Wednesday night, Robyn and I had decided to take a night off from riding, and we spoiled ourselves with dinner at Chili's. We had to go back to the barn to get her car, so we ended up searching for the boys to check on them, since we had just opened up the back field for additional grazing. Sure enough, after a creepy Blair-Witch-Project-type walk through the woods, with the miniscule amount of light from a cell phone, we discovered they were hiding (as much as a 1200-lb animal can "hide") behind the barn all along. Blame it on the cocktail, I say.... Anyway, I got a wild hair up my...you know..and grabbed helmets and bridles, and we hopped on the boys for a moonlight bareback ride. Linkin, being the wanderer that he is, decided to start trailblazing through the woods in pitch blackness. So Samson and I followed. We had the most amazing time, managed to NOT get scraped off their backs by any tree branches...a serious feat, since it was literally pitch black in the back of the woods. Such a great night of bonding with our boys. Horses are so good for the soul.
I was off Thursday, so I tackled a bunch of barn errands, and went to ride Delilah mid-morning. We had a strange ride - started out brilliantly on the flat, got a little ugly in the middle, and then ended on a great note. She kept trying to run through my aids and just run around. I realized that day that I have been taking big steps in not being afraid of her, because I really got after her when she was being naughty, and didn't even take the time to be scared. Then, when I got her brain back, I let her trot around on a super loose rein to relax a bit, and then ended with a little jumping to have some fun! That mare really enjoys jumping. We went over a little crossrail in the paddock several times, and each time she cantered off and came right back when I asked her to.
The I was off again Friday for Delilah's moving day! I had hit Kelsey up to trailer Delilah, but being the fearless creature that she is, she decided to hack Delilah down to our farm, and I would go with her on Laddy, the wonder pony - her 13-something hand Arab who went Prelim level before retiring! I twiddled my thumbs all day in anticipation, but at last, the afternoon rolled around, and I packed up the truck and we tacked up to go. Delilah was a star. LOTS of looking around, but she was awesome. She gets this look going in new places - big, bugged out doe eyes, and perky ears, and she swivels her head back and forth, back and forth...but that's the extent of it. She spooked one time, and it was at a BUTTERFLY. Kelsey and I got a real kick out of that one.
We made it back to the farm in time to hack around before Kelsey had to go back to teach a lesson, so we hacked Laddy and Dligh back to the jump arena. Somehow, we managed to get attached by a swarm of deer flys, and the poor horses went nuts. We hopped off and started smacking, and were able to smush a few. Then we got back on, but poor Laddy was still being tortured enough to throw in some little hops and try to run away with me....it was hysterical. Kelsey hopped Delilah over a little line of show jumps. She insisted she can't possibly be in the presence of jumps without jumping them...too funny! Delilah was great, she cantered over both fences like it was no big deal. Then Kelsey and I switched horses, and she showed off her amazing little pony's extensions, and then I schooled Delilah on the flat for a little bit, ending with an awesome halt/trot transition like we practiced earlier in the week!
Delilah has settled in beautifully. Integrating her into the herd literally consisted of her walking out to join the boys, and her going straight to grazing. There wasn't a single display of dominance, or any kind of herd hierarchy to be figured out. They just went right back to life, just with another herd member in their presence. It's amazing, but I keep thinking that the mixed herd has been one of the biggest differences in Delilah's life since moving her. She really seems to be far less "mareish" since being put out with the boys, both at Kelsey's and at our farm. She seems more settled and happy in general. Yet another piece of the puzzle that I think we have clicked into place.
|The herd, grazing out in the back pasture!|
|Samson & Delilah|