Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Forward

Happy Spring!  After the mildest winter I can remember for a long time, it seems we are getting an early spring. And how sweet it is!  I have been away from my computer a lot lately, but you can be assured that I haven't been resting.  My days have been filled with all sorts of projects; starting a garden with my two boys in tow,  giving lessons in this gorgeous weather, cleaning and organizing and making home repairs, getting out to spend time with friends, and, of course, working horses.

The horse that I have been working with the most is a registered Half Andalusian, Half National Show Horse (his mom is 3/4 Arabian, 1/4 Saddlebred) gelding named Gaucho, that we bred and has been with us his whole life.  He is technically my husband's horse, and therefore, gets put on the back burner quite a bit.  He is happy and healthy, but just doesn't benefit from our full attention.  So, I have decided to start schooling him, get him in to shape, and see where the path takes us.  He is a very interesting horse; while he doesn't have perfect conformation, he is very strong, very athletic and very smart. I admit that he is a challenge to ride because of these three traits!  You have never met a horse that was so keen, so quick and so sensitive. He does airs above ground on his own out in the pasture, and sometimes when he is ridden, though inadvertently!  But when he is good - oh my goodness is he fun!  Like riding the quintessential Spanish charger!

Taken on a cloudy day - sorry for the dark shadows! :)

Another thing that makes Gaucho a challenge is his size.  He is wide, has a short, dipped back and a VERY deep heartgirth.  All of my western saddles are terribly unforgiving on his back, and created unnecessary distraction, so I have purchased a dressage saddle to ride him in.  I have always ridden English, but most of my adult life I have used western saddles when I train, out of comfort and security. I call it riding 'Spanglish.' I think that the last horse I used a dressage saddle on was Gaucho's sire, a PRE Andalusian stallion that I had in training for several years.  So it has been a while....Don't think that I have given up western, I just have to find a solution for Gaucho that makes him comfortable.  My philosophy is change to the horse, don't expect the horse to change to you.  Let's just keep our fingers crossed that my new saddle fits him!

I hope you are enjoying spring and embracing new challenges. Take care!