|Nate Longeing (April)|
Nate: First candidate for a ride on Saturday was Nate. He’s my daughter’s 17.3hh Dutch Warmblood and I consider him a little in the special category. Once he was tacked and entered the indoor, any common sense he has pretty much flew out the window, along with his brain. With his head up in the air, he immediately began rearing and jumping around, looking out the windows and doors. Needless to say, he was very nervous about being in there.
He shouldn’t be. Nate has been to numerous shows in his career and a lot of indoors. He’s also from Holland and has ridden in airplanes on several occasions. This horse has traveled all over Europe on trailers, planes, been ferried across the English Channel and been in more countries than I have. Nate also spent a lot of time hacking around the Scottish countryside with my daughter. He even used to be safe to ride out alone on trails and roads in traffic. Yet now he’s terrified of the indoor.
She wisely decided not to ride him right away, but to let him loose to explore the indoor at his own discretion. After some running, bucking and rearing, he decided it was okay to trot around for a while. I was standing outside the double doors to the arena and each time he would trot towards the opening I would hold up my arms and he’d turn. We have a longe line strung across the opening; it’s about 3’6” high. During one of his passes, he was heading straight for me and by the look in his eye and his body language I knew he wasn’t going to stop this time. Exit stage left, I dove out of the way and Nate took the jump out over the longe line--magnificently, I might add. Neck arched, legs snapped up to his chest, back rounded beautifully, his form was perfect, especially considering it's been a while since his last official jump. He landed in the stones outside about ten feet out. It could have been an oxer and he definitely would have cleared it. I only wish I had a camera to record it. Then he proceeded to canter right up the steep bank on the other side and then up the driveway, coming to stop at Dusty’s paddock to visit with her.
They stood nose-to-nose while he told her how scary it was in there and how brave he was to get out while he could. She soothed his nerves until my daughter caught him and replaced his bridle with a halter. Needless to say, he went back into the indoor for some easy longe work. By the end of the session he had calmed down and was working very nicely.
I should probably mention that since Nate has respiratory issues, allergies and asthma he hasn’t really worked all summer, as the humidity makes it hard for him to breathe. He's also been dealing from some other health issues, so has been basically retired the last few years, but seems to be doing much better lately, so we were hoping to try to get him back into some light work now that the change of weather is coming. But it was also a bit chilly and windy Saturday morning to add to the fracas.
On Sunday, discretion was the better part of valor and he was simply longed and was much calmer. So he’ll be longed instead of ridden for a while until he gets the used to the idea that he’s back in work and the indoor isn’t the horse eating monster he thinks it is. And truthfully, he didn’t do himself any favors by jumping out of the arena--it just showed us that he’s still got it!
I’ll get to the rest of the horses and this past weekend in the next few post.
Until next time
Quote for Today
Been There... Jumped That!