I tacked him up then spent precious minutes trying to find the damn lunge line (I'd put it away when I was told to nix it from his repertoire, then turned the tack room inside-out trying to remember where "away" was), then studied my old side reins carefully. I realized that when I lunge Tril, he goes about willy-nilly and is not being asked to frame up and use himself. I vaguely remembered using side reins on Ana for just such a purpose, and dug them out of the Never Neverland that is the Miscellaneous Tackbox. Then I stared at them. Then I wondered WTH to do with them. They attach to the bit, annnnnd? Um? I tried calling an experienced horsefriend for advice, and when she didn't answer, did a half-assed Googling on my smartphone. Not finding much of use and not wanting to use them without knowing how, I opted to do something I'd seen someone done before--I ran the reins through the stirrups. Not ideal, but it seemed to help.
I then took him out and trotted him in large circles and took riDICulously large numbers of photos. But first, I took a pic of my boy's lopsided butt. I've mentioned his chiropractic needs and his significantly uneven hips a few times here, yet have neglected to really get a good photo of what I'm talking about. So, here it is, in its diagonal glory. Note, he is standing square, and this is a significant improvement over what it was like when I bought him.
|Slip sliding away...slip sliding awaaaaaaaay....|
Now, as foreshadowed, a ridiculous number of photos of Tril trotting. You KNOW you like pic-heavy posts, so, here you go.
I just pointed my phone and clicked away. These are chronological, incidentally.
Note how crooked his tail is--like his back. Just like his hip angles to the right, his tail is tweaked to the right. This isn't uncommon in Arabs, but it is uncommon to be to this degree.
I like this last shot--he looks to my Perpetual Noob eye more like a true hunter, versus the hooky-neck thing Arabs do (that I confess I am not a fan of).
Interesting going this direction--he seems to have more impulsion, but hell, I barely know what "impulsion" means, heh. This is the side where the hip is dropped. He seems to be falling in on his shoulder, or something. Yeah, or something.
|Mah handsome boy|
We started riding in this big main ring, but he was a bit too eager (this is the first time we've been in the ring since it opened up, and he wanted to RUNNNNN, not namby-pamby trot). So, I took him over to the smallest ring, turned on my iPod, and got to work.
Briefly. OUCH. My recovering ankle let me know with painful stiffness it did not enjoy the cold and damp weather. My flexibility was reduced, and then trotting about and trying to use my lower legs like I should, I realized--I have no lower leg. Ouch. Actually, beyond ouch, it was just...gone. Apparently, Tril is not the only one with muscle loss. The legs could not maintain the work for more than one song or so (how I time things in the saddle), but at least I got them going. I noted Tril was very dutiful--dude has a terrific work ethic--and the trot work with the Mickey Mouse approach to side reins seemed to click something in him, because he was more framed up as I rode him. I pushed myself until my lower legs were on fire and wanted to quit, then (as is my method), I rested them and then posted the trot for just onnnnne more song. It was just 30 minutes, but it was 30 painful minutes.
His work was over, my work was over, time to move on the the little gal. I came home and rested and spoke with my 6yro son, who has been the guest passenger in my friend's carts as one's pony and the other's Clydesdale pulls them. He was immediately infatuated and wannnnnts toooo drriiiiiive. I had at first thought about getting him riding lessons, but he repeatedly told me he wants to learn to drive first. Since Tril is not a kid-appropriate horse, that's probably best anyway. I gave it a few months, kept asking, he kept expressing interest, so I thought I'd look into it.
Except Firefly doesn't know how to drive.
But I do have a couple of driving-enabling-friends, heh heh. Now, I know professionals need to be called in. Green-on-green makes black and blue, whether in the saddle or pulling a cart, but I wanted to at least see if she'd take a bit and if the bridle and surcingle a friend loaned me would fit her.
So first, the bridle and bit.
|"WTF is this crap?"|
Time for the surcingle.
|"Whatever. Bring me food when we're done and I promise to continue not giving a crap."|
I then walked her around in it, half expecting her to buck or kick or spin or otherwise show displeasure, but she--as seems to be her motto in life--did not give a crap.
My friends suggested taking two extra lead ropes and running them from the side buckle of her halter through the surcingle and practice ground driving her a bit, with me using a third lead rope attached at the chin to encourage her forward when she was supposed to go. We were all impressed that she listened and had a pretty good Whoa (which figures--the least movement the better for her).
She was very good, except she really, REALLY was distracted by all this green stuff we were having her walk all over at dinnertime. She got a bit annoyed, but not aggressive. (One of my friends said, "She's wondering what the heck is going on, but is doing great!" I told her, "She's not wondering what the heck. Firefly does not use such polite language.")
|"I'm tiring of this. Why do you mock me so?"|
Of course, I had to give it a try. I found myself perplexed by this whole steering thing--geez, you even hold the reins "upside-down" from what I'm used to--but it was fun. One friend offered to let me practice with her driving-broke Clyde, and it looks like a driving clinic might be in our future. Maybe put in a call to some driving trainers, too.
Oh, my mercy me.
Not sure if this is going anywhere, but the journey has already been fun so far.