First of all, thanks to everyone to sent their condolances about the horse we lost on Thursday. Not sure that anyone really wants to hear how totally gruesome her death was... but I do sort of want to write about it to get it off my chest, so I might just do it. Thank god Future Hubs spent the night with me last night, or else I might not have been able to sleep at all. The night before I for sure couldn't sleep because of what I saw behind my eyelids whenever I closed them. The barn still reeks of dead horse and her body's been gone for two days. Ugh.
Anyway. On a WAY WAY better note, Marti has arrived safe and sound!
His owner brought him to me on Friday and managed to hold herself together and not cry too hard! She said that this must be what sending your kid off to college feels like. She has had him since he was a weanling, and he is now approaching six, so I agree! We weren't sure what he would think about his new digs, seeing as he has lived at just one barn since he was a baby, but Gogo also lived at the same farm where she was born until she was 5, and she was great when I took her off property. They could not have more different personalities though... he is every bit the timid, lower-ranking gentle giant that she is the overly confident, self-assured bossmare. She has confidence oozing out her ears and you have to make sure she knows her place in the herd - beneath YOU. He desperately looks for a leader and practically begs you to be his.
To our surprise, he walked right off the trailer and hopped right into his stall no problem! Shortly after that, we turned him out in the roundpen, and then let him meet Gogo. She of course gave him the snake eyes, but he immediately backed right down. After a careful introduction, we let them go out together. There was a bit of galloping, which I wasn't too happy about, but it was shortlived and they soon settled in to grazing. They ate their dinner near each other without fuss, and today they spent a large part of their day grazing side by side. Despite how horribly racist Gogo seems to be sometimes, I think she genuinely likes the company, and had been tolerating him REALLY well.
Learning about a new horse is always an interesting and fun process. He is very, very shy around people he doesn't know, but he responds well to me, so I think it will just be a matter of letting him get to know me better before he really trusts me. Besides his lack of confidence and shyness, he does have a few issues to work on - namely being a little hard to catch and skittery about his blanket. His owner says that not long ago he had an incident with his blanket, which involved him taking off with his blanket still half on and tearing it all up. When I went to put his blankie on last night, he bolted backwards and tried to get away. I did have a chain on him, thankfully, so I managed to stop him, but I am sure he would have gotten away from me if he hadn't had one on. He is a BIG boy. As for the catching, it's hit and miss right now. I can get him every time, but it takes a bit of trickery and bribery for the moment. I am sure that once he realizes that I am his friend that he will come to me religiously, but as for now he likes to turn and walk away. If you follow him, he runs every time. But if you pretend to leave, or go take 'his' cookies to Gogo, he comes trotting right back. He just doesn't know or trust me yet, but he will. Regular play and groundwork will make that better.
This first week, I plan on just doing groundwork and some light lunging in order to start the relationship off on the right foot. He has only been ridden once or twice a week for a long time, so he's very out of shape. Today I lunged him in my cavesson - it actually FITS but it is on the last hole of everything - and he was super. I was impressed with his behavior because I brought both him and Gogo over to my house and lunged in my pasture, and he didn't bat an eye. He stood rock solid while I groomed him, and he made me laugh when I put on my Nunn Finer boots that I won with Gogo at Groton House (which also fit!) because he couldn't figure out what the Velcro noise was. I'm not sure that he's ever worn boots before! He was really quite good with the lunging, and stayed right on his circle without pulling. He did stop dead once or twice and looked at me, but he figured out pretty quickly that I'd send him right back out on his way, so he stopped that. He also for the life of him could NOT figure out how to canter. I'm not sure that he knows how to canter on the lunge, so I will have to ask his owner. He clearly knows how to lunge in general though! I don't plan on cantering a big huge youngster like him on the lunge much anyway. He doesn't need it, and it's not good for him. He is not strong enough or balanced enough for that yet. And he is VERY out of shape... our lunge session was for 20 minutes with 6-7 minutes of trot in each direction, and he was very sweaty and puffing at the end of it. I am going to have to hound Stacey and Daun for conditioning tips for the big guys. Metro was a BIG guy but for sure Marti is BIGGER.
I've been nothing but impressed with his demeanor so far. The little issues he has shown me so far are simple and will be easy to correct. His owner made it clear that he can be a little devil sometimes, but that it's all fear based instead of attitude based. I haven't seen that side of him yet, but I am sure I will! I can't wait for it to stay light late into the evening... I want to trailer out and go on some TRAIL RIDES!
The very special Ridgeway weekend
3 days ago