Coriander's been telling me that he's ready to go for a gallop and this week I finally felt like we might be able to do it, it wasn't awful cold and there was enough snow that I figured we probably wouldn't have an ice problem. I took him out to our favorite spot (long, flat and straight- without holes) and let him go.
I've never felt him traveling so effortlessly before, he was literally gliding over the ground and it really did feel like flying. Unfortunately we hit a patch of ice, not enough to cause a wreck but enough for us to simultaneously decide to slow down. In hindsight it occurs to me that I've never before cantered/galloped him when his feet weren't bothering him. He picked up thrush at the old barn and we never cantered there. This is the first time he's been sound since the move; it's incredible what a difference pain-free feet make- and they've still got a long way to go!
|Left fore today|
|Right fore today|
Almost immediately I found a pretty disastrous bit of pilot error. I don't know what it is about western saddles, but I'm a complete idiot with them. I thought I had cinched the girth up tight before I got on, but when I reached down to check it was loose! Uber crud. I then found a huge, gaping hole in Coriander's training when he refused to stand still for me to tighten it up. Not too fun when I've got one hand to tighten the girth and one hand to hold Gwen (this is where a ground person would have helped a lot, unfortunately ground persons are unavailable 99% of the time). I ended up dismounting to tighten the girth and then had to mount again from the ground. Learning opportunities, right?
After that though, it was smooth sailing. There's a nice, short loop in the back fields, about 3/4 mile long where I took her for her first trip. She's been there before, we went the exact same way when we walked out with Rocky so I figured it'd be a good place to start. Both horses did really well! Coriander made a few nasty faces at her when she tried to get ahead of us a few times but that was it. Gwen's brain stayed firmly inside her skull the whole time, and even better than that, I think she enjoyed it. We even flushed a group of deer and nothing bad happened. Both horses stopped to look but nobody spooked! There were treats all around for that one.
Overall, ponying was a success; we will definitely be doing it again. Now if I could only figure out that western saddle once and for all we'd be all set...