Indy and Ami had a very nice day on which to celebrate their birthday(s). Of course, the weather wouldn't matter to them as long as they got their gifts - apples and extra carrots. One must keep one's priorities straight after all.
It was a lovely day and Mr. Scratchaholic got a super birthday scratch. Ms Ami is not that crazy about scratches, but apples - she's that crazy about those.
Indy is 10 - May 28, 1998
Ami is 17 - May, 1991
I took a lot of pictures - like the ones on this post - and even made my first video. It's at the bottom of this post.
Indy and I had a very nice 30 min. ride the next day, and the day after that... We finally made the leap to riding out in the field. That's quite a story in itself...
On my first attempt at mounting the dang saddle turned. I'm not sure why, because I had it in the same hole as the day before. Indy hates this, and he had to stand while I loosened the girth, fiddled with straightening the saddle and re-tightening the girth. But, he did it. He stood stock still for the entire operation - a praiseworthy act in itself!
Then I remounted and walked him around. Since I was hoping to go out into the field, I was wearing the body protector I purchased some time ago for this occasion. After that excruciatingly painful rib bruise I got when I came off that #%&*#@! Wintec saddle, I didn't want to take chances.
As we walked around the paddock though, I got the uncomfortable feeling that the thing was seriously interfering with my balance. I guess these things are made for a different kind of saddle, because it kept hitting the cantle of my saddle.
I rode back over to Mike and told him it wasn't going to work. I decided to just take it off and hand it over to him to put back in the barn. That is, I tried to take it off. The @#%&*! thing was so thick and hard and stiff that I couldn't get my arms back through the arm holes. Mike and I almost had to take the darn thing apart - think new Velcro rrrrriiiiiiipppppp! - to get me free of it. This while Indy stood quietly thinking no doubt that there was just no end to the nutty situations people got themselves into...
We then walked around the paddock a bit more. Indy was still perfectly calm, so TA DA! Mike opened the gate! And out we went.
Indy was really very good considering we were walking through clover up to his belly with grass even taller. I didn't expect - or even want - to keep him from noshing. I just wanted to keep him more or less moving - in the direction I wanted to go of course. I had him in his soft leather sidepull, and I was a little concerned about steering, but I needn't have been. He was quite responsive considering the distractions.
At one point however, he started to trot down the hill toward the front, and I'm afraid my reflexes took over. This was exactly what happened when I took that disasterous fall off the Wintec saddle - through no fault of Indy's - and I stopped him. I'm sure he wasn't going to take off bucking. After all, he didn't do that the first time. But... We'd been out for a half hour anyway, so I decided to end this first ride before my reflexes did anything else stupid.
Then, for the first time, Indy and I had a real difference of opinion. He didn't want to go back to the barn! The paddock gate was open, but he wasn't planning to go anywhere near it. When I put my legs on him to go forward, he started backing up. I turned him completely around in a tight circle, and asked him to go forward again. This time, he pawed furiously at the ground. I had to laugh, even though I didn't want him to know it.
Again I asked for forward. I had my hands planted with light contact. When he tried to turn away, I closed my fingers on the reins, and just kept my legs on. After only a few moments, I felt him relax - i.e. give up - and he strolled into the paddock just as if that was what he wanted to do all along.
I was impressed. As soon as we got inside the paddock, I leaped off and started telling him what a good boy he was to obey me even when he didn't want to. I gave him a handful of carrot bits and petted him even more as we walked back inside the barn together to untack.
I understandably gained a lot of confidence on this ride. Indy and I faced some tests we hadn't incurred before, and he passed with flying colors. Naturally, since we're both looking forward to our next trip out, it's been raining/threatening ever since, and today was extremely hot and humid. I'm afraid it will be a few days before that next ride happens.
Still, Indy and I are both enjoying the even closer bond that our little adventure led us to.
I love this picture, but somehow it makes Indy's back look much longer than it actually is... Oh well, it does show off his incredible coat.