Yesterday for some reason I had the urge to draw, so I drew pictures of Bentley as they came on my computer desktop (I have a 15 min rotation) So I got a random picture and 15 minutes to sketch it as best I could with the pens and highlighters and scrap pieces of paper I had available. Overall I am very satisfied with the result, especially since I literally haven’t drawn seriously since… oh maybe highschool? I used to be a great little artist as a kid, but breaking my wrist I lost a lot of control in my hand from nerve damage. You can see the progression as I started to warm up and get better.
Bentley the night before his first show, getting a tasty dinner and dressed in his “Champ” sheet. Thank goodness this came first, I always find noses the hardest to draw. I am happy with how his eyes turned out.
An afternoon in maybe March or April where I brought him in from a particularly cold rain, and wrapped him up in a cooler. Clearly I didn’t plan here for the size of the paper and ended up cutting off his nose.
One of our rides early spring. We are riding in the bitless. Clearly I draw horses better than people, my hands are atrocious! But I think you can really tell it is Bentley. In fact I think you can tell this in all the pictures. I doodled one of Leena also, but the scanner cut it off so I will post this at another time. Can certainly tell the differences between the 2 horses, so I give myself a job well done in capturing this!
As for the “Best Horse Ever” we were riding last night to prove to Lee that Bentley was good and that he should ride. Again we couldn’t get our right canter lead. I think we must have struggled for a good 15 minutes before I gave up. He was being particularly difficult and I couldn’t even get him straight again. Instead he was turning his head outside, ignoring my hand, exploding when I tried to bend him around the leg, and veered dangerously into fences and other horses nearly causing disaster at least 20 times from the trot. I was so frustrated!
We took a walk break. Usually I don’t like to give him a break until he has gotten it, but our minds were just wrecked at this point. So I changed direction and asked for the canter on the left lead. Of course he happily picked it up and I praised him tremendously. Changed direction and asked for the dreaded right lead again, and magically on the first time, he picked it up wonderfully! Another dream sequence canter there! Pulled him up to the gate and yelled to Lee to get his helmet.
While I waited for Lee, a woman caught my attention and said to me “My daughter thinks you have the best horse ever!” and motioned to the little girl beside her, who was a little shy to have been exposed. I smiled and was happy to say “yes, most days I think the same thing” and introduced Mr. Charming to her.
Lee was a little nervous getting up on top of Bentley since he saw the “bad” parts of our ride, but it quickly vanished when I explained that the “bad” things were him not getting correct canter leads. Knowing full well he probably wouldn’t even trot, Lee brightened significantly! Bentley was pretty jiggy at first, the other horses in the ring were cantering and jumping, and he still was in “Go!” mode. We moved the 2 of them into the indoor where there weren’t any exciting distractions.
Lee did very well with Bentley once we took all the distractions away. In fact, Bentley was in great contact with Lee’s hands from the moment he got on! I have to say, I am a little jealous because Lee is such a natural rider. I don’t know anyone else who on their 8th time on a horse can get consistent contact in a nice round frame at the walk and have the horse bending around his legs in tight serpentines. Of course, that also speaks to how wonderful Bentley is too.
One thing I did have to scold Lee for however was the rapid walk. I have always ridden squeeze to extend or speed the gait, kick to go up into a gear. Lee was kicking but not allowing Bentley to trot because Lee just wanted a fast walk, you could see Bentley was very confused! Once I explained the difference, Lee agreed not to ruin my training and decided to leave the trot for another time and stopped kicking.
I have been thinking back a lot to the little girl (who’s name is Rachel btw) and how much attention Bentley draws due to his natural charisma, even if he is being naughty. He always seems to be the horse people are watching in the ring, meaning I have to start stepping up my riding, because eyes always seem to be on us. I really need to make my riding top notch to do him justice. Here starts my determination to greatly improve my equitation and to stop letting frustration get the better of me!