Sunday, November 9, 2008

The trip to Patchwork

First off, I must say that I could just kick myself for not taking my camera when I took Tiki to Patchwork. Patchwork is the barn I teach at, and the board costs more than my monthly mortgage. It has a big outdoor ring with a full jump course, a nice sized covered ring, and some fantastic hills and a trail. My tentative, fairy tail plan was to unload my horse from the trailer, let him graze for a minute or 2, groom him, hop on, and hack calmly around the rings. I wanted to poke around the big ring, "work" in the covered, maybe hop over a crossrail or 2 ...

Reality. Stupid me put his sheet on since it was c.o.l.d. I mean, the coldest it's been all year. And the wind ... oh the wind. Huge gusts, wind advisory, icy cold weather. So, I figured he'd be cold in the trailer, so I put on his sheet to ship him, and he was super clean to begin with. He loaded with no problem at all, which was good since I was by myself. I drove the hour drive out to PWF with no problems or issues. Upon arrival, I lowered the ramp, undid the butt bar, and untied his lead rope to back him down. Wide eyed and trembling, he stepped off onto the gravel drive. I looked at him with a bit of a sinking feeling; he was SOAKED. His neck was covered in white foam, and when I removed his sheet, he was soaked underneath. Thankfully, I'd thought to to throw his irish knit in the trailer, so I put Tiki in the washrack and went to get his stuff out of the trailer.

Instead of standing calmly and quietly, he pawed, walked forward and back, and nodded his head nervously. I threw on the cooler, hooked on the head rope, and walked him over to a patch of grass to let him graze and "chill". I was feeling like maybe things weren't going to be quite as fairy tale perfect as I'd hoped. Tiki did graze, which I was happy about since the boy tends to stand around and stare rather than eat.

I gave him about 15 minutes, until the foam dried to a crust. I put him back in the washrack, and tried to convince him to stand still. My beautiful grooming job complete with rub rag and everything had been all for naught. I used the curry and attempted to remove the crust, then just had to shrug and move on. I tacked him up fairly quickly, and he was a BUTT head! He's never a pig, he always stands quietly. As I threw the tack on, I attempted to calm the nervous butterflies in my stomach. After securing my helmet, I slipped the bridle on his head and led him to the mounting block.

I gathered my reins and waited until he stood still. After putting my foot in the stirrup, I swung up into the saddle, and Tiki threw his head straight up in the air and skittered backwards. He then stood 'parked out' with his head straight up in the air like a giraffe and looked back and forth at the goings on, which there really was none. I closed my leg and asked for a walk, and my horse began to back straight up. I threw my hands forward, kicked, and we made our way up to the big ring. He walked in with no fanfare, but as I put him on the rail, he literally felt like he was going to explode straight up. I tried to relax him and settle him, but he just wanted to GO!

After about 20 minutes of fighting, I finally hopped off and attached the longe line. He then switched to 'auto' mode and neatly picked up a little trot around his circle. I WANTED him to buck. I would much rather him do it with me on the ground, rather than me be on his back when he did it. I stepped into him aggressively, and finally he leaped a few times. I got back on, and this time, he was much more quiet. We went back to work, and he felt much better. I worked him over the poles on the ground, and got brave enough to canter both leads. Luckily, all was good, and I didn't get bucked off! I finished by taking the mini trail ride I'd wanted. He was a wonderful boy; definitely nervous and alert, but very sensible and good.

The plan had been to take him home, but my boss suggested he stay overnight and have our farrier put his shoes on. So, I took her up on the offer! The next day, I had my old Tiki back. He stood quietly while I groomed him, stood still for the mounting, and made his way confidently up to the ring. We got in some much more productive work, and I ended the session by actually hopping over a tiny crossrail. He knocked down one side of the jump, but we trotted over the "half" rail a few times, and he leaped over neatly. For sure a successful day!!!:):)

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