Sunday, August 8, 2010

Who is this horse?

I almost don't want to share this with you. Part of me is afraid that it's not real, that maybe I imagined it or it was a dream. But there was a witness so I'm pretty sure it's for real. Grace is sound! I know I've said that before, but this is freakishly sound if there is such a thing.

We've just come off 2 weeks of really great rides. I pushed her a bit one week ago to see how she would handle it. I worked her 7 days in a row, with some longer rides in there including a night of breezing out on the trails. She came through it with flying colors. After her day off she was full of herself and ready to go.

Yesterday there was a hunter/jumper schooling show at the saddle club next door. They hold them once a month through out the show season. Grace is used to all the activity, its usually not a big deal. Our weather changed overnight by dropping twenty degrees. I knew rain was on the way, so I planned to wash Grace's mane and tail in the morning giving me enough time to rebraid her mane. She was WILD! I kept wondering if someone had switched out my quiet Quarterhorse with an Arabian in the middle of the night. Grace would not stand still while I was washing her mane, I don't think she was that bad when she had her first bath at 2 years old. She seemed really distracted by all the going ons next door, so I walked her over there while I waited for her to dry.

As soon as we stepped out of my driveway and she could see the other horses she stood up on her hind legs and leapt forward. I finally asked her " Who are you and what have you done to my Quarterhorse???" This is when I started to wonder if I was dreaming all this, I had watched the Black Stallion before going to bed the night before and now it seemed I had him at the end of my lead rope. I should admit to you here right now that I secretly enjoy it when Grace behaves like that. It is so rare that in 10 years this is probably the fifth time I've seen this side of her. Its almost like she remembers that she is indeed a horse and she starts to act like one. As much as I enjoy watching her connect to her inner wild horse, I don't want to ride it! I took her for a hand walk on the trails and she settled right down, to the point that she got bored and kept trying to snatch handfuls of grass.

We stopped by the show and visited with a friend and her horses. Grace was back to normal, standing quietly, not really impressed by anything going on around her. I took her back home with the intention of riding her later in the afternoon when the show was over. As soon as I took the halter off in the pasture Grace blew up! Running, bucking and snorting, my wild horse was back. She started to run the fence line (who is this horse?), fearing that she my injure herself, I pulled her right back out of the pasture and tacked her up for a ride.

It must have looked like one of those wild horse competitions at the rodeo when I tacked her up. She was spinning at the trailer as I put her saddle on. Since this behavior is rare for her, I didn't get after her for it. Maybe I should have, but it has been my experience that it only makes her worse and that once I get on she settles right down. This is where I get to be the amature owner and not the trainer (cause she's just so darn pretty, I don't want to get mad at her!)
I decided to ride her in a snaffle, since I knew I would have plenty of forward and wouldn't have to work as hard to get her to come to my hand.

Grace got right to work when we got into the warm up arena. She was incredibly focused, similar to how she is when I haul her to a show or barrel race. As soon as we started to trot, I was again convinced that someone had switched out my horse in the middle of the night. This horse was driving up from behind and lifting her back. She was incredibly soft in the bridle. After a few minutes I was able to let out more rein and she just floated above the ground. Who is this horse? I don't think I've ever felt her drive up from behind like that, ever! The friend that I had been visiting with earlier commented on how well Grace was moving. She felt incredible! I finished up with some lope circles, turning her off the outside rein. She felt like she would have done a canter pirouette if I had asked for one.

After we watched a few jumping rounds, I took her back home. This time when I put her in the pasture, she went to what was left of her breakfast. My quiet Grace was back. For the last two weeks I've felt like she was telling me that she's ready to get out and do something. I believe that yesterday she stopped telling me and started screaming it at me. Now it's time to find something for her to do.


  1. That is great news! And such a great feeling to have that good of a ride!

    I admit, I'm jealous, as Promise came up three-legged lame again yesterday. I hope, sometime in the not-too-distant-future, to get this kind of "kick" from her saying she's ready to go back to work.

  2. That's awesome! I have just experienced one of my horses returning to soundness after some time off... it's a great feeling! Keep it up!