It's been a long week. I have been in/out of the office for the better part of two months now, and now that it's all over, I have to get several things back on track, including and entire subordinate office that needs a lot of fixing. All that means that I don't feel like I can be very flexible with my schedule during the work week, which creates a challenge because we do not have an indoor. Between that and the weather, it's been a long six days waiting for Saturday's arrival to hop on Sig. In the meantime, he has settled well into the farm, has done a couple of round pen sessions with me, and is getting better about the cross tie thing.
But today was the day. It felt so good to put the riding clothes back on and head to the barn. It felt like going home. Going back to a routine that I deeply missed. It's a part of me. I need this.
I got to the barn, brought Sig and his daytime turnout buddy, Z, inside, and decided to take Sig down to the round pen first to see if he had any extra sass he would like to work out. On the way down, we took the opportunity to meet the
|Baby Scarlet Floof and Baby Sig|
It was perfectly apparent that Sig has figured out the point of round penning, he was completely content to follow me around like a big dog from the very beginning. There was a quick couple of spins around and a change of direction or two for good measure, but he came right back and was ready to go. No shenanigans. No sass. Just quiet relaxation. I decided to tack up and hop on.
He's still pretty squirmy in the wash stall where I tack him up, but it is quite busy in that barn at times. I checked the fit of my saddle (YES THANK YOU BABY JESUS), which is actually quite good, adjusted his bridle (I have NO idea how he has a smaller head than Soon), and off we went.
We did about 15 minutes in the ring of just walk and trot, to get a feel for each other. I like how he feels in the loose ring copper oval mouth, he started reaching for the contact a little after just a couple of minutes. Overall he felt good - I think there's always that "Oh no did I make the right decision, is this going to work?" after you buy a new horse, especially if you don't take it on trial first. But just sitting on him, then walking and trotting around I felt why I liked him. He'll be easy on my bad back, but still feels like he's going to be very fun and fancy with more time, strength, and training. He was foot perfect in the ring, didn't care to look at any of the dressage lettering or the jumps on the other side of the ring. No spook, no real interest at all, actually. So chill!
After the quick ring refresher, we went out for a short hack around the back field. Again, he was super chill, basically on the buckle most of the way, no spook or much concern about anything at all (and there are a few things to look at!). It was a very pleasant, relaxing first ride, which is what I need. I love my hacking time. My horses have to wear Big Boy Pants and go on their own, and Sig is totally game for that. Very glad for Carleigh and her giving Sig plenty of hacks on Mt Brilliant!
After the ride, he got more grooming time, dinner, and kicked back outside with his night herd. And his giant bean bag of hay which he seems to cherish deeply.
|OMG can you please hold still|
The plan for Sig this winter is to put front shoes on, and stick to mainly just hacking around the farm. The hillwork will be good for him, it's less stress on him at this point in his development, and also relieves me of needing to be on a strict training schedule in the dead of winter. With my current professional obligations, this is a good plan. We found a trail riding partner, so when the weather cooperates, we'll head down the road to the park for some trail rides to get him out and about. We'll do 10-15 minutes in the ring a couple times a week as well, to work on the concepts of straight, forward, and contact. I will introduce him to lunging, and eventually to side reins, as well. Maybe some in-hand work in the meantime when it's too cold or I'm feeling a change of pace. And maybe we'll take a field trip to the trainer's once or twice to learn how indoors work.
Come the end of March, we'll shift focus and add additional dressage schools, and resume some jumping, probably mostly grid work, and perhaps some baby XC stuff we have on the farm for variety. We already know he's a great jumper, very game, and is a lovely ride over fences. Carleigh put a fantastic foundation on him already. Now, between my schedule, the winter weather, and where he is development wise, it's a good time of year to slow down and focus on some other things and then hit the ground running again in the spring!
To summarize, Sig's first ride felt like he has lived on this farm his entire life. I am very impressed. And by impressed, I mean I was walking back to the barn with him, grinning like an idiot. He's young and green and we have a long road of development ahead of us, but that's okay, I love green ones. This is the right horse. I'm finally home.