This morning, only Tanq & Pico bothered to come up to eat. As my horses are all fat and live on a pretty lush field of grass, I don’t usually go try to catch them only for feeding. Today is going to be a nice day again, so I guess they’ll just deal with the occasional B52 horsefly. Pico is quite fat, but that is because she is lame and not getting better, but she gets to come in and eat, as it is her last few weeks.
Tanq was pretty nice. I rode in the jumping saddle and jumping length stirrups, did a couple of laps around the ring in 2 point at the walk (a la Joe Fargis lessons of days past), then did some trot work in two point, keeping my arms sticking out in front, working on keeping consistent contact with them stuck out there.
After 10 minutes of working on me, I sat down and started working on him. We did a lot of walk/halt and walk/trot/walk transitions. Working on keeping him on the bit in the transitions. He is getting much stronger, but still manages to forget that he has 2 hind legs, not just one. Particularly when warming up, he trips on one behind. Forgets to bring it along. At the end, some stretchy trot was coming along, and then a walk around the back fields, and he merely looked calmly at the neighbor’s horse having screaming, buck fits. No desire to join in that game.
And, a bit more of his story from when he came. Many OTTBs come with sore/weak stifles. Tanq was no exception.
The hard, hard work that made those stifles ouchy!
Tanq had his first trail ride. We chose a route with no stream crossings as the two streams closest to me are both dicey footing on entry and I want his first stream to be an easy one.
He was pretty chill, enjoyed looking around, we were on the buckle 90% of the ride, and had a loop in the reins for all of it. We had one nice canter section where he just loped along, easy-peasy, and then another section (the 10% not w/ a loopy rein) where I held him in a trot and he lengthened his trot.
Sweet thing, he is a bit hesitant about gully crossings, but the third time he was getting pretty good at it, even if it is done w/ a leap.
Tanq had his second trail ride on Sunday. A friend was along on Sparkle & Suzy was leading the way on an unusually quiet Romeo. We did a slightly longer loop, which included a couple of sections of gravel road, and Tanq says that his hindfeet are still bare, and BTW, he is sensitive even with front shoes. But, we had a few nice trots and a nice canter, then a good canter that turned to gallop when I asked him to swap to the left lead, and he took that as the cue to win the race. Romeo was tired from the gallops the day before, and so he let him win! Tanq was all proud of himself and his athletic prowess.
He did have a bit of concern when I decided to take off my jacket, he had to trot a couple of times while I was taking it off, but it was controllable.
The boy is definitely nervous at first. He sweated up a lot more than suitable for just w/t at first. After we had the last gallop, he really chilled and was almost dry when we walked back down the driveway.
He was very brave over the couple of TINY ditches…not even ditches, just the ground in a V. But, he was worried and had to jump them.
He is gaining weight nicely too, I can now run my hands down his side without feeling the ribs so easily.
He got his feet wet, on the 4th one. He did not jump that crossing, but walked through. It was quite shallow and he approved.
We went over to Foxcroft today to ride with Marit and trust that the hunters would not shoot us on trail. The reason for Foxcroft was because they have lots of good stream crossings that are not terrible, trappy footing. Like most of my ride-out crossings at my house.
We had 5 of us, maxed out the trailer. Andi came on Pico, idhokie on Romeo, Doug on Sparkle, Marit on D2, and me on Tanq. The biggest worry was Andi on Pico, but she did well. I could see the tension in Andi’s back, but it was making her sit UP and to be honest, sitting up is 90% of the ride on Pico. Not to mention, Pico is good at tuning out noise from the rider, so that went well.
Tanq and Sparkle mostly shared last place. They both like a leisurely pace. He jigged once or twice heading out, but the conditions were harsh. It dropped a good 20 degrees since yesterday and the wind was brutal. Could hardly hear each other talking.
The boy will be stiff tomorrow. Foxcroft is very hilly.
The first stream crossing, we were dead last, and I had everyone just keep walking on, he got to it, his eyes bugged a bit, but everyone was still walking away, and after a brief pause, he jumped. Whew. He was proud of himself. Next one, muddier entrance. That gave him more pause…and when he got to the actual water, he jumped again! Third crossing, also small enough to jump, but the last one, was very shallow and not as deep. He walked through.
The icing on the cake was when we went over to the bank in the XC field and he walked right up, stopped dead when we got to the down side, but then Romeo walked past and just went down. I could feel the light bulb go on in Tanq’s head and he copied Romeo. We reversed and did it again, without a lead and he was quite chill about it.
Then, leaving the XC field, all 30 or so horses turned out came to watch, and a handful decided to join our ride. He was good about that as well.
Rockstar does sum it up nicely.
Since Tanq is trying to look like a Bashkir Curly every time we ride on his neck, after today, we decided to give him a small trace clip on his neck.
He thought a shave was also in the plans, so we shaved his whiskers first, then did his clip. He’s cool with it.
The steering is getting better every time.
Next, I need to figure out something different to give him a clue that I want his head down when he trots. We’ve had a few rides of me doing the same, basic thing, with the same lack of results, so I need to think of what tool to use to get the idea across to him.
Tanq has good taste in facilities. I went for an extra lesson on Sparkle today and Suzy brought Tanq to ride in the indoor (we’d made sure that was ok w/ Lauren first).
When he got off the trailer, he peered into the barn with an eye to go on in. He likes this place!
Suzy hand walked him around once, and let him meet the horse in the mirror, who was very intriguing. He also looked mildly confused at 2 Sparkles in the ring, I could see him looking from the reflection, to her, and back to the reflection.
Then, Suzy hopped on him and rode him around. w/t/c, in the lovely footing. He approved. I mostly heard Lauren’s comments about him, how nice and quiet he is, and that he is butt-high, and a bit wonky behind (we know, it is improving) and that if we thought he was head-high, then we needed to come watch some of the foxhunters she teaches…I was riding.
There are pictures.
Cantering, in an indoor, and his spiffy new haircut.
Look at how butt-high he’s become! And notice placement of the hind feet. You can see how both the insides of his front heel bulbs are torn up.
He matches the barn with his haircut.
That mirror! tanq is VERY suspicious of Mirror Tanq. And Mirror Sparkle might be the DEVIL!