. That was too easy. The last time, he came on his own from the rider's cue. Time to quit. We then led him about still bitted up while he continued to fuss and make occasional audible comments about the situation. He was mollified by the petting and attention but never forgot the bit.

I'm not worried about this stage, because not once did he act angry, frightened or stubborn. He's just not a fireworks kind of guy.

-- Anastasia

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