Well, last week was clearly false spring number one and we’re back to winter. I can tell real spring is around the corner though. Instead of long days of dripping, endless rain and a lack of sun, the weather is wilder, raining sideways, dumping one moment and clear skies the next. I switched Tarma’s midweight blanket to her rain sheet, as the temperatures rose from below freezing to the 50’s. For once, she leaned into the curry comb as hair fell in clouds around us.
Yesterday I asked quite a bit from her. It was still stormy, rainy and windy when I arrived, and it didn’t let up. Some days I assess her and the conditions and stay grounded, but she was so chill (and happy when I took off her blanket and curried her) that I decided to chance it. She’s better when I work with her more often, and I’d already given her all of last week off due to the cold and hard ground. I lingered over tacking up, lunged her a bit but even with the wind blustering she seemed solid so on I hopped. My only goal was 20 solid minutes in the saddle, and to dismount on favorable terms.
We were doing well, some warm up laps and serpentines, but she kept stopping to scratch her face on her leg. She’s only done this a few times before and only in the ring. I checked her bridle, making sure nothing was itching or rubbing and asked her to keep moving. She kept stopping and rubbing, so I reached over and itched her whole face. Turns out, her leaning in, “yes please more” itchy spot is her chin, right where the bridle cross under sits. A good few minutes of scratches and she sighed, licked and chewed and we continued on.
Benny also provided a distraction. I usually tie him up if someone else is there, but we had the barn to ourselves so he was loose. For the most part he followed me around, much like Cyrus used to do…but he’s also a puppy, so he kept having crazy moments, bolting forward and in random circles and generally being a happy nut case. Turns out Tarma had feelings about this, and while she never kicked or snapped or put a foot wrong, she kept making mare ears at him, informing him he should maybe try not bolting in front of her when she’s just trying to walk.
Even with all the distractions, we rode for half an hour and made improvements, gradually relaxing and bending and keeping my heels down and back straight and hands up and and and…all the zillion things it takes to do a simple circle. While the horse does all the work, of course. We didn’t even break a sweat, but it was work well done. Off came the saddle and when she rolled, she didn’t even care that the dog and I were moving around, putting the poles and mounting block away. She’s come a long way towards trusting me and my crazy pup. This weekend is the Washington State Horse Expo, but we’ll be on a trail on Sunday, rain or shine!