As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Alan and I had a riding lesson with my awesome young instructor, Erin. Kadeen has been taking excellent care of Alan when we are walking on the trail. However, trotting and cantering under different conditions can result in a “different” horse. Alan has had only a minor glimpse of the horse that can wind up and become a totally different ride. I have a friend I have not ridden with for over 5 years. When I told her Alan was riding Kadeen, she said, “Kadeen must like men better!” She had seen the challenges I had with Kadeen in years past. She couldn’t comprehend that hot horse taking care of a less experienced rider. Rather than believe Kadeen had settled to any degree, she figured he just must be happier with a male rider.
Kadeen has settled and matured. That is part of his transformation. The other part of it is the hours and hours I have spent working with him and building a relationship with him. Erin wants Alan to come for a lesson some day without me along. She’d like to see how Kadeen behaves when Mom is not there.
Thus far this year, we have had two lessons. In Alan’s first lesson, they worked only on a slow jog. He wanted to get a better handle on that before trying a canter. The second lesson, his seat and hands were much better and the slow jog significantly improved. They tried a canter… Kadeen behaved, but was clearly not a happy camper. Alan is learning to use his seat and steady his hands, and Kadeen is extremely sensitive to rider movements. Add to that, I haven’t ridden him in ages, and he has been on one long vacation. Erin decided I needed to provide Kadeen with a bi-monthly tune-up to keep him happily responsive. I did ride him at the end of that second lesson. He complied, but his attitude was visible for all to see!
And then there is the Finnster… My youngster is totally not happy with this new program of regular riding. He has been copping an attitude at the beginning of each ride with predictable regularity. He really threw a hissy fit at the beginning of the lesson. I was very grateful that Erin saw it and gave me immediate pointers and effective responses. Finn likes to sit back on his haunches and get a bit light in front when he’s tantruming. Erin told me to pop his head around and plan to mess with his balance–just be ready for it! After his initial tantrum, he did better, only throwing one more fit during the workout. We are heading to Colorado for a week of riding in the near future, so he will soon be a tired horse.
Recently, a friend and I trailered to a local park. She is currently (and indefinitely) horseless and she rides Kadeen. Unfortunately, we got into stinging nettles yet again, and came home with Scratches. I HATE that stuff. Kadeen is extremely sensitive to it with his white coat and light skin. It seems like nettles become a problem earlier and earlier every year. Since I don’t know a rose from a dandelion, I am lousy at looking for a particular type of plant. My solution will be to stay only on well-defined trails. I once had a mare with such a horrible case of Scratches that I had to sedate her daily to treat her. Kadeen has gotten Scratches from being in a wet pasture in the morning dew while camping.
Kadeen has also exhibited a dry cough lately. This is not new for him, as every spring he seems to have an allergic reaction to something. We have had so much rain this year that spring hasn’t really morphed into summer yet. Kadeen’s cough is only once or twice at the beginning of a ride when he’s asked to move out a little. More air requirement = a cough. I ran a test on him looking for signs of more global inflammation, but it was normal. So for now he’s being treated with benign neglect…
Kara the pup is growing like a weed! She’s a weird mix of “the world is my oyster” if you’re talking about an animal, or “Help! It’s a human being!” She’ll readily take on a dog 2-3 times her size, but shrink from the touch of a stranger. I am not used to having a socially backward dog, so we’re working on that. She absolutely LOVES her siblings, especially Mica the black German Shepherd. He puts up with her relentless flank bites as she kicks in her herding instinct. She’s super sweet and loves to cuddle… a huge plus!