Spring Fling Anyone?
Well here we are: slap bang in the middle of the first month of spring, and what an amazing feeling it is! I didn’t think I’d really been hibernating over winter, but it is amazing how much extra time you can spend outside when the sun is a little warmer.
Coats are shifting, there is a little more “spring” in the trot and thoughts are turning to “Events Calenders”...I never thought I’d see the day. There is still some trepidation but I’m feeling (almost) ready to take Jack out. I’m going to use the age old line of “just for the experience”, but it really is the case – for both of us. I need to know how he is going to react to the excitement of a competition, and I need to know what my reaction to his reaction will be...if that makes sense? Of course I’ll be choosing smaller outings, and have my eye on one in particular being held toward the end of October. There will be a fair way to travel, but I think it will suit us nicely (I even popped into Aldi the other day and bought a blow up queen size air mattress for the float in case I need to “camp” the night...that won’t happen, trust me– I don’t camp). Oddly there is another comp being held only 20 minutes up the road, but it’s going to be huge, so I think I’d prefer to travel two and half hours!! Fingers crossed there is a really, really good coffee van at the ready when I arrive (and with any luck it will be one of those coffee vans that are happy to drop a shot of vodka in the latté). So it’s time to get the ball rolling...oh gawd!!!!!!
Jack has been just brilliant of late - no “spring fling” happening in my paddock! He is looking a million bucks too...healthy on the inside and happiness is showing on the outside. I’ve made a really big decision in regards to the way Jack is living here...his name can be added to the list of “stabled at night” horses. I was a little hesitant when I first made the call to stable him at night, and thought I’d just see how things went, but I am totally gobsmacked as to how well he has responded to the change. He is just a pleasure to deal with. I haven’t had the issues with catching him that I had been, he has stopped the kicking out at dinner time (huge plus, if for nothing else but safety), and he is so calm to ride. I mentioned this to my instructor a few weeks ago and she mentioned a saying (from someone neither of us could remember) ...”quiet legs, quiet mind”. The more I think about that saying and watch the change in Jack, the more that rings true. I will quite often drive up the road after work or whatever, and see him lying absolutely flat out in the paddock. Normally that would never have happened...can’t run away quickly if you’re lying down ;) He has also started making himself very comfortable at night in his stable...last night I actually had to work around him almost comatose on the stable floor to pick up those one or two “treasures” that get deposited in the stable after dinner. If you had of told me 6 weeks ago that stabling Jack would have this result, I honestly would have laughed...and laughed hard. But seeing is believing, and I’m super happy to get out of bed an hour earlier in the morning if this is the result (actually I’m not at all happy about the earlier starts, but I really do need to go to bed earlier to make it slightly easier)
I know I’ve been trying a few things with Jack in order to get his care just right, but now I’m confident that I’m 100% on the money. I’ve got him sorted, and I know I have because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have the horse I do right now.
Riding wise, we are going well...most of the time. There are still a few times when the bottom falls out, but I’m happy to report that those times are getting less and less, and that when they do, I know what I need to do. After every lesson, I know I’ve improved, and now I’m also getting to the point where I can say that after every ride, something is also improving. Perhaps my mind has caught up...finally. I still believe that lunging is the key with Jack, and not to take the sting out of him. It just seems to do him such good. We have been really consolidating the work on the lunge, and then taking that to his work under saddle. We are slowly bringing the circles in smaller and he is coping well – he is ready to really work. I’m so glad that my instructor was happy to take the extra time that was needed to show me the intricacies of proper lunging (as opposed to just running the horse around on a circle at the end of a rope). I’ve been able to watch the change in Jack from week to week – the change in the way he moves, looks, carries himself, and yes, also how he behaves. It’s an art form that when done properly, is really priceless.
And so now the school holidays are upon us, and I’ve decided to make some time for family, home and horses over the next couple of weeks (not necessarily in that order). I wonder what mischief I can get up to...I feel a trip to the beach coming up!! I just need to find a pair of Speedo’s that will fit Jack.