Final Call has been entirely too well behaved. I am not coming to the office each day with any real adventures to share with you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have had so long to get to know him without a relationship-busting event. So far we have discovered that he loves treats (Giddyap Girls Cookies), that he loves to eat wood (my washrack/barn/side of shed), and that he hates having poultice put on (that one is kind of funny, I wonder what it is specifically about poultice that annoys him?). He stands tied and his nervous racehorse tic (they all have at least one, don’t they?) is to nip the air constantly as if he is being handed a carrot. I think it’s actually a very broad hint.
But I’m also discovering that he is either very lazy or very bored. And so this afternoon when I took him out and put him on the lunge he went around like a school pony. I had to dislodge my lunge whip from the bottom of Lake Okeechobee (also known as the round pen) and snap that at him like a lion tamer. The clever little snot knows voice commands, too – someone has done a bit of homework for me with this horse, and you can tell that he came from a small stable by his extreme good manners. The other day a piece of the roof over the well rattled as I led him past and he shot forward – only to stop on a dime when my hand came up – I wasn’t going to step on you, I swear!
So I decided to give him an opportunity to be naughty or at the very least to blow off some steam, and after doing our ten minutes of trot and some nice long rein walking, capped off with some giraffe impressions when the photographer came sloshing out through the mud, I nudged (kicked) him into a trot and prepared for a gallop.
The thing is, I don’t usually gallop (canter, sorry) an OTTB for a very long time. Like, a month. Or more. But I galloped him when I first tried him, and he wasn’t naughty at all – and, I have to admit, it’s been a very long time since I galloped a racehorse and I was rather looking forward to it.
But he was lovely as only Final Call can be, it seems. Unflappable and professional, he stretched out when I asked, my hands high up on his neck, seat just lifted out of the saddle, and came back and shortened for the turns when I sat down and dropped my hands again.
Oh don’t worry, I promise to let you know the second he does something dreadful!