This weekend had its high and low points with the horses.
Over at Halton Place, the sweet old mare Grace had sustained an injury to her hock during the week, which meant extra horses in the barn to muck. More importantly however, she was not acting like herself at all. I spent a good part of my morning doing everything I could to get her to ear and to come out of the back of her stall, but no such luck. I was so worried for her. Fortunately, when Sunday came around, she was happy to dive into the special mash I made her. She didn’t eat too much of her grain after that though, I think she may have realized that we just want her to eat something, and if she keeps refusing to eat anything but tasty mash, she will always get that tasty mash. Shes one smart lady, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true! Best of all, she was coming to greet me at her stall door and much more social. I even gave her a good grooming and got enough fur out of her to stuff a queen sized duvet.
My sister Heather came with me to do my afternoon chores and meet the horses. They were happy to have her fawning over them and get a good brushing.
Oh and a weird thing happened on the Saturday, I heard voices coming from outside and thought it was the usual suspects coming down for a visit… but when I looked out the door, 2 men I had never met were asking to see the horses. They didn’t speak much English, and I am still very confused about how they ended up there. I assumed at first, they were wanting to see the horses that were for sale, but nobody had mentioned them to me. I asked if they knew the owner and they said “We are from bayview, looking for new courses” I figured I must have heard them wrong and they said “horses” But they didn’t seem to be very horsey at all and took a quick peek in the stalls before leaving. My best guess was they saw the beautifully manicured property including show rings, and thought it was a golf course/ country club that also had horses… not a private farm. And once they got in, decided it would be a nice petting zoo type experience? Either that or they saw a farm and wanted to meet a real live horse. Most confusing is how they found their way to me, as you have to drive very far, make several turns, and pass many buildings in order to get to the barn area. I did a quick scan of the property and nothing seemed amiss, i guess it was just a bunch of yahoos out for a Saturday drive!
I rode in the sand ring both days after work. Saturday was Bentley’s first ride since Tuesday, so of course he was full of beans. We galloped probably a good 15 laps around the outdoor sand ring before he was calm or tired enough to listen to my half halts and collect himself nicely. Long ago we determined the outdoor ring was 1/10 of a mile around. Did a lot of trotting serpentines and circles and then asked him to jump the little tiny orange crossrail. He jumped it with huge enthusiasm, and cantered away from it wildly, taking 3.5 laps of the ring to regain composure. We did several other smaller jumps, then jumped a few verticals that were between 2′ and 2’6″. He did them very well for his 3rd time ever jumping. Some of the girls had come back from their trail ride and were watching us. We came in and they told us how good he was, and when I said it was his third time, they thought I meant of the year… not ever. Boy did he ever impress them!
Sunday we had the same plan, only he was much quieter. He was immediately responding to my half halts at the trot and pretty much doing whatever I asked so we trotted over a few crossrails and only had 2-3 strides of canter before trotting again to the next fence. Heather was riding Rurik with us, and after jumping once, he refused to trot, kicking out and even did a little half rear. His one leg looked a bit sore. So I offered heather to trade horses and try Bentley. Well he didn’t continue his angel act, and shortly after she asked him to trot, he took off at his wild canter again. She got nervous which didn’t help because he is so sensitive to that. It took quite a long time to get him back under control, and Heather’s hands were sore from the pulling, so we switched so I could school him. As soon as I was on, he was back to his regular self. I went through lots of trotting exercises again with lots of half halts so he didn’t think it was ok to take off. He was puffing a lot so I let him cool off a bit, but once he had rested, I schooled him at the canter too, and he was actually very good for me! Heather said that she couldn’t tell how energetic and difficult a ride he was when I was on him, a good compliment, but I don’t want him to be a one rider horse!