I had such a fun time with Buckshot yesterday! He was such a character!
It was a lovely day, slightly cool with a light autumn breeze, high clouds overhead so no direct sun, but a pretty autumn day. We had the farm to ourselves since the BO and BOH went to the reining class. I went to visit Buckshot in his pasture to say hi and check out how things were. I checked his water tub, looked in the stalls for poop (yes, some cleanup needed), checked the salt block in a bucket (it sometimes gets liquid in the bottom, so I'll take out the salt and clean the bucket). Oh, and right now I always go over to the persimmon tree to check and see if any persimmons have fallen so I can give them to Buckshot.
Yes, the persimmon tree is at that stage where there is a lot of fruit still hanging, but it is up so high, I can't reach any of it with a swinging rope, so I can't hit them out of the tree. So I use the rope on lower branches, get them swinging, which makes all the high branches sway, but those darn things hang on for dear life! They stubbornly stay up there on their branches. At one point, I looked over and here comes Buckshot, heading over to the tree where I am. I can almost see the lack of confidence in his eyes: "she won't get me any persimmons!" I tried, believe me I tried, but he was right, I couldn't get any to fall. The last 5 or 6 times I have "worked the tree" I have only gotten persimmons that had already fallen to the ground. I gave them all to Buckshot.
After taking him over to the main barn, and grooming him, and tacking him up, we headed out to the arena. All ours! No one else will be riding in it! I love the feeling of freedom of the entire arena. There were three pole-bending poles set up, and I set up three cavaletti. I got mounted, using the new protocol of mounting, and Buckshot is very nearly 100% with it. He only sometimes prances around looking for a second treat after I am on him, and when I say clearly "whoa" from the saddle, he listens, and stops moving. Good boy!
We worked in the arena for our warm up, and did some trotting. His energy was good, and the cool air felt wonderful in my face. I felt energetic as well, and our trotting was in synch and united. A terrific feeling! And going over the cavaletti was wonderful! When I trot Buckshot over it, I never look down. I keep my eyes up, and I post, almost staying in two point position. And he did great! He never touched or hit any of the cavaletti! Wonderful! I think it is such a good exercise for him, since he has to lift his feet, and balance and get his strides down. And it is a courage builder for me. Sometimes, because of his age (he is approximately 25 years old), I mentally want to restrict him to geriatric horse things. (I think it is because, to many people, a 25 year old horse is very, very old, nearly dead, in fact, and that perception leaks into my thoughts.) But I think of Buckshot as a "young" 25 year old horse, since he loves his work, works willingly, and is a great riding horse. But the tiny thought crossed my mind as I approached the cavaletti- I hope he doesn't fall.... Well, he didn't fall, he didn't have any trouble with them at all, and he trotted over them several times with flying colors! Good boy!
After doing a little cantering, which was nice cantering by him, we started walking down the road. Since the BO was gone, I was to feed three older horses a grain lunch, and one of these three horses was in a barn down the road. So we walked down the road, with Buckshot making good time, not being too hesitant at all (progress!), and when we got to the barn in question, I got off of him. I then had to figure out what to do with him while I fed the older horse, and tied up her pasturemate so she could eat without him stealing her grain.
Well, I didn't know what to do with Buckshot. Can't take him into the pasture with the other two horses - that doesn't sound safe. I walked Buckshot up to the door and reached for a halter. Well, he took another step in. He's apparently not worried about small, dark feed rooms! I backed him out and walked over to the gate. I thought I'd put the halter on and tie him with an emergency knot to the gate. But as I applied the halter over his bridle, I thought- that's wrong. If you have both a bridle and a halter on a horse, the halter needs to be under the bridle. Putting the halter over the bridle appeared to me to push the sides of the bit down and it might hurt. So then I took the halter and wound it around his neck, like you do typically when you are replacing a halter with a bridle. It was tight, but I thought it would work for a few minutes. Then I tied the lead line to the gate. I looked at Buckshot- his face looked pinched, like "what is this you are doing to me??" I thought if I step away, he might be worried, and I didn't like it, so I undid it.
Then I walked him back to the tack room door, and thought- grain! He loves grain! I'll give him a few bites of it. The only thing I could find to use was a dog/cat dish kept there to feed kibble to the cats. I put some grain into the dog dish and set it down in front of Buckshot. Well, he lowered his nose to the dish and stood stock still- eating away! I fed Jesse, and tied up Dusty, and Buckshot never moved a muscle from the grain!
I mounted him again and we went to the reining arena and had a wonderful time! We cantered a lot and trotted a lot and it was just a soaring, wonderful, freeing time with Buckshot! He had good energy, and the weather was just so nice and cool and we just rode and had such fun! I was so proud of him - he let me work on my canter seat by cantering for a good long time, and repeatedly, and he was just wonderful! After I had my fill, we headed back to the barn to untie the horse. Again, I used the grain in the dog dish to keep Buckshot occupied and standing still! Then I mounted up again, and we headed back to the main arena. We did a few more minutes of work there and called it a day. An hour and a half of wonderful autumn riding, on the best horse ever! I gave him lots of treats and praise and thanks as I untacked and brushed him, and walked my partner back to his pasture.
Hope you had a great autumn ride as well!