It can be said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; however, when your role model isn’t exactly clean-cut and at the top of the honor roll, you worry about his influence on a younger generation…yes, I’m talking about the less than stellar guidance that Cigar is providing to Ike. I worry that Ike has been led astray by his older brother.
Even Ms. C has commented that perhaps putting Ike in the paddock adjacent to his brother wasn’t our best decision. Ike used to quietly graze or eat hay in his paddock. If he was startled, the worst he would do was stand at the gate and stare at the house until someone came to rescue him. Since moving in next door to his brother, he now takes flight around his paddock, bucking like a banshee and sliding up to the gate like a reining horse. The boys also think it is fun to casually walk to the far end of their paddocks, turn, and gallop to the other end. It doesn’t seem to matter who wins as the game is repeated over and over and over until it is time to get funky.
Ike used to be a neat horse. Rarely did I have to remove much dirt and his coat was always shiny and his mane tidy. Well, those days are O-V-E-R. As you can see in today’s photo, he has been taking his brother’s advice and spends his time wallowing in the mud. Today, it took me more than 30 minutes to remove enough dirt to ride without embarrassment. Once mounted, I found some funk I missed up behind Ike’s ears. Thankfully, no one but me would notice it at that height. Now that the temperatures have risen, wearing a blanket is out, so mud removal is a daily activity. All this dirt makes me miss my polo wraps with the pig faces on them; they’d be quite appropriate these days.
Luckily for me, Cigar has yet to influence Ike as far as his training. For that, I am eternally grateful. It took 7 years for Cigar’s “meteoric” rise to First Level. Ike’s progression has been just a wee bit faster as he has reached First Level after only 2 years. His work as of late has been stellar. Perhaps it is the fact that his rider has finally caught a clue coupled with the fact that Ike has gained muscles in all the right places. We have been working hard to get ourselves ready for our first outing of the year which is now a little over a week away. Our lessons with Ms. C are very focused. “Where is your outside shoulder going?” “Is it going where your horse is going?” “Half halt!” “Again! He didn’t hear you.” When I ride on my own, I try to replay the lesson in my head to replicate the correct positioning. Where is my pocket-sized Ms. C to carry with me?
Our riding isn’t the only thing getting prepped for next weekend. The trailer was inspected, and the short in the braking system was fixed. I finally replaced my stirrup leathers; the ones I purchased in 2006 were starting to show their age. New polo wraps have been purchased. Ike has his stall reservations made and has his health certificate. My new DerDau’s made their first appearance at the barn. I still walk like Frankenstein in them, but they were comfortable to ride in from the very first ride. They have a spiffy new bag to protect them. My new Ecogold saddle pad (http://ecogold.ca/) arrived. It is lovely. I now want a whole stack of them.
The weekend promises to be a nice one. We can only hope next weekend is as well.