Saturday, June 18, 2011

Next Steps for Starlight

Starlight is ready for something more.  She has consistently shown a cooperative, calm and adventuresome spirit under saddle and it’s time to take her out in the world.
Riding out.

For instance, last night, I rode her up the pipeline right-of-way.   This entailed many firsts for her: It was the first time crossing rocky ground with a rider, the first time crossing a muddy area with a rider, the first time negotiating up- and downhill over varied footing, with a rider, and the first time riding up the hill with her pasturemates hanging out in the complete opposite direction, so she had to put more and more distance between herself and them. 

Her reaction to all this newness was a high head.  That was it – just a high head.  There was a point when I asked her to halt, and gave her a moment to assess the situation.  Some horses would have decided this was a good opportunity to turn around, suggesting to me it was time to head back to the known.   But after a pause, Starlight went forward, further up the pipeline at a quick walk.  This little statement on her part surprised me, and really made me happy.

So now my poor, overtaxed brain is noodling away: Where to take her?  Ideally, I would have an excellent trainer at lovely facility about 15 minutes from my home, so I could load her up and start taking lessons.  It would be a short enough trip so neither of us would dread it.  But that’s not reality.  Still, there are several good trainers within 35 or 45 minutes, so even if I don’t get the ideal situation, I can still find a good one.

My friend Wendy said we could join her and her boarders on a trail ride, or maybe we could set up the obstacles in her arena and practice them.   Her husband built a bridge, a teeter-totter, a “car wash,” and some other obstacles to take horses over and under.   That would be fun.  I’m going to build a course like that here in the near future.

The combination Paint/Pinto show in July at the Chemung County Fairgrounds is a possibility.  And there are several hunter paces, after I build up her stamina.   She and I will learn some Western-style activities together eventually, but for these early trainings, I’ll stick to what I know, and tearing across the countryside is one thing I know.  Add jumps, so much the better.

It’s fun and scary to make plans that will start the career of a good pony.

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