My sweet, sweet boy.

Today for the first time ever, I was given all day full reign of my eight year old niece and eleven year old nephew. Riley my niece is a member of 4-H and just as horse crazy as I was at her age, so naturally I had to take them out to the barn! We brought the good ole guy Pokey out for a good grooming and Ethan even picked out his hooves, his first time. Nana (my mom) says Ethan doesn’t have much interest in the horses, but he was right there the entire time. He groomed, bathed, rode, and even poop scooped… all the while seeming to enjoy it! I was a bit apprehensive at first about putting them on Midas, but any doubts I had were soon smoothed away. He was an excellent, sweet boy and was just a perfect angel. I lead them both for a solid fifteen minutes a piece with absolutely no issue, at all! I was very proud of him for behaving and instinctively knowing how to act around children, though he is such a glutton for attention that I’m not surprised he likes them. Overall I am very pleased and very proud of how he took it all in and feel he is turning into the horse I knew he could. Gold star for Midey!

 

Ah, return at long last!

Unfortunately I have to admit that I have taken a hiatus away from the blog, albeit unwillingly. The charger to our laptop has endured its final days, and here I sit using my mom’s computer. Midas has been doing excellently and I have begun to trail ride him more and more. He is also improving in his schooling and I am pretty happy with where we’ve been going. He has a high amount of energy and great stamina that I think he will do wonderfully in endurance and hopefully eventing as well. I have discovered that he has some teeth growing in and as a result has been reluctant towards the bit, I’ve resolved this by using a side pull instead. He seems relieved that I am no longer asking him to take a bit, and does well bitless. Soon I will have a dentist take a look at his mouth and with any luck begin rectifying the changes going on so our bitted work can continue.

On another note, he has developed some windgalls on his right rear fetlock, positioned slightly above the actual fetlock joint. They are soft, squishy, cool, and seem otherwise un-problematic. Farrier is going to take a look Tuesday and if no change occurs soon a vet visit will be in order. But really he is doing very well and will be a force to reckon with once he is fit!

 

A conformation analysis.

Sooo.. on a forum that I frequently post on, I was lucky enough to receive some insight from a very reputable, and knowledgable, member on Midas’ conformation. Someday I’d like to get a more thorough analysis but I thought it was very kind and am very gracious! Sometimes I doubt how my grade pony will measure up to other peoples horses, but he was rated as a jumping/eventing type and I was a bit surprised. He is short and at least half QH. But I’m not complaining, after all that’s what I intend for him to do!

 

Semis, boats, and ditches… oh my!

Took the turd boy for a nice, quiet hack down the road. Hah! He really wasn’t bad, but he definitely has an attention span of a gnat. “Oh my god, what is that? What is THAT? Holy crap I almost missed THAT right by me! I’m not even sure what I’m looking at, but it MIGHT be scary.” More annoying than anything. He was certainly a little tense, I tried to occupy his mind by asking him to leg yield and practiced giving to the pressure on the side pull… which helped a little. I even got off and walked him for a little bit, which he seemed to calm down for. I think he is just lacking a lot of confidence. Soon I am going to approach Cathy about turning him out with other horses, as I feel if he had real buddies he would feel more secure about himself. He is pastured next to other horses, and stabled with 7, but its just not the same. I am a little leery about turning him out with mares as not only does he get a little excited, but they think he’s still a stallion. Every mare in the place was in a tizz for a month when he arrived! I just do not want any accidental injuries incurred due to a mounting, but I also can’t think of another gelding he could be turned out with exclusively. Perhaps she will have more insight about it, as obviously she is more familiar with the horses out there than I am.

I am beginning to think that maybe I am still taking it too lightly on him. I almost only walk, and if I do trot its just a little bit so he knows “go forward”. Maybe I should rethink my game plan, grit my teeth against the spooks, and just make him go. Work! I know he’s not a china doll but he is young and I just worry about pushing him too much. I do think maybe I’ll hold off on the extracurricular activities outside of the property, and instead accustom him to riding around there before upping the ante. I also think its about time he started learning to neck rein, as I’m sick of this direct reining crap!

Progress.

As long as its apparent, I’m happy.

Today Midas was a bit more peppy than usual, testing me as is dignified in the mandate for the “bratty three’s”. However overall he was a pretty good boy, I tacked him up western in his side pull and decided since I’ve been leading him around without much spooking issues that today I would ride him through it. I want to be sure I don’t do too much monotonous, boring drills so we headed out at an energetic walk to the dirt road. I rode him past other horses, ditches, through water (it has been quite rainy lately), “scary” logs (the only thing that even illicited a mild, albeit undesirable response) and didn’t want to push it to much so we turned around at the end of it. He has an incredibly short attention span, but he is getting better at coming back to me. He was constantly looking around at things, but with a slight pump of my hand on the rein and he would bring his head back facing forward. Sometimes to help keep him focused, I’d ask for a leg yield. He does not have them down perfect but definitely understands the concept, and I make sure that when I’m asking him to move over on the ground that I press where my leg would be. Coming back he screamed to the other horses, which earned him an about face in the opposite direction.

Overall I can’t complain, and am thinking I will give him the day off tomorrow. I’ve been out there working him more than he ever has (granted, its still not a lot) for the past 5 days so I will let him relax. He was definitely ready to go and moved out today so at the very least he doesn’t seem to hate our sessions… haha. His old neighbor mare Sunny cannot handle the heat here very well, but her owner Christa told me that when it cools down I’m more than welcome to tag along with her on the trails. This would be really good for Midas to feed off the confidence of another horse, so I am looking forward to it.

 

Windy weather.

Midas and Pokey had a visit by Paddy today, who made note that Midas’ hooves were “quite marvelous”. He also stood pretty patiently, only offering a couple intimidating nibbles. A marked improvement since the first trimming, of which he would be a pita with one of the hooves at least. Pokey was a great old guy (of course) and while he was getting his trim a very gusty storm ensued! It was so strong that rain was coming in through the wooden barn walls. I think because of all the tropical weather in the oceans are strongly affecting the weather here, as lately it has been very windy and cloudy. That being said, Midas has been a pretty good boy and though he is still spooking – it is slight. It has improved over the past couple days, so I will go with the train of thought that he is a horse that needs to be worked consistently. The past two days he tested me by refusing to open his mouth for the bit, despite prolonged aggravated tickling of the tongue! In fact, I think by his expression (he could barely keep his eyes open at one point) that he may have even liked it. However, I proved to be a worthy adversary to his annoyance tolerance, and both times he eventually accepted it. Today he didn’t even bother, hah!

No lunge work today, I hate doing it but I sometimes need to remind him I’m calling the shots, and he has been a little fresh. Today after his trim I tacked him up and got on instead of lunging, took him around the round pen and headed off down the property. I try to make sure that when I’m working him that he is moving with a purpose – energy. He is kind of lazy but I think once he gets more fit he may be more willing to move out. Frosty the miniature horse scared him, but not terribly so, but I decided to dismount. We were approaching an area where he usually is spooky (though I have been lunging him there lately to get him used to it) and I felt better tackling it on the ground. He was very well behaved, he was popping his shoulder out at me passing a long bed trailer and each time he did that I made him halt. Back, and push his shoulder away from me. It brought his attention back to me (and not on the “scary object”) and also showed him that I would not allow him to enter my space and disregard me so. In short order we passed by it with no issue. I am glad to say that he walks through water no problems. I lead him up the center of the first half of the property, in between the two largest pastures. Horses from each side nickered and came up to see him, naturally, he had to act “Mr. Studly”. His eyes immediately lit, the ears pricked forward, nostrils flared, head raised, poll bent, neck arched, and FLOATED at the walk. Clearly, he is a show off. But he never once pulled on the reins or attempted to deviate our distance. I walked him around the front of of the property onto a dirt road and took a grassy trail bordering the other side back. I lead him back through the “scary area” with zero issue, and back to the barn. I got back on him and rode him around the round pen, his halt is excellent. He knows by the weight of my seat when to halt, and he does it squarely every time (just as good on the lunge too). He is however not completely accepting of the bit, but I just maintain a light contact despite where he puts his head. He is getting the concepts of leg pressure, albeit in spurts. I think he is being stubborn some of the time, which I expected. I did have him trot at the end of our session which went well. I desperately need new riding boots as the bottom of my western ones are SLICK which is near useless in an iron, even something cheapie at Wal Mart would be better.

Sitting the rest of this tropical depression day away. Tomorrow I will look to investing in a longer bungee cord and boots, and would like to spend the majority of our session riding. I think I’m going to start stretching him before every ride, as he loved it when Paddy did it. I also need to get the hole punch from my mom to adjust his boots, and maybe I can even find some ground poles at the barn. Until then!

Ahh… the work begins!

Midas, being in the stage of the “terrible three’s”, has been going through a series of spooky behavior that has directly landed him a date with work. He has energy to waste spooking? I haven’t been doing enough. His lunge work as a result has been improving, and soon I will introduce the side reins. Note: my side reins are (differently colored) bungee cords. I love the elasticity, and I’m broke. I recently switched him from the french link eggbutt to a copper loose ring with noted success, the thinner bars sit much better in his mouth and only occasionally does he mouth it. His ground work is really starting to shine through, Jen at the barn told me that she lead him from his paddock to his stall at feeding time by just draping an arm under his neck. I was proud to hear this, as he had very little handling before me… a sign that I’m doing something right!

Still on a saddle search, but using my Beval CC for the mean time. I have definitely (despite many indecisions) chosen to work him towards becoming an event horse. I have no aspirations for a certain level, just as high as he can comfortably do it. Even if it is just Novice, I will be very happy! For this first year, it will be mostly dressage. I will introduce ground poles and cavalettis, and maybe pop him over a free jump just to see what I’m working with… but for the most part his hooves will be staying on the ground. Lots of hacking out, that is once he gets over his fraidy cat persona.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with my little boy. He has begun to fill out and come into himself, and has come a long way in these past five months from being a barely handled stud. He absolutely loves the attention and as long as he is progressing, I couldn’t ask for more.