Summer is just cruising past me this year! I feel almost disorientated with how the weeks are slipping away, so many amazing progresses have happened the past two months. I have been riding 5 days a week, usually Wednesday-Sunday. Every Monday since the first week of June (excepting two) it has rained massively- no barn day, and Tuesday is my weekly Camp Staff meeting (but I usually go out after to just play with ponies and brush them).
Among the many milestone markers in TJ’s education have been:
- Our First Show! Granted it was a pleasure show and I want us to be dressage, it was still great exposure and a test to see how TJ reacts in chaotic atmosphere. He did not disappoint me. From loading up in the trailer, unloading, warm up, showing, reloading- TJ was a gem! We showed in four classes, two walk/trots and two walk/trot/canters. Each class TJ relaxed more and more. We didn’t ride as well as we do at home, but I had low expectations for the show. I just wanted to avoid meltdowns. TJ offered a slightly more space cadet version of himself, but I was happy with that. He listened, was looky but not spooky, tried to be good and handled all the new craziness with class. I was told many times how beautiful he was. We didn’t place and he got rattled when all the horse were cantering with us (Mob-herd mentality). Oh and are right lead is a figment of our imagination, I guess. But we counter-cantered the crap out of our competition! But honestly, I couldn’t have been happier with our first time out. I wouldn’t have changed anything about that day. We also experienced riding with mirrors for the first time. He wasn’t sure about what was going on with that big grey horse looking at him weird in the glass, but he got over it after a few laps. Here is the video to TJ’s first class!
- We got our first chiropractor/acupuncture experience. TJ had been very back sore behind his saddle/loin area a few days prior to our show. The chiro was coming out the day after the show, so I alternated between liniment solution and Bute/DSMO solution rubbed down his back leading up to the show. The Chiropractor ended up determining his kidney/liver function was struggling and did some acupuncture/ strategic B12 injections to reboot his inners. TJ also was put on a liver blend powder mixture of various roots and herbals to support his system. His other issue was his sciatic joints/nerves and was adjusted properly. The chiro showed me how to realign his hips myself, but because TJ is all legs/I am vertically challenged; I showed my 6’4 significant other how to fix my pony (much to both of their chagrin!) TJ also had acupuncture work done along his hips… he looked like a mutant porcupine. Little cigarette looking joints of stuff were burned on the needles to intensely heat them for additional pain relief. During all of this TJ was so still and calm. I know some of the work was uncomfortable for him, but he locked eyes on me and stood as best he could. “Mom, this fucking sucks. But I’m dealing with this shit because you said so.” That was the baby Arab’s mantra as he glowered at me. Such a champ.
- Finally, we have been doing a lot of trail riding on the roads and in a pine grove/camp ground around our farm. He is golden in a group or with another horse, like a seasoned veteran. Alone he is a bit worse, not terrible. He reverts back to Mr. Fidget and I must use all my calmness and patience. TJ thinks the world is scary when you are alone. He does try to be a good boy, though.
We just need to put on miles and build strength/endurance before we raise our expectations. I don’t really ask him to be in a frame/collected, but I don’t let him run around like a lama giraffe either. I take what he gives me and usually if he is balanced and I ride well, TJ naturally moves into a collected frame. We are taking our time building him into his full potential. I’m focus on gaining experiences, skills and building a motor. All the fancy things will fall into place easily enough. I’m looking for a solid trusting partner before a flashy show prospect. He needs to last me the next 20 years.