Still half-boarding Ruby. Going into my 4th month as a half boarder. I ride my 3 days a week and I live for my Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at the stable.
How fast do horses form friendships? Within a month, as soon as he heard my voice when I walked into the barn and talked with people, he'd pop his head out over the dutch door and nicker a greeting! I suppose my generosity with treats doesn't hurt, but he'll do it even if I have no treat on me. How nice to have a horsey friend to greet me again, even if he's a "borrowed" friend.
The changes in weather have made Ruby very stiff and creaky. His owner has him on supplements to help but old age and lots of miles will still have their effect. I spend many rides just hacking on a loose rein for a half-hour with lots of walking and short trot/canter sessions in between. It's still more than I was doing with Rugby but there's a different feeling here. I have great respect for an old schoolmaster, who has paid his dues and has earned the right to not have to work hard. I want to do more but feel guilty to push him.
Ah, but the days when I come to ride and he works out of his stiffness are so fun. Taking a jumping lesson again with my instructor and finding that I haven't lost my eye to a line or the thrill of a jump (even a little jump) is uplifting. The flying changes across the diagonal, the turns on the haunches to reverse, riding on no rein contact and using my seat and legs to do figure 8's and riding in the grass field or the trails and not having him spook at every strange thing make me appreciate over and over the gift that a well trained and seasoned horse is.
I'm such a sucker that after his owner had him body clipped, I bought a quarter sheet so I could still ride the old guy on chilly days and his back, hips and haunches would be warm and help keep him from feeling too stiff.
Two more horse prospects have come along, funny that they are both also red horses. There is a chestnut working on the school line that my trainer thought might be a good boy for me but then the horse started acting up in lessons and his opinion of the horse changed. I also went to look at a horse that is for sale locally. He's a young chestnut TB and is currently healing from a hoof abscess. He's very cute and I told the owner that when she feels he's ready to go back to work I'd love to come and try riding him.
I dream that a year from now, I'll be writing on this blog that I'm preparing to enter my first hunter pace with my new horse friend, and the crisp fall air and crunch of leaves will bring joy and excitement instead of such a feeling of melancholy.