dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, April 24, 2016

In Which Irish Proves He Still Has IT

Irish has started his annual hunger strike with earnest. When I am outside I can feel his gaze penetrating into my skull demanding to be let onto the grassy field. I've actually started to skulk in hopes that he won't see me. But damn, that horse is psychic. Lately when I look out the window he's staring fixedly at me. I'm sure that he knows I'm there even though he can't see me. 

no excuses servant, just open the gate
I remain strong despite the force of his will. It's amazing- if he had used 1/10th of that in the show ring we'd have kicked butt. He needs to be exercised so that he doesn't lose all of his muscle. He had yesterday off but I needed to work him today. Since I was going to ride two horses I had to pick which one was first. When I looked out in the field and saw Irish throwing tantrums over having to eat hay I decided that he could go first. He was easy to get - he came right up to me. Probably because he thought I was going to take him to grass.

Carmen wasn't too impressed to be left behind but didn't make too much of a fuss. I mounted outside of the barn and rode up to the ring. He was tense and a bit excited so I started him off with lots of bending and suppling exercises. He was very stiff in the trot so we cantered for a bit and he loosened right up. I was glad to be wearing spurs- not to get him going but to help him bend and straighten. It's not so easy for him but letting him work crooked is not going to help in the long run. When he was soft, supple and nicely forward I decided to practice Training Level Test 1. This is one of the tests I have planned for Carmen at our first show and I wanted to see how it rode. I figured it would be easy for him. Irish and I made it to 2nd level before his neuro issues became a problem.
Here's how the test went:
I picked up a trot and entered at A. As we headed down the centre line I felt Irish come alive.
Irish: We're doing a test aren't we? 
Me: yes but don't get excited 
Irish: We ARE. I just knew it! 

X- halt through walk
Irish: Where's the judge? What about my fans? I don't see them!

C- track Left. E - circle left 20 metres
Me:  contain yourself, it's a simple circle not the Indy 500 
Irish: what's that? Is it a REALLY BIG SHOW? 

A- circle left 20 metres picking up a canter in first quarter of circle
As we made our way towards A Irish started to bounce.
Irish: Canter, we're going to canter
Me: Wait for it
Irish: can-ter, can-ter, CANTER CANTER CANTER
 And he cantered, well before A. I brought him back and asked him to canter right after A.
He was nice and forward on the circle.
uh oh I thought.
Irish: I know what's coming next! 
A-F-B working canter
Me: no you don't. 
Irish:  YES I do! 
There's no lengthen in this test. 
Yes there is. Watch me fly! 
No. No. No. Just canter. No lengthen
Here we go- wheeeeeeeeeeee

Despite my half-halts and, quite frankly, death grip on the reins he went down the long side with every bit of lengthen in his 16 year old, out of shape, arthritic being. We flew with no signs of the aforementioned age, out of shapeness or arthritis. .

Between B and M working trot.
Irish: Bit abrupt that. Should have more warning- it's hard to go from lengthen canter to trot. What were the writers thinking? 
Me: They were thinking that it was WORKING CANTER. 
Irish: silly. 

C-E  walk. E-F free walk on the long rein.
As we walked by H Irish tried to cross the diagonal on the free rein
Irish: hellooo? You missed the turn. 
Me: Not until E. 
Irish:  Well that seems late. 

A- Working Trot
Irish:  and we're off! 

E- Circle right 20 metre

Irish: now for the wind up
Me: wind up? what wind up? there will be no winding. 

C- circle 20 meters developing canter in first quarter of circle
Irish: compressing energy, getting ready.... 
Me: For pity's sake. There is NO lengthen in this test. 

C-M-B- working Canter.
Irish: wheeeeee. Look at me- I'm pegasus. 
 Me: fine. yes you are pegasus. The noblest of beasts. 
Irish: I know, right? 

A- down centre line
Irish: hey didn't do lengthen trot. Let's do it now. 

X- Halt salute
Irish  stopped on the dime. I was almost propelled up his neck.

He was thrilled with himself. We cooled out and then walked back to the barn. We passed Carmen and Irish strutted.
Did you see me? Now THAT'S how it's done. 
Carmen: see what? did you get any grass? 

And from his back he can't give me that gimlet eye he's been using! 
This guy can still make me laugh.


  1. Love this, it made me giggle and I can see him being so proud for his pegasus impression :)

  2. I laughed out loud at this!!!! I can almost hear the conversation between the two of you. :) Glad to hear he's still GOT IT!! :) xoxoxoxo

    Ann Northrup

  3. He sounds like quite the character!

  4. I am peeing myself laughing at your inner dialogue for Irish. I can just picture his exuberance and joie de vivre!

  5. SUzie has been acting totally sassy because she wants grass too - I lol'ed at the last photo! That's a stink eye for sure!

  6. He must be such a fun horse to hang out with. Seen or not.

  7. Haha good old Irish! He just had to remind you that he's still all that.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.