The fat-bottomed-girl has been trimming down and shaping up lately. MBM is such a smart and funny girl, and so different from Murray. So different. Our time together is coming to an end, as MBM is currently on trial with her new home. But lucky for me, her prospective owner is very lovely and has asked me to keep riding a few days a week when she can’t get out.
One of the biggest surprises to me with MBM is how little confidence she has in her canter. She actually has a lovely canter when she relaxes and slows down, but her instinct is to brace and race. Even in her more controlled canter, she will break to a trot before we get to a canter pole. I’m used to horses who would rather canter poles than trot them, not those who would rather trot. But her canter will never get stronger without practice, so I’ve devised a few ways to trick MBM into cantering over poles or very small fences. A pole or small X just three strides out from a fence works nicely — it’s far enough that it’s not stressful, but close enough that the momentum from the fence carries us forward in a canter. In one little jump session I could feel MBM become much more confident in her canter over the poles, which was really cool.
Oh and jumping. She does that. Without a second thought. She needs a look at things before we go over them still, but she will go right over if you keep her straight to them. It’s all itty bitty baby stuff right now, but her attitude about it is super cool.
Murray, on the other hand, is as fluffy and feral as ever. Our clicker training is going so well, but unfortunately I had to back off the hand-walking because he’s gotten a couple of bandage rubs. Those are closing up really quickly, but walking is unlikely to help them.
Thanks to being stuck in his stall more and the quick change in the weather (it was 80 on Saturday and 35 on Monday night, Murray is getting pretty uppity. Our hand walk on Sunday was a little wild. My attempts to keep him at arm’s length from me were not totally successful, and I got shoulder checked a couple of times. Murray didn’t seem to understand that shoulder checking me led to no treats, but did care about being pushed away and rewarded me with plenty of head shaking and body wiggles.
Poor pony boy got so confused when he saw another horse walking by the arena in a halter. He thought he was going to get some turnout time and started leaping and playing around on the end of the lead rope. I got his head back on his shoulders, and we continued our walk.
And then a stiff breeze blew up his butt. More shenanigans ensued, but as always, he didn’t pull me and directed all flailing feet far away from me. I stood there and thought “why am I not taking pictures of this?” He bucks big and leaps in the air to boot, it’s completely ridiculous, yet weirdly in control, which is why I seem to find it funny.
Of course, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurts.
When we walked past one of the turnouts on our way back to the barn, Murray wiggled and flailed and his left hind came to the side (classic Murray move) and grazed the back of my right leg and glanced off my right quad above the knee. I’ve never been kicked before so have no frame of reference, but this was pretty mild I suspect. I doubled over and took some deep breaths to get myself sorted and re-oriented. And by the time I thought “oh, Murray should probably know that this is an unacceptable behavior” he was standing quietly at the end of his lead rope looking at me, like “what, did something happen?”
So yeah. Do not recommend.
BUT the mighty leg hole has reached a new stage of healing (there’s a SCAB!!!!!!!!!) which means that we are probably only a couple of weeks out from some real turnout. And then Murray will be back to his normal, lazy, dopey self. Hallelujah.