All sorts of fun this week! Zeke had his two days off, then Tuesday afternoon we did a short review ride, which went very well and let me know it’s time to get out of the small roundpen! We can’t do much in there, and since he’s behaving well, and has learned some about steering, it’s time for bigger places to ride.
That Tuesday night was also a “Welcome Home” night. I have been planning to adopt a desert tortoise for some time. His name derives from his rehab number when he came in to work, 2010-62. So he is “62”, and he has a large bladder stone that keeps him a bit compromised and prone to respiratory infections. I wanted to give him a nice home, instead of having him live in the dark, cement cage at the hospital, so have been trying to put it all together for the last few months. 62 finally came home Tuesday night, and he’ll stay here until his bladder surgery later this year. I think he’s enjoying his new home.
Wednesday found Ezekiel and I working out in the big rounpen – a fun ride with walk, trot, canter, and finally a chance to really do some steering. This pen is 60′, instead of the 40′ one we’d been in, so we could criss-cross around and make some progress. After our ride, we again walked around the outside, even stopping at the wood arena to let people walk up to us and talk and pat Zeke. In the afternoon, Zeke had a playdate – I turned him out in the big arena with Wyatt, Cindy’s mustang makeover horse from 2011. They had a great time together!
A little game of chase ensued, followed by rough-housing!
And so we arrive at today, Thursday. A really great day! We started in the large roundpen, working our turns and canter, and this time Helen was nice enough to snap some pictures for us!
Then for the first time, we went up to the wood arena to ride! Our first time in the arena riding, and also our first time riding with others. Cindy was in there on Sprout, giving a lesson to Joe, who rode Hannah, Cindy’s 2012 mustang makeover horse. Joe is the proud new owner of Hannah, and they are doing a great job learning together. Zeke took it all in stride, nothing at all seems to make him tense!
Our big thing today was to keep riding longer than we ever have – until now our normal workouts were about 20 minutes or so. Today we rode at least an hour! In the wood arena we walked and trotted only, canter will come when we’re sure of our steering. I tried to keep him off the rail – this was our chance to work on going where the rider asks, and staying straight until asked to go another way. Zeke did as well as could be expected for a first day!
At first in the large space I really had to kick hard with my legs to encourage him to turn and follow his nose when I asked for a bend or change of direction, but the longer we rode the better he got! I was able to use my hands a lot less, and just use pressure from a leg to turn him, instead of kicking!
After our arena ride, we went out around the pens with Cindy and Joe – our first mini group ride! I really love the mustang attitude – if it’s not worth fussing over, we won’t waste the energy. He’s just willing and happy!