Familiar Ghost, “Casper”, has been with me just over a month. And what a month it has been!
As you and I discussed, I’ve been riding a long time. I’ve really liked a couple of horses, downright disliked fewer, and have had a so-so relationship with some. The horses I rode were always for sale or in training, so my relationship with them was as a commodity. I can honestly say that I’ve never been in love with a horse. That has changed.
Casper is the most honest, lovely, intelligent horse I have ever had the pleasure to work around. He is kind, gentle and funny and absolutely stunning. He is handling being at a public barn with great élan. He can be looky and a little spooky but he’s never mean or stupid about it. He startles, snorts and that’s the end.
You may have heard that within a week of being here he got a nasty puncture wound above his left knee. Vet came out, did his vet magic and Casper healed fine. Didn’t have a lame moment. I’m still battling a little proud flesh.
We’re still just trotting, trotting, trotting. He’s learned to lunge on and off a line like a champ, is fine in side reins, stands for mounting and is quiet in the arena. His trot to the right is still pretty rough. I’m taking advice from your training notes and letting him find his own balance. He would be perfect in a Western Pleasure class–he rolls peanuts with his nose–but I don’t want him balancing on my hands. I expect that next week I’ll start trying to get him off his front end. Whoa! is still a mystery to him, but he’s getting better day-by-day. I cannot believe how quickly he picks things up. Lots of praise no raised voices anywhere where I work him. He’s walking over ground poles and jumped a small raised ground pole in the round pen. He’s pretty careful with his feet and legs, so I think I’ve got a low Hunter here!
We’ve fiddled with bits quite a bit. He has the typical low palate of a TB, so my roller D didn’t work. Neither did my slow twist full cheek. I dug around in my tack trunk until I found a French snaffle and that has done the trick. He still bends to the right like a brick, but each day that gets better, too.
Casper has never met a stranger, which can be a bit of a problem. He thinks all the other horses will think he’s as terrific as I tell him he is. They don’t always share his high opinion. So he’s learning to stand around and be bored when other horses are in the arena, trot the opposite direction to on-coming horse traffic, travel side-by-side with others without trying to eat their tack (he simply ADORES the taste of leather) and generally be a good citizen.
None of this is hard–he loves to learn and learns amazingly quickly. Geese still give him the heebie-jeebies, but I can understand that one. He gets along with dogs underfoot, I can sweep under him, he thinks cats are good snacks and loves getting a bath. He trusts me and I trust him.
We’ve had SO much rain that I haven’t taken him out on the trails yet. I’m waiting for the footing to get a little better and then I will beg someone to ride out with me. No going alone the first time.
Thank you again for turning me on to this wonderful companion. He’s something special.