Sunday, March 25, 2012
I rode Starbuck both yesterday and today after fairly short groundwork sessions beforehand (well, about 20 minutes which is short for me). We rode both times in the big arena and both times with a fair amount of folks in the arena including a jumping class yesterday and some girls practicing jumps on their own today. So she's really learning to focus on me and my requests instead of whatever the other horses are doing or anything scary outside the arena. It helps that with her winter coat, I think she's too hot to want to misbehave very actively.
Yesterday she was majorly in heat, and I mean full on embarrassing, slutty (sorry peeps but that's the way it is), rump swinging, flehmen facey, butt tucky, pee-drippy heat. And there were not one but two stallions in the arena with us, and every time one of them passed she let loose a little squeal. But no bucks, no rearing, no sidesteps, it just never escalated beyond that - just a little squeal and tension and then two seconds later a release and she'd walk on. So I steered her away from the stallions and that was that, we even walked all the way around the arena a couple of times with horses cantering right by us. I think I was more nervous than she was, she did so well!
I should explain here, sand in the Balearics is a surprisingly difficult commodity to come by (for environmental reasons) but my stable's arena is HUGE. Like maybe 100 yards square. So only half of the arena has sand put down and this is the half that's used for lessons. The other half is basically red clay dirt with some scrubby plants and is mostly only used by folks who want to get away from the lessons - the footing's not as good and there are some menacing orange trees and carniverous horse-eating sparrows, but it's completely rideable. I wasn't sure how Starbuck would do there and at first she was a little pissed that I wouldn't let her eat the scrubby plants, but then she took it all in stride and walked and trotted there like she'd been doing it all along.
I really think I'll be able to take her out on a trail ride before too long, she's coming along so well, and since the top of the arena is much less arena-like (lined with orange trees and birds flitting about and plants everywhere and the mountains in the background) I had so much fun riding there today... that was my little girl moment! I've had a HUGE smile plastered across my face ever since... I have videos to upload too, of the big green Parelli ball and of our ride yesterday, but I left the videocamera in the car so I'll have to post them tomorrow. On my way home I decided to stop to watch the sun set on this first day of European daylight savings time... what a weekend!