Sunday, December 27, 2009

one december evening, impromptu in the arena

I was out at the barn as night came, and had a sudden brainstorm. I read someplace earlier in the week that a training level dressage test is about a half a mile if you tally up all those long sides and circles and such.

I had opened up the arena to the geldings' paddock, thinking they might enjoy some non-muddy footing to stroll in tonight, and the arena light came on with dusk. Suddenly the arena seemed inviting and I felt like some exercise.

So off I trotted, to enter at A, on foot, to get a half-mile work-out before heading back inside.

I was soon joined by a painted pony, who met me at my halt at X and continued on for a bit of the test. Then Cody the QH came in and took up where the pony left off. We did 3 runs of training 1 and then Cody and I did our own thing for awhile with the pony watching closely.

After a little longer, Rafer asked to come in from the barnyard, but as soon as I went over to let him in the geldings crowded the gate and I asked Rafer to wait.

Cody and I took another turn around the arena and Keil Bay decided all this was too much to resist, so he sauntered in and joined me. At one point he, Cody, and the pony were all standing at different parts of the arena and each one would accompany me for part of my round.

Rafer Johnson could not stand it. He shoved through the gate and joined the fun. After a few minutes of greeting he engaged Cody in a rousing game of tag. The two of them trotted and tossed heads and cantered and danced from one end of the arena to the other, while the rest of us watched. Finally, Keil Bay realized hay was being served and he headed out the gate to his stall. Cody did another round with me, the pony joined for one more free walk, and Rafer got a face rub before we all went in and I opened the clean stalls that had mangers piled with hay.

Rafer did a very tidy run-through when I opened Cody's stall door into the barn aisle, so he could join Redford and Salina.

It is still muddy and damp, but we had a sunny day, no need for blankets, and the evening's impromptu arena party was one of the best times I've had this week.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Your impromptu arena party sounds like such fun. I'm sure every one slept well after all the exercise.

billie said...

Arlene, it was funny because at times they were all watching me and it was very much like they were evaluating my movement. LOL. I tried to keep up that working trot, but confess that at times it deteriorated into a lackluster shuffle!

I forgot to mention in the post that I finally learned some German words for working with horses, so I've been using those. Salina is amused by my efforts, and Keil Bay, who was not born or trained in Germany but did have a German trainer here in the US, had a sort of eye-roll response. (what is she doing NOW? whatever, as long as she still gives treats!)

It's interesting though b/c you can see he and Salina understand, but the pony and Cody don't. I think they're catching on to "walk" though - schlik-ta!

Enchanted Forrest said...

What great fun! My sister and best friend and I used to play "horses" in the backyard when we were kids. How we would have loved having real equines to share the game.
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billie said...

Sue, I did that too! We often used neighborhood dogs as the "horses" - not to ride, but we pretended we were riding while they jogged along beside us.

It always makes me smile when the equines here choose to join in the play. I still have my dream of building a little studio/loft on the edge of the back field so the horses could come right up to the deck/big giant window I envision being there.

Happy New Year to you - hope to see you in January.

Michelle said...

Sounds like such a blast! I love hanging out with the horses and having play time! It's very impressive that you're learning German commands as well.....that sounds kind of fun!

billie said...

Not all that impressive, Michelle - but I enjoy finding ways to surprise them (pleasantly, I hope).

The way it started was years back when Salina first came to live with us, she was being a bit of a diva and after a few moments of struggling with her I stopped and said "Nein!"

She stopped in her tracks and slowly craned her neck around to me, to gaze at me with her one eye, in total disbelief.

Ever since then I have used that word only in extreme diva moments and she responds to it.

I sort of made up soothing pseudo-german phrases, like "guten fraulein" - which I say in the worst possible German accent, but she seems to get a kick out of it.

Canter is "galop" and I said that to her a few weeks ago, as a joke, when we were standing together in the sun. She did the same turning of the head, and looked at me like "You have GOT to be kidding! Oh! Yes, you are! Ha ha ha, aren't you the funny one!"

Priceless moment.