Friday, August 14, 2009

Basic Training

Yesterday evening I went out to work both my boys. My plan was to work Ollie then Toby second. I wanted to do it this way because on Thursday evenings a girl at the barn with two Paso Fino's comes out to feed and clean in the evenings after work to help reduce her board. She comes with her dog and her young daughter who is a toddler because she can't always pay for a baby sitter while she works at the barn. Toby is an old pro with them but everything is new to Ollie.

Ollie had to be worked first to avoid her and her family. This was because Ollie, on Wednesday night, had given me his best "Bill The Cat" imitation while in a cross-ties lesson when the barn owner's dog came barreling through the barn aisle in a mad dash to the paddocks at the other end. First, the dog startled him, then the dog literally ran under his legs! Any horse would have become unglued with that! But with Ollie, and this being one of the few times he had been in cross ties, he was completely undone. I had to peel him off the ceiling (not quite literally). So while we were doing very well with cross tie training, we are now set back a bit but not discouraged. And because Ollie is learning many new things I don't want the additional worry of a small child at the barn. This girl and I get along well and we'll be able to work out a schedule where we won't cross paths while Ollie is in his early learning stages. He's a bit unpredictable and certainly a busy body showing me all of his thoroughbredness (is that a word?).

But back to Thursday. I have installed cross ties inside Ollie's stall where he feels very safe and comfortable. He was a rock star in his cross ties in his stall. I longed him with a saddle this time and he's understanding the routine. We mostly did floating circles around the arena since we were alone and that got him used to all the areas of our very large outdoor arena. The outdoor arena happens to be next to a road that is popular with bikers. He never flinched once with the sights and sounds of the bikers as they went by. Good boy! He really worked like an old pro. I was very proud of him.

I cooled him off and put him back out in his paddock with the other geldings. Then I worked Toby. Toby is a more emotionally complex guy for me. You see, while I was trying to get Ollie out of the paddock, Toby purposely placed himself between us. He was so bad that I had to bring him in first just so I could get close to Ollie! Crazy guy.

Toby and I worked in the outdoor arena as well but it was a warm evening for northern Michigan. He definitely need "more impulsion" the entire time. But he did give me a fairly good effort in the heat and some good cantering. I cooled him out and put him back out in the gelding paddock.

So who do you think ran (literally) over to welcome him back? Ollie! Ollie was so happy to see Toby! Ollie had such a friendly expression on his face - he was so cute! It was like he was saying "Wow! You came back! How did you do? Are you ok? What did you work on?" Toby, after sniffing noses with him, gave him the "hairy eyeball" and pinned his ears while he walked away as if to say "hey kid, you would have no idea what I was talking about if I were to tell you." Toby must be trying hard to be "cool" right now. Ollie was just happy to have him back with the herd.

After watching that exchange with Ollie and Toby, I know darn well they are going to be good friends. And that makes my heart smile...


  1. Well, if "thoroughbredness" ISN'T a word, it certainly should be. I have had my share of thoroughbredness in my guy as well. He gets regular acupuncture treatments for his back, and according to the vet, based on Huey's personality and temperament, he is The Emperor. I have always called him Hizzoner because he definitely IS "above it all."

    Ollie is a good name for Hola ;o) And he sounds as absolutely wonderful as he looks. Looking forward to more stories (and pictures :O) as your journey continues.

  2. I love the name of your horse - Huey! Hopefully soon Ollie will be a TB Dancer in the showring ;) So far he has all the right ingredients!