I felt a quiet elation the last time I worked Stormkite. It was the kind of happy excitement that I keep in check, because I have learned not to expect too much when working with a greenie.
|Stormkite in August.|
In this workout, he wore the saddle for the second time, and again, he did not react at all to the girth tightening, and he did not buck on the longe line. This is somewhat unusual, in my experience. In addition, we went for a leadline walk up the road, away from his comfort zone. He was calm and interested. A car zipped by, and he barely gave it a glance.
The only thing that made him a little nervous was a conversation between two men that we could clearly overhear, from my neighbor's. It was unusually loud, considering how far away they were, and it was definitely odd to hear two men talking, from where we were on the road. The voices seemed to come from nowhere.
One of them said, "Hey look, there's a horse rider broke down in the road."
I don't know quite what that meant, since I was just standing there next to the horse, but the comment did elicit a pile of manure from Stormkite. That was the only way he showed nerves at all.
In the herd, he is the lowest in the pecking order, but he is the lowest with attitude, if there is such a thing. He'll move off when the mares request it, and he'll do it fast when they really mean it, but a lot of times he'll just move out of reach, instead of completely vacating the premises. Sometimes, when one of them goes to bite his neck or cheek, he'll just put up his head and seem to say, "Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Whatever," but he doesn't always leave. I'm wondering if this combination of submissiveness-as-necessary with a dash of cheekiness are the marks of horse who is willing to take direction, but is also attractively confident and brave.
Oh, and twice now I have seen him make some fine jumps over obstacles in the pasture, at high speed, much to my delight. Once he made both my husband and I gasp as he cleared a wooden board that was flat on the ground while being chased by his sister. It was at least 14 feet long. The other time was over a drainage ditch. The fun part about both jumps was how quickly he made the decision to jump and how much air he got.
So, the other day I became interested enough to start imagining my having him going well by next summer, and I started second-guessing myself on his birthdate, wondering if he is actually four. So I checked his papers and no, May 8, 2008, was his foaling date, so he's still three and so not up for much work under saddle, yet. I don't start doing real riding on them until they are at least four, but come May, we have a date with some trails.
Confirming his birthdate was encouraging, though, because it still gives him a chance to grow a chest.
As I said, I'm not getting too excited, but I'm quietly optimistic that this boy is going to be a fun and willing riding partner.