Friday, January 7, 2011

My first visit to Milo in the New Year was on Monday. It was still 20 overnight and at freezing during the day so I had Milo in his heavyweight blanket and his lightweight one underneath that as well. Blankets make Milo very very itchy. I bet you can determine how he was feeling from this photo.

And just because I thought he was cute with his clip and I love his big bootay, heres another photo for your enjoyment.

The only real excitement from the evening was the Honey Bucket Man. Now, when I first got to the arena, a lesson was doing a pattern and required the whole arena. As I stood outside waiting, and then chatting, I worried about Milo getting cold from standing blanketless and wished I had a sheet on him. Than I wondered if he would be quite sparky on the longeline from the fresh cold. All as well, however, and he warmed up nicely from it.

Then, just as I finished the longe session, the Honey Bucket Man arrived. The Bucket is kept right across from the arena (for easy access to its users) and therefore the load big truck parked right at its entrance. Milo's eyes got big as he took it in. The Honey Bucket Man fired up something else that made even more noise, at at that point the other horse longing in the arena used that as a prime excuse to let all hell break loose. She bucked and reared and galloped and spooked. Milo tensed up and kept starting at the Honey Bucket Man. I asked him to lower his head and come back to me, which he did. I ended up putting the bridle on, but wanted to delay my getting on him until either I knew he wasnt going to overreact, or the Honey Bucket Man left. Well Milo pleasantly surprised me by cocking a hip and lowering his head, but still maintaining an eye on the Honey Bucket Man. I climbed up on him but he felt relaxed. Than I pushed him away from the gate and began our work. Milo did very well.

Monday's ride only consisted of walking, trotting, and bending as he not only didnt feel totally with me to lope, and there was no room once the lessons came in. But I felt we had a nice ride and ended on a good note.

Oh and on Sunday my truck quit running. So that has left me with carpooling with Boyfriend to work (two hours earlier!), bumming a ride from his Mother (who happens to work right next door to me) to the barn, than waiting for Boyfriend to get off of work and pick me up. Needless to say, I have been very very  tired this week.

Tuesday was the same routine, and when I arrived at the barn this is what greeted me.
A face only a Mother could love, right? I admit though, he still got a kiss.

Milo had his tootsies done earlier in the day, and for posterities sake, I took a picture of the newly chopped hooves.

Alright, alright. You might look at this and say, "humm, the angles still appear a bit off, and wow do they not match his pastern angle". But they are looking far better than they ever did before. Ive convinced my farrier to take more toe off then he was before and try and build his heels back up. I wish I had a photo like this to show what he used to look like, but I do not. Just believe me when I say, Milo's hooves are on a much better track. Even the black one in the rear of this photo (it's his club foot) is looking far better than before. I missed taking a photo of it, but Milo's hair is starting to slowly come back from the odd rub spot on his side from what I can only assume is my leg. However, from the cold weather causing me to double blanket, somehow it left a rub mark on the left side of his chest. Poor buddy.

Our ride was decent enough. I worked him at a rising trot for a while and I had some of the nicest, most cadenced rhythmic strides from him. He was very round and lifted and very much engaging his hind end. I asked for the lope, which he stepped nicely into, and while there were moments of nice stride and collection, he was dramatically trying to drop his shoulder and hollow out especially on the turn or cutting the arena in half. Not to mention I was having some difficulty with the to lessons going on. After the lope, the arena filled with yet another lesson and a boarder. Oi me it was packed. So I didnt get a lope the other direction, but did get some nice trot strides out of him again as well as some nice spins. He even is starting to plant a foot (it only for a step or two) and keep his shoulder in line.

I threw his cooler on and gave him some loves in the cross ties. Then put him away with grain and hay, and waited for Boyfriend.

When Thursday came around, I was excited for the knowledge that it was Shelly's day off, promising the hope that I would have better arena availability. And I was right! And it appears Milo has at least two fans. After bringing him into the arena and getting ready to longe, I heard and Mother and her daughter saying, "There's Milo. Hes so pretty. Look at his blue eye!" So I had to oblige the small girl and I asked if she wanted to meet him. She eagerly nodded her head. Apparently, as they come up the driveway for their lessons, they always like to stop and say hi to Milo and they think he is just so pretty. They've had lessons while I've ridden before and the Mother said, "You two just look made for each other" and "he just has so much personality!" So I let them pet him and he snuffled their faces with his nose. They asked about his coloring, and I gave them a small lesson about Paint colors and how genetic traits can become manifested. Before they left, they asked for a photo of Milo, to which he obliged.

I set to work longing him over three poles that were set up in a half circle. It took a little while to get Milo warmed up, but eventually he did. When I hopped on we just set straight to work. He was holding his shoulder up nicely and straight and even when I pushed him into a trot, he quickly stepped right into it and moved absolutely beautifully. It was fantastic. Lifted, round, bending, driving, it was all great. Soon, I loped him off to the right and he stepped right into it lifted and round. We circled a bit, then went large, and back to a circle and he was doing marvelous. I even was riding better myself. I was staying much more upright and relaxed through my back. It was simply a great time. Then I blocked the forward motion in my seat and let out a small breath. Milo parked his butt into the ground! Which is amazing too because he really dislikes the footing in that arena. What a good Milo!

In my small break from the lope before going the other direction, I spiraled him down into a spin both directions, and both ways he was beautifully balancing over his inside leg and smoothly stepping over in the front. What a good, good Milo!

Another lesson came in on good ole Toby (who just received her Adequan shot and had a nice pep to her step - which was adorable to see). As I asked for a lope to the left, Milo stepped off nicely, than quickly sped up faster and faster, subsequently hollowing out his back and getting really bracey on the bit. There was one point where the lesson veered in front of me (on my rocket loping horse) and I had to quickly move him away which positioned him to the X of the caveletti legs. He jumped right over it then pinned his ears and tried to go faster. When he wasnt responding to my seat, my leg, or even my hand, I stopped him and sent him into a back. Then revisisted the trot where he was rushing (but still working correctly). He finally felt settled down at the trot so I cued for the lope departure. Again, after a few strides he tried to hollow out and speed up. Back down to a walk and trot, and finally on the next attempt I got a laps worth of a nice lope and I stopped him there and cooled out.

Im not sure what exactly "set him off". If it was the lesson student on Toby, the jumping of the caveletti, or maybe he felt off that direction. Which is odd simply because it was his right lead that previously he was feeling odd on. So Im not entirely sure what happened, but we will see what tonight's ride has in store for us.

But after the ride and Boyfriend picked me up, we stopped at DHR and picked up one of Sarah's Cowhorse Equipment saddles so I can use it at the show this weekend (Sarah needs to use her #2 bar About the Horse saddle for a saddle fitting clinic this weekend, but is confident that the Cowhorse will fit nicely for my ride).

1 comment:

Rising Rainbow said...

It's so awesome that Milo was listening enough to you for you to get on with the Honey Bucket man still doing his thing. Good for Milo!