Oh darlings. We had our first little temper tantrum today!
It was a lovely day. There was no wind, temperature in the fifties. The neighbor’s crack house dog was snoozing and our presence didn’t wake him (he’d had a rough night of barking, anyway, poor little soul.) Every thing seemed to be going in our favor. A nice even five minutes of lunging, check. A nice walk around the paddock with my legs long and stretched (dragging in the mud, as it were, Ms. Swift!) and not a spook to be found. We did chase the dog; I’m afraid I’ve started a very bad habit. But the dog doesn’t need to be in my paddock when I’m riding, and it felt fun, like being a bad teenager out on a bad horse again!
Then I kicked my boots into the stirrups and picked up the reins and oh was that a head toss? That was quite snotty, that was.
Undaunted, I put my leg on, asked for a trot and got – a bounce.
Yes, a bounce. I think it was meant for a buck. I would have been mad but it was too pathetic and cute. Really darling? That’s your buck? Well, these are my heels, and this is my rein hauling your sorry face in a circle. (I believe Mary Twelveponies calls it “doubling.” I call it “You Are About To Regret All Your Poor Choices.”)
It did take about fifteen minutes for him to settle into a nice, non-head-tossing trot. His half-hearted attempts to put in a crowhop or two were made all the more tragic by the very obvious way he’d try to duck his head back to his chest. Here’s a clue to all the aspiring rodeo horses out there: if you never ever travel with your head low, and suddenly you begin to do so, people are going to suspect your intentions. It’s kind of a dead giveaway. As miscreant behavior goes, Final Call reminded me more of an honors student who suddenly decides to act out in English class by reciting some trashy poetry. He reminded me a little of myself, come to think of it.
Like any good parent, I’m blaming sugar. (And possibly television, although I can’t prove anything.) He came to me looking nearly racing fit, with those slim greyhound lines. Cutting him back to timothy hay from alfalfa, and to Strategy from sweet feed, made him drop a few pounds. He’s now on free-choice T&A and of course like a fool I’ve doubled his feed. Hey, I hate skinny horses! Anyway, it was enough work for him work up a sweat (which necessitated a rare winter shower and a cool-out complete with Bonnie’s old Irish knit) and the bit was nice and wet, so he’s thinking. . . I think. . .
And now for a public service announcement: the aforementioned Kerrits Sit Tight breeches. Do you have them? Have you tried them? Do you have a problem wearing slightly comical clothing in front of your entire boarding stable?
They’ve been updated since I first got mine, but here’s the story: I took over a tack shop several years ago and had an inventory of these bizarre looking riding tights with heavy rubber-seeming full seats. Everyone laughed at them, but they retailed at about a hundred dollars and I wanted rid of them. So I passed pairs out to all the riding instructors, and took a pair for myself – and changed about a dozen lives for the better! Yes, they’re skin-tight. Yes, they’re made of something thin and nylon and odd. And yes, the pants do squeak a bit until they’re broken in. But you stick to the saddle like glue. And that gives you an extra little layer of confidence, when, say, the honor student starts breaking out the dirty limericks.