Nudge, Nudge, Look at Me

008So my butt hasn’t made it into the saddle the past two days, but I have had some quality time with Ike and Cigar.  Ike and I did have an awesome ride on Saturday, but we will get to that in a minute.  Dare I say that my two boys are a tad bit spoiled when it comes to treats and the variety on hand on any given day…peppermints, Nicker Snacks, Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns, black licorice wheels, Good N Plenty, Peppermint Plops, carrots, and Uncle Jimmy’s Licky Things are all currently on hand.  Like I said, my boys are ROTTEN to the core, and every other horse at the barn has decided that I should be their best friend as well.  The walking, talking treat dispenser.  If I turn away from Ike to dispense a treat to his brother or, gasp, a pony girl, I get the polite nudge, nudge, “Why are you giving away my treats!?”  If I continue to ignore him, he pins his ears, squints his eyes, and nudges a bit harder.  The talking treat dispenser then turns into the poking meanie and makes Ike back up while poking him in the chest.  Rudeness will not get you treats…Ike struggles to learn that lesson…this from a horse that wouldn’t eat a peppermint when he arrived in 2011.

And now back to our ride on Saturday.  Maybe Ike really liked the treats I gave him (Good N Plenty), maybe he had a good night’s sleep, maybe the stars and planets aligned just right with the phase of the moon, or maybe it was just shear dumb luck, but the ride on Saturday lacked the pulling, yanking, and grumpiness that has been ever-present for the past month.  It was 45 minutes of productive work.  Where has this horse been?  This is the horse that won my heart.  Warmup had one bobble when Ike had a moment after we both heard something in the woods – never did see anything, but it startled big man.  We recovered quickly and ended up with a stellar left lead canter that down transitioned to a powerful and connected trot.  I still have not mastered sitting that trot.  All Ike’s trot work was forward and the connection was very steady in my hands.  I could feel him pushing from behind and using his back.  Ah, Ike, you haven’t forgotten how to do that; I was beginning to wonder.  Ike’s canter in both directions was solid.  The right side is still harder for us, but the potential for greatness is in there.  He just still needs to learn how to use all those big body parts in unison.  We also tossed in some leg yields, centerlines with halts, and of course, circles.  Hmm, we are a bit rusty on those straight halts, so that will go on the ever-present list of “Things-to-work-on-before-show-season-returns.”

Sigh, show season is again just around the corner.  Guess we’d better get started on that list!

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