Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hunter -- 11/16/08

Hunter rode on his 2nd real trail ride again today. I rode Evil Keisha down the road a half mile to join my brother's kids. Kayla rode Mandy, who until I got there refused to take a bit into her mouth. Good! The kids still need me. Because I secretly need them but don't anyone tell them or they will get swell headed. Hunter, as usual, was fascinated by the goings on and was ready for whatever we were going to do.

So off we went. Me on Evil K, the most experienced trail horse I have right now, Kayla on Mandolin, and Jessie on Hunter wearing my English saddle and a halter with dog leashes attached for reins. Now before you knock dog leashes, know this: Hunter does not like the bit at all, but I want him ready for steering/stopping sooner than later for Lacy's sake. He responds well enough with the pressure on his halter to get saddle experience. Dog leashes are nylon, cheap and have snaps on the ends convenient to hook into the halter. Still, I better get him more conditioned to the bit.

We did a warm up by walking for a while up the trail. Then we trotted. Hunter is getting the hang of this trotting on command by watching the lead horse and then responding to the rider cues, but I am not sure he would do it all alone just yet. Have to try it soon. Today Hunter would not take the lead, but willingly followed anybody. When I took the rear I had the chance to observe. I am not feeling that Hunter is as smooth as I first thought, but Jessie says he is. However, our two boys were more than willing to trot with each other happily. Then I lead and cantered. Mandy broke into what I like to call the quarter horse shuffle. She looked classic. It seems like she has been trained to the show ring. Neato. Hunter cantered, too, easily. He seems effortless in this. He looks very collected and his legs are nicely under him. How do I know? I had to turn around and watch while I was cantering. I prefer not to, but Keisha has so improved this year that she was able to do it. HHH, I made this effort for you! It will be one of the few overtly altruistic acts you will observe from me. But back to Hunter. He went at his various gaits and barely broke a sweat. It was maybe 2 to 4 miles we went. Hard to tell out on the trails. Other than not wanting to take the lead, he was darling. Jessie keeps practicing on steering and whoaing and going with him and the boys had themselves a ball. How do I know? They both were grinning ....yah, both. I swear Hunter smiles.

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