A blog of the ramblings, thoughts and memories of a 50-something former trainer and riding instructor.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Cricket at Boot Camp
I took Cricket to 'Boot Camp' this weekend. By Boot Camp, I mean a month or so with a friend who enjoys schooling my spare horse 'du jour'. She gets to play with a horse without the full time ownership hassle, I get free top notch schooling. Win-win for us, often the horses aren't as enthused. They get handled daily, ridden 4-5 times a week, and challenged to learn new things. We all know horses generally prefer to stand around and eat. The barn is a small community barn, 2 other horses, so mine usually get individual turnout. This is Cricket in the ring/paddock. She can see the other two horses, and the barn, but is separated and gets fed in the same paddock.
In the past I have sent over TB, Drafts, Crosses, QH, a variety of horses who have all taken it fairly well in stride. But Cricket is the first Morgan to come to the barn. On the trip over there, I got the first inkling this may be an interesting time for my friend. I have a 3 horse slant load, which Cricket had ridden in 3 times before, and loaded in happily (after a few cookie bribes). I had a full hay net tied up and knotted which she immediately started munching on. All is fine until as I am going down the hwy, I look in the side mirror, and see Cricket's head sticking out the side window of the trailer! I pull over and open the escape door to see what was going on. She had untied the hay bag, and it was kicked to the back of the trailer. She was untied (no biggie, it was a quick release), and she had somehow released the latch on the window grating to open it. I latched the window grate back, left everything else like it was an went on my way..quickly!
I get to the barn, and she unloaded perfectly, and since I was worried she was spooked about the trailer ride, I loaded her back up. No hesitation at all. I put her in the paddock, showed her the hay and water, then turned her loose. She checked out the ring, jumps, the horses over the fence, then started on the hay. No fuss at all. But, I saw the 'gate' they had for the paddock was 3 chains clipped across the opening. More than enough for the other horses I had brought, but I had my doubts about Cricket. I left her new safety halter on, just in case..
All was fine until the next day. After breakfast, the owner of one of the other horses was cleaning stalls in the barn, and felt a soft touch on her back. She turned around to see Cricket standing there, ears up, wondering what she was doing and could she help? She had simply stepped through the chains, and walked down to the barn where the humans were. She put Cricket back, and Cricket went back to her hay. But later in the day Cricket got out again, and then got in with the other two horses! She had made instant friend with one, who was protecting her against the more aggressive other horse. They have now made an intricate weaving with chains, ropes and some pcv pipe to keep her in the paddock. Personally, I'm betting on Cricket. She is smarter. But then she is a Morgan.
Oh and Boot Camp? Cricket is a star. She is doing well in her ring work, and on only her third time being ridden on trails, she went out alone for the first time without any hesitation. She is relishing any work she gets. Very bold and forward, but always willing to stop.
I named her Cricket when I first brought her home. She was small, black, and bouncing around the pasture hopping ditches, just like those little black crickets you get in the house. Now I know its her true name, because have you ever tried to catch, or keep out those crickets? They will get in where they want to be no matter what you do.