Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Year End Review and Great Weekend with Buckshot!

<b>2012 Year End Review – Early!
To beat the rush, I’ve decided to start reviewing the year. I hate new year’s resolutions, so this year I will trade them for year end reviews of accomplishments! This should make me feel much better than any failed resolutions – LOL!

What Buckshot and I Accomplished in 2012:

We walked down the farm road by ourselves! Several times! Without me having to constantly encourage him, or bribe him. Since we end up riding quite often by ourselves, being able to go to various places on the farm by ourselves is a huge accomplishment. And many of our early attempts were frustratingly long, as poor Buckshot was either very unconfident or worried and he frequently stopped along the way, or walked with the tiniest, slowest steps possible for a horse, or tried to secretly turn around and head back. I am so glad he has gotten much better!
We walked along the trail in the woods by ourselves! Several times we have made the entire trek through the woods, alone! Similar to above, this has been a work in process. One day recently, Buckshot stopped and for ten long minutes, just didn’t want to go forward. Eventually he did go forward. That was a test. I passed. He passed. He got an A for the day!

Dancing with my horse! In a recent post I wrote about the funny time I had "dancing" with Buckshot. Rereading it now and thinking about it, it was an amazing and surprising event of playfulness and joy I experienced with him. Oh, horses are such wonderful creatures!

Cantering Improvement! I probably have improved more than expected at riding the canter this year. We worked on it a lot. And I have to say, there is a lot to work on with the canter. Seat. Cues. Aids. Softness. Not breaking gait. Horse’s moods. Horse’s energy. Using my energy and anticipation as impulsion vs keeping myself calm to try for a controlled canter. Enjoying the rush of cantering strong and hard. Not working enough on rating the canter. But boy, have I learned a lot this year!
Thank you, Buckshot!

I had a blog contest! I don’t know why I was so excited to have one, when I really was all about the prizes! I couldn’t wait to give out and send out prizes. It is just so fun to win some little thing, isn’t it? I really enjoyed buying and shipping out prizes to two great bloggers who won. Such fun. Definitely want to do that again in 2013.

What Buckshot and I Did Not Accomplish in 2012:

Never succeeded in learning to open the gate while riding Buckshot. I think it scared me a little, to be so close to the gate and try to hold it with my hand, I feared losing hold of it and causing it to hit Buckshot…. Well, probably not a big problem if the gate (which is lightweight) taps Buckshot on the side…. Maybe I could stand him next to the gate and lightly tap his side with it deliberately, so he could feel it….Maybe we’ll try again in 2013.

Sidepassing. We tried this many times, but usually we were alone when doing it, and I have no idea what his legs were doing. Many times I ended up laughing and patting his neck and saying, “Buckshot, I have no idea if that was sidepassing, but you did try!!”

Now, on to......
Weekend Fun with Buckshot
This past weekend was amazing. On Saturday, Buckshot was like a new horse, a different horse altogether! We started our ride normally and he had good energy. After a bit, we did some walking outside of the arena, and then, surprisingly, he started heading for the trail head. Walking not just purposely, but enthusiastically. Okay, I thought, let’s go on the trail! And we did! He walked without the slightest bit of hesitation, rather, with purpose and vim and vigor, through the trail. He’s never been this enthusiastic!

I didn’t know what to make of it, but we kept riding until I needed to turn us around and go back to the arena for our class. What energy!

When we got back to the arena, we started trotting and he had wonderful energy! And his canter was outstanding – strong and full of power (but not rushy power). I couldn’t believe it! He seemed in the best spirits ever. When the BO came into the arena, I jokingly asked her, Who is this horse and what have you done with Buckshot?? She asked why and I told her. When the other riders got in the arena and we all started riding, Buckshot’s energy was not as strong as when we were alone. But he still did very well.

I wondered if it was caused by the glucosamine I’ve had him on, but he has only been on it for about 25 days, on loading dosage. Perhaps it was the glucosamine, or the nice autumn weather, but the next day, on Sunday, he didn’t display similar energy or enthusiasm. Of course, Sunday was much warmer and that could have reduced his energy. But what a wonder he was on Saturday! I still cannot believe it. Especially our power walk through the woods, like he owned the woods! King of the woods – Buckshot!

One last thing, I want to note that last Thursday the vet came out and floated Buckshot’s teeth, which is his annual teeth work. Poor Buckshot doesn’t have too many teeth left, he said, but he evened them out. Then I stayed with him while he woke up from the sedative, and after he could walk fine, I took him back to his pasture. The vet was glad he is ridden so much and stressed that it is helpful to horses to feel like they have a job and a purpose. I totally agree with this sentiment, and enjoy my time with Buckshot, which I call “work” when I’m talking to Buckshot, so that he knows he still had lots of responsible work to do with me. Anytime we do something new, or practice our old exercises and patterns, or do some new exploring, it is progress for us and I want Buckshot to feel like he has accomplished something wonderful that day. I always tell him what good work he has done, and always give him post-ride treats to reinforce his good progress. He is the best working horse anywhere!

Hope you had a great weekend!


Kate said...

Sounds very good - thanks for the summary!

AmberRose- Girl With a Dream said...

Loved the summary :') xx

Grey Horse Matters said...

You and Buckshot have really accomplished so much together. He's a wonderful horse. I love how he took charge and was King of the Woods. I'm so happy for both of you.

I agree that a horse needs to feel like he has a job and a purpose. Buckshot surely feels he is a working man. Glad you had such a great weekend.