The first thirty days came and went – where has the time gone? And Final Call is changing in subtle ways, from the silly little boy to – oh, who am I kidding, he’s still a silly little boy. And with that face and that kissable little white spot on his nose, he always will be to someone who loves him!
But it’s still a good time to think about milestones, and do a little mental check-in: where were we thirty days ago? And where are we now?
1. Body: His body type has lost that greyhound sleekness, that tucked-up belly that racehorses get. On the other hand, his withers are less high and sharp, as back muscle is slowly starting to fill in where before there were just hollows above his sharp shoulder blades. The saddle is fitting better, as it begins to sit higher, and I am less concerned about pinching than I was before. Initially, every time I put the saddle on his back, I was anxiously checking where it was sitting on his withers. Now it seems much more kind, and I’m not getting dumped, so that seems like a pretty good indicator!
2. Gaits: Just in lunging, it’s easy to see that he’s loosened up his shoulder and is reaching more. That’s nice. OTTBs always panic me when I first get them – their trot is always all knee action, I swear – and I’m left thinking, this horse will never perform in a dressage test! And they all loosen up eventually.
3. Riding: Let’s see, the first few rides were in a round pen, with a seriously defensive seat, head in the air, hands loose, shoulders rolled forward – not pretty. Now we have, rides out in the open paddock, serpentines and curves, bending about 90% of the time at the walk and about 50% of the time at the trot, and a sudden strong desire to travel with his nose on the ground and my hands on the buckle, wishing I had longer reins for his giraffe neck.
This seems pretty good for thirty days. I’ve heard of some people jumping in that space of time, and I’m sure that works for them, but I’m happy just to get a decent walk and trot and some transitions that aren’t me hauling on his face and him falling on his forehand. Heck, I’m happy to be out of the round pen!