Saturday, April 10, 2021

Walk & Chew Gum: A Fantastic Day with Tumbleweed

Some days seem as if they're from a storybook: once upon a time, a girl fell in love with a baby horse, ...and he grew up, learned to take care of the girl, and they rode off into the sunset, on a beautiful 65 degree day, where a red fox showed up and joined them, and her mother prepared a delightful tea... And the girl and the horse lived happily ever after. The end.


That pretty much sums up my trip to see Tumbleweed yesterday.  There were many changes in him: 1. He had grown in height, 2. He could walk and chew gum in saddle, 3. He bonded with his trainer, 4. He has settled into the work.

Last year, Mr T's front hadn't caught up with his back, therefore, in saddle, I was sloping down, which felt awkward. This year, his front end has caught up, and he seems as if he has been in a growth spurt down there. The trainer has had to feed him extra to keep his weight on. She even has to return him to his stall for grass feedings between his am and pm alfalfa. I had him on a supplement, but she has increased it by quite a bit.

In retrospect, I should have taken him down heavier. Growth + exercise + nervousness = MASSIVE calorie burn. I told her to feed him whatever she thinks he needs to sustain him in training, and add it onto my bill. I'm also going to follow a new feeding plan, and supplements, she has recommended for when he is home. 

As for the second change, the ability to walk and chew gum, what I really mean is walk, support the weight of a rider, listen to leg, rein, verbal, and body cues, and navigate obstacles, without being overburdened with stimuli. That was a huge change from last year. He's still processing it, and it's still somewhat new, but you feel like you have a horse underneath you that gets it. He was very responsive to the lightest leg cue.

He is bonded to Sarah, the trainer, and I could see a tenderness and softness in his eyes toward her. But when we arrived, he had his head out of his window to see us, and when I walked into his stall, and out to his run, he left his food, and came to me there and placed his head in my hands. He was very sweet. He also wanted loving from my daughter, Shiloh.

He has settled into his work now, and the foundation is rock solid, so the next month is going to be amazing for him. She has trail rides planned, and lots of riding out. He will be doing some ranch-style work.  At the same time, she wants to see him build up muscle along the topline, and learn to carry himself collected. There's a lot of muscle memory involved in that, which she is developing well.  

Yesterday, was the first day I could not only see, but FEEL, the future with Tumbleweed.  I felt like our skill levels were coming closer to a perfect match. A month from now, it will be even more so.

I had a talk with Sarah, beforehand, about how I need to get comfortable with his trot before I can move to his lope. She agreed. So, I'll be making 3 more trips down for lessons before bringing him home.  Hopefully, I can become confident with him at all three gaits, and maybe even ride him out once with her.  We will see how it unfolds.

 

7 comments:

  1. You two look great together! I'm so happy that you are happy with him!
    Those growth spurts do burn up a lot of calories- good on your trainer for recognizing that he needed a change in diet. I have had horses come back skinny from trainers who didn't manage the feed properly with their changing needs.

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    1. I can see how that would happen with such tight profit margins for trainers, especially now, when feed prices are accelerating so quickly, while her rate is the same as last year. I don't want her to feel limited by cost, so I did tell her to add those costs to my overall bill. I think daytime hay is going to help a lot--giving him more time to eat. I think she said she added Omolene 400, but I brought her LMF Development (A) before I knew what she had switched to. I'm heading back down next week. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to get Omolene around here, but I'll run out and look. The feed stores sell out of Omolene 300 and 400. They must be popular.

      I just love him. He is his own, unique personality, and I am still getting to know that personality as he grows up and changes, but there is a very willing partner in there--with a bit of a playful side, too. Thank you for bringing him into my life!

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  2. What a fantastic update Linda, you must be on cloud nine!! You two not only look amazing together, but are clearly growing into solid partners. Your smile says it all. I am so happy for you! Your storybook is going to be filled with Tumbleweed adventures. Kudos to Shirley for breeding such a solid minded horse, with looks to boot. I truly hope you get to ride him out on the trail with your trainer. I remember more than one trail ride in Koda and Nemo's early years where having our trainers help was invaluable.

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    1. I think you’re right. Even if it’s a short ride out, better to do it with the trainer there and build up my confidence. Yesterday did a lot towards that goal. I think he is about where I can handle it right now, but it’s not solid enough yet. His trot is still rough, and she is starting to post on him to prepare him for me. That’s the only way I can ride it. She’s also going to expose him to a lot of things that will make my life easier. It will be a very interesting month for him!

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  3. You and Tumbleweed look great together! He's getting so big and he's such a handsome guy. I think going out with the trainer is an excellent idea and can only move his training forward and give you a little confidence. You'll have a great time!

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    1. I think so, too. I’d like to see him more sure of himself before I take the reins, but in a couple of weeks he’ll have had more riding out. I’m excited about this week for him. He had his day off yesterday, which gives him time to absorb it all. His foundation has come together. This should be a big progress week.

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  4. I echo everyone else's comments- this is so exciting to see him progress.

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