Miles had his first farrier appointment since I purchased him last Thursday. I was pretty excited, as it had been a year and six months (almost to the day) since I last saw my farrier, D. He helped me out so much with Visa and is just an all-around awesome guy, I had missed him!
I focused on adjustability at the canter, using the natural shape of the ring: shorten in the turns and lengthen down the long side. We did this both directions, and Miles did great! I think the key is to use more of my entire body to ask for the shorter stride, rather than just half halting with my arms. When I slowed the rhythm of my hips and arms, Miles shortened quickly and easily; and when I swayed my hips for a bigger canter and let my arms flow with his stride, he opened right up.
We had another great ride on Sunday, where I really focused on our partnership. I am very goal-oriented and sometimes it’s hard for me to not do specific exercises to work towards a specific goal. But I realized last week that I am hindering our progress by riding this way right now. Miles and I hardly know each other, and before we launch into the very specific skills, we need to master the basics of how we communicate; we have to walk before we can run.
So I did some ground poles, but once we got good spots and even striding, I called it quits on that topic. No arguing over adjustability over poles! Then we worked on transitions to the canter, from both the walk and trot. At the beginning of our ride, they were very rough. But of course as soon as I asked Sam to watch, they were all perfect. So we ended on that fabulous note.
But the big project of the weekend was new clothes! As I previously mentioned, I ordered some blankets from SmartPak to try, so Mr. Miles was subjected to standing in the crossties while I played dress-up.
I loved the fit of this blanket on Miles. The length was just right, front to back and floor to ceiling (so to speak). The front closure made it easy to adjust to his narrow chest and small neck; plus he looks very stylish in hunter green, if I do say so myself.
|Sam appeasing Miles so I can take more photos.|
|Why am I wearing this stupid blanket?! It’s 65 degrees out!!|
Verdict: I’m definitely keeping this one!
Blanket #2: SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Blanket (Light)
I was excited about the 10-year guarantee, so I just had to try it. I ordered a 78 since that’s what I measured the pony at. And while I love the sheet itself, and several of the features, I don’t love the fit on Miles. What do you guys think? (Sorry in advance for terrible cell phone pictures!)
|I love the front closure!|
|Front to back length looks good.|
|But it looks a little long?? What do you think?|
My mom came down for a visit this weekend to see the rock in person and visit her new grandpony. We went out to the barn on Saturday, and started off with a short hack in a new bit (just a plain D-Ring Snaffle). Miles went around great in it, I was very happy to note. We are starting to get more of a frame, as well as some decent bend. By the end of the ride he was really moving up and under himself at the trot — it felt great!
Originally I thought that Miles might be just an easy peasy ride for me on the flat, without much challenge. And while he certainly is easy (I have every confidence that just about anyone could get on him and go around) I think he will challenge me to get the best out of him, which I am very happy about. I’m already looking forward to a private flat lesson to get more figured out, and to get some exercises to work on!
I can also already feel how Miles is making me a better rider: telling me when I am being too stiff, when I am looking down and when I am collapsing my core. Again, the more I ride him, the more I’m realizing that he’s going to be such a great fit for me!
Anyways, after our hack we did a spot-bath with some Head and Shoulders. He had a few areas with dandruff/light fungus, but it was too chilly for a full-bath, so I just focused on his face and flanks and showed off how awesome he is about getting his face rinsed (Mom was very impressed!). We took some conformation shots while he was drying for future comparison, as well as some “glamour” shots. You’ll see those later!
Once back in the barn, it was time to try on clothing. When Visa passed, I don’t think I threw a single thing out, so we had all sorts of blankets to try on. I had one stable blanket and one stable sheet, which promptly went into consignment, as I only use turnouts now. I also had a full set of StormShield New Briton blankets (light, medium and heavy) in size 80, all of which didn’t fit. They were close, but just a smidge too big, and the fit was all wrong for my lanky high-withered Appendix. But we did luck out and the size 80 medium Weatherbeeta I had fit just fine — yay for one less blanket purchase!
We also measured Miles’ height and weight: Approx. 16 hh, 490 kg.
On our way home we stopped at the tack store in hopes that we might find some nice blankets on consignment, but the only one there worth anything was a Rambo and I couldn’t justify the $225 (used) for it. I know everyone loves Rambo blankets, but they are just so expensive! So Miles got Stud Muffins and a new lead rope instead.
But today, I’m finally letting you in on the secret because after 514 days, I am officially a horse owner again! And is my pleasure to finally introduce:
Miles’ history is a bit of an unknown. At some point, he was some sort of a rescue case and landed at a big hunter/jumper barn in the area. He was sold to his current owners as a Thoroughbred, but he has no tattoo and doesn’t totally look like a Thoroughbred and definitely doesn’t act like one. His old trainer, my trainer and my vet all agree that it’s unlikely he’s 100 percent Thoroughbred… and our best guess is Appendix, so that’s what I’m going with. He is, unfortunately, not able to be registered with AQHA. Miles’ age is also technically unknown, but my vet confirmed that he is about seven.
We picked Miles up on Monday and promptly had a lesson. We jumped bigger than I’ve jumped in months (I estimate some 2’3″ oxers!) and he was perfect. We got lead changes both ways, walked outside the ring and down the path in between all the empty paddocks. We even went up to the scary grass arena right next to the road and he didn’t spook once!