We're continuing to ask more and more of Eugene and he keeps on rising to the occasion. Last week he had a lesson with seasonal trainer. One of the his big issues is dragging his hind end through the ground. You can see the dust flying here:
We had the chiropractor out last week and that did help a bit, but he still needs to develop better lift with his hind feet. We've been doing a lot of poles and raised poles. I set up this line with alternating half raised poles. The first time through he was pretty squirrely, but he's really starting to get the hang of it.
Look at those feet lifting up:
My husband has also been doing a lot of work with the trainer on cantering. In the less than one month that he's been home, he's already made huge strides in that department. He's not motorcycling around turns quite so much and his starting to balance himself much more effectively.
Since he was being such a good boy, I set up a canter pole on the circle for him to try. He's never done a canter pole so we weren't sure if he'd balk or try to jump it, but he took it in stride. It was like he'd been doing it forever.
I also set up a little cross-rail for them to try. He trotted right up and over it. Eugene doesn't really know how to manage his feet, but he's certainly eager to please.
The next day we tried Dijon's saddle on Eugene and it was a nearly perfect fit. I swear that saddle is magic. It fits everything. In fact, I had a saddler check it and he said I could use it on Nilla. Which is good, because my husband hates it. So I'm going to use it and give him mine. With a jumping saddle instead of the treeless, my husband was able to do a bit more baby jumping.
He's still not really actually jumping things, but it is great for getting him to lift his feet.
We did get a few attempts at jumping. Complete with adorable pricked ears.
He was doing so well, I set up a tiny cross rail on a circle so my husband could try cantering him over a jump.
He did a good job with the jump, but then had a little fit about cantering near the gate. He actually bucked and tried to stop. My husband thought the saddle was bothering him, but there was no attitude when asked to canter on the other side of the arena. The attitude was about the gate. So I drilled them. Forward is the answer and he does not get to have opinions. You ask for go, he'd better GO. Lots of transitions, some walking and then starting up again, and basically just constantly asking for something and not taking anything other than forward as the correct answer. He did get over it, but it was the first time he's ever been naughty with us.
On Saturday, we had plans to trailer over to Harvey Bear, but then it rained. We rode over to the winery instead. Eugene got some experience meeting hikers on the trail although there weren't many hikers out given the on and off drizzle. He also got to experience cars and bikes on the road. My husband wisely hand walked him for the road portion of the ride.
I love this section of the park. I might hate living in California, but I love these oak trees. They look like something out of a fairy tale, huge and twisted and hanging down over the trail.
On Sunday, I dropped my husband off at the barn in the morning to do a conditioning ride on Eugene by himself. Then I went home and cleaned tack for my clinic and met up at the barn around noon. They did a hard ride. The elevation gain was actually nearly twice as much as either of our rides at Joseph D. Grant: 2,380 feet over 8.6 miles in 1:50 hours. Eugene also got to meet and pass more hikers and he did it all by himself.
We have some pretty intense hills around us
Just as my husband was coming back, someone started drumming. It sounded like a marching band was in the woods. All the horses at the barn took off spinning and snorting in their stalls. I didn't know where my husband was at the time, but knew he should be almost back and was worried Eugene would freak out, especially if they were closer to wherever it was coming from. Apparently, my fears were unfounded. Eugene came marching down the road like it was no big deal.
I was glad to seem them alive and back, but that left the mystery of where the hell the drumming noise was coming from. It sounded like it was coming from across the street, but there's nothing but park over there. And not even any trails, it's just a creek that leads into the reservoir. Well, it turns out some guy had hauled an entire drum set into the creek bed (from where I have no clue) and was playing it out there. Snapchat didn't do a good job of capturing the sound, but it was actually really loud.
WTF? Just WTF. This is probably one of the weirdest things that's ever happened at near our barn. I still don't get it. I guess I never will.