Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gentry – 04/16/09

It’s been raining all week and today was the first warm sunny day that I’ve had to ride.  Gentry has been sound for over a month, so I decided that today was the day to try him out and see what he knows.  I was really excited to be getting on a well-trained Tennessee Walker.  It’s been years since I had my two TNW mares and I was really looking forward to a nice comfortable ride.

Is there a chiropractor in the house???

We started out badly, as he has terrible head manners and wouldn’t stop slinging his head around while I was grooming and tacking him.  He was difficult about taking the snaffle and kept knocking me around every time I was within reach.  It got to the point where I’d stick out an elbow and let him bop himself on it whenever he slung that big head my way.

I took him out to the back pasture and put him on the lunge line first.  It was obvious from the get go that he was a pro at lunging, so I didn’t waste too much time before I just got on him.  He didn’t want to stand still for me to mount, which is a pet peeve of mine and something I’ll need to work with him on.

I will say that Gentry’s canter, trot, and running walk were wonderful.  His canter is one that I dream of getting on Kita one of these days.  It was slow, collected, balanced and just plain dreamy to ride.  He wanted to trot more than gait, but I did get some nice running walks out of him and as long as he wasn’t slinging his head and playing with the bit, he was smooth.

But how do I describe his walk??  I seriously feel like I need a chiropractic adjustment after riding him for 40 minutes tonight and it’s all because of his walk.  For one thing, it feels his hind end is completely discombobulated.  My left hip felt like it was being shoved into my belly button with each forward stride from his left hind.  What gets me, is that he looked perfectly fine on the lunge line.

He did do a lot of stumbling, but only when he head his head in the air looking for the herd.  He’s a bit herd bound, but calmed down within the first 15 minutes and I was able to ride him out of sight and sound of the herd without him getting too worked up.  He’s very out of shape from being a pasture potato all winter and the more tired he got, the less he wanted to gait and the more he just wanted to trot.  But even his trot is smooth, as long as he doesn’t sling that head around.

I’m hoping the hind end starts to come together with the front end with exercise.  And we definitely need to work on that head slinging!

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