A woman came to view Max yesterday. Mr O rode him round the village and through the river the day before so he came back with pure white legs. He seems to be saying, "I'll do anything you want, just don't let dad ride me!" Can't think why.
I trimmed about eight inches off the end of his tail, as I'd come to put his rug on in the evening and he couldn't move forward as he was treading on the end of his tail and got stuck. As I may not be showing him this year, I decided to trim it, so now it's considerably shorter, but looks rather smart, and won't drag in the mud. I did a bit of discreet face trimming, too, which made him look quite good.
The woman arrived with her daughter at about 10am. Max was a bit miffed about being the only one in for so long and tried to get out, but nothing too naughty. He was fine with being tacked up, so I explained to them that they needed to drive up the road and turn left and I would ride Max up the road. They actually parked on the main road and watched me ride along, which is fair enough. I felt physically sick and nearly asked Mr O to ride him, but thought that would look rather suspicious, and had to get on with it. It was very windy, too, but suddenly the wind dropped and Max was remarkably well behaved. We turned down the lane, and I stopped where Ben the dog was barking his head off at him. Max was just looking about him, wondering why we'd stopped, and not taking a blind bit of notice of the dog.
I asked the woman to park on the verge, and we walked up to Jolly Farmer's with the geese honking and the cows moving about and Max ignorning it all. I got Mr O to open the manege gate so I didn't have to get off, and I rode Max in the school, just doing a couple of circles to see if he was going to spook at anything. He was very laid back, so I quit my stirrups, let go of the reins and rode him round the school with my hands on my hips.
I said he seemed fine, so the mother got on and rode him round. She said she hadn't ridden for ages, but seemed okay to me, but Max wasn't very active, but I think that was down to her riding. Then the daughter got on and rode him for a few minutes, doing a bit of walk and trot. She rode better than the mother and Max was more responsive.
Then I got back on and rode him home. I'd told them to drive up to the verge and park and I would canter past them on the left, which I did. Max was actually impeccable, as I stopped and started him twice, and he went straight from canter to trot, the second I requested it. I couldn't have asked for more.
They drove back to the farm and I rode back, and dismounted. I asked them if they were interested and the woman said he was stockier than she was looking for, and they had another horse to go and look at, and she would be in touch. I felt quite deflated. What a waste of time. I'd have thought his size was obvious from the photos in the advert, but maybe not.
As I was riding Max back, and he was being beautiful, I thought, 'why am I selling you?' but today it's been windy and he's been in a very silly mood. I thought, 'Oh yes, that's why!' I may need to be reminded from time to time.
Another woman is coming on Wednesday. She has a horse, but her daughter is looking for something to ride. They've had a loan horse who's been a bit of a disaster, so we'll see what happens there.
I decided to ride Barnaby to cheer myself up. Mr O came too, on Zak. Barnaby was quite full of himself, and I had to get off at one point to open a gate. The ground on the other side was really muddy and Barnaby was trying to run through it, and so was Zak. In the end I got off and ended up walking the entire length of the bridleway, as there is another gate at the other end. We got out onto the road, and I got on, but there is no way I'm going to be able to do that too many times on a ride, as he is higher up than Max, and I just don't have the strength. I need to look for rocks and things to use as a mounting block.
We rode up the road in high winds, and Barnaby was fabulous. At one point Mr O was cantering on the verge next to me (wish I'd thought of that!) and Barnaby wasn't bothered. I thought it would make him want to race, but it didn't. We did have a canter on one verge, though and they were fine, which is brilliant. I don't feel ready to canter them in open country yet, but it's only a matter of time.
When you ride Barnaby, the whole of his life is focused on going forwards, so all his energy is channelled into that. With Max, 80% of his energy is focused on looking from side to side, to see what's out to get him, and it makes a big difference. Give me a bold, brave horse any day. I think I will really grow to love Barnaby, but he needs to get some of his balance onto his back end. For those of you who don't know, lots of horses lean on their front end, which means they lean on your arms when you're riding, expecting you to hold them up, and Barnaby is like this, whereas Max is very well balanced and carries himself.
Mr O says, 'Barnaby likes to run,' which he does, but it doesn't mean he should all the time. He's got to listen to, and respect the requests of his rider. Lots of children like to crayon on your sofa, but it doesn't mean you let them, does it? This is why I need Mr O to stop riding him, so that I can put the work in to help Barnaby balance himself and 'get off the fore-hand,' which I will. Lots of schooling, that's the thing.
Mr O seems to have had a bit of a revelation while mucking out yesterday. He did all three horses and let me sleep, which was fantastic. He said he's realised that I do it seven days a week and never get a break, and that from now on I can have a lay-in on Saturday mornings! I can't believe it. It's only taken him until April to realise. I don't know why this has occured to him now, but I am eternally grateful. What actually happens is that he gets up at, say 6.50am on a Saturday, goes and feeds the horses, then makes a cup of tea and brings it up, sits on the bed with me and puts the television on! I end up getting up earlier at the weekend than I do during the week. I am like a zombie for the rest of the day, and Mr O wonders why I'm going off riding. It's because I am so tired I am actually falling over and falling into things, but I am expected to get a very strong horse in and ride him. Once I go out and feed the horses, I don't come back in again, so I don't understand it. I go and put haylage in the field, and by the time I've finished, Barnaby is ready to go out, so I rug him up, put him out and start mucking out. Mr O has just realised that this is the way forward. Allelujah! Maybe now I can get some of my energy back and enjoy riding again.
Post script: While writing this, the woman that came to try Max out has just rung to say she won't be pursuing the sale, as Max isn't quite what she's looking for. Right-o, then.
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