Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for horses and horse friends

I was trying to decide on a theme for today's post, based on my last few visits with the horses and with my horse friends, and finally it occurred to me that the common denominator is how thankful I am to have them all in my life.

Unfortunately, my best horse friend, Spaghetti's owner (whom I call A. on this blog), is moving.  She got a job in another state and is leaving tomorrow, though she probably won't be taking Spaghetti for a few months, so that she can get settled in first — her mom and sister, both of whom live here, will continue to look after him in the meantime.

This morning we rode together for the last time, just a relaxed bareback ride in the outdoor arena, enjoying the unseasonably warm Thanksgiving weather and one another's company.  It was a wonderful ride, and both Panama and Spaghetti were good for us.  We'd also ridden together bareback yesterday afternoon after a shared farrier appointment, so it was nice to get a couple of good rides in before she leaves.  She has proven to be the best horse friend I've made, at the barns I've been at or otherwise, and I'm extremely sad to see her leave, even though I know it was a big deal for her to find a job in her chosen career (working for a guide dog training program).

I'm also extremely thankful for Panama, who was very well-behaved during our ride, and who remembered the difference between a bareback/sitting trot and our usual posting trot, even though we haven't ridden bareback in months.  And he remembered this outside, where he is typically faster and more resistant to half-halts.  What a good boy he was!

After we rode, we turned them out and let them play.  They had more fire in them than we would have thought, considering how laid-back our ride was, and were both soaked with sweat by the time they were done running.  We cooled them off, and then A. had to get going, since she still had a lot of things to do in preparation for her move (in addition to the holiday festivities).

After she left, I got Rondo out.  I am extremely thankful for him and for how wonderful he has been so far, though not so much today's behavior.  We still have much to work on.  Since I am gradually introducing him to grooming routines in the cross ties, I did a little more today than I have yet — brushed his coat, brushed his mane and tail, and picked his feet.  It was pushing his fairly short attention span a little, so he got rather fidgety, especially with the feet.  Even so, when I put him away he tried to follow me right back out of his corral again, so obviously his short attention span has no effect on how much he enjoys getting attention, and that's something to be thankful for too.  He's still a baby, but he'll get there.

Speaking of Rondo's improvements, yesterday the farrier came, so Rondo is no longer standing on his tippy-toes (thank heavens).  My mother-in-law's farrier had been trimming him so that he was way too high on his toes, and had a lot of flaring going on.  My farrier got him to a much more comfortable angle, though more probably needs to be done next time, once he has some more growth to work with.  I also need to work on him letting me draw his feet forward — he is too stiff for much of that right now.  But he stood very well for the entire thing, and didn't try to rear once, which is what my mother-in-law had told me he was doing.  My guess is that he already knows that won't fly with me, since I've worked with him so heavily on not rearing.  (Initially that was always his response to anything he didn't like or didn't want to do.)

So he is making progress, and I am deeply thankful for that, too.

That's the beautiful thing about horses — they enrich your life so much, and give you so many things to be genuinely thankful for.

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