While I thought of discussing the tale of 2 rides (Tuesday’s lesson and my ride on Wednesday), I don’t want to minimize the success that was my lesson on Tuesday but dwelling on the demoralizing disaster that Wednesday’s ride was. So, with that, let me talk about my lesson on Tuesday.
You guys, Nay Nay was phenomenal. I don’t even get it. Maybe I grabbed a different horse (who? No idea), but he didn’t put one hoof out of line the entire time we were at the barn. He exceeded expectations.
Normally, Nay Nay lives up to his name and, er, is a bit… vocal. He’s a screamer. He didn’t scream once. Not before I got on, not while I was on, not after we were finished, not on the trailer. He was a gem.
We rode outside. We weren’t alone. In fact, I started freaking out because what started with one horse eventually became 5 horses (including Nay Nay). And… it didn’t matter. We trotted. He was slow (not lethargic), just relaxed and happy. Putting out just enough trot. We made circles and explored the ring and took everything in. And you know? It was all good.
While we were trotting, one of the horses started cantering and eventually popping over some fences. This is when my nerves got to me. I haven’t cantered with another horse before. Been in the ring? Yes. Trotted some (sticking to one end)? Yes, cantered while they were cantering? Nope. I had expressed fears at the beginning and was told we’d addressed this today. I was later told, don’t invent potential problems, ride what you have now.
So, when asked, I picked up the canter. Did Nay Nay care? No. I did ask that no one run me over (or run up his butt), but some of that is PTSD from Subi because he cared and I did get bucked off (at a show of all things) from a horse running up our butt (into our butt) so… Lol. Nay Nay never changed his pace. He didn’t care. Life was good.
Both leads were the same. Even when a horse came cantering towards him nothing mattered. Seriously. I cannot explain how amazing he was.
We moved on and trotted the same little fence from my last post. We trotted it from both turns heading into the corner and he happily jumped over, cantering out. From there? We cantered over it, picking our canter up in the corner and cantering the long ride to it. And he was perfect. Life was good. He was very proud of himself.
Without going into details about Wednesday’s ride, I will say he wasn’t bad (though he did try and roll before I got on and while I was on at the end of the ride). He just had energy. A lot of energy considering it was 90 degrees and blazing hot. I rode Wednesday at the request of my trainer to test something out. He wasn’t mentally upset, but he had energy. I’m pretty sure that nothing I could have done would have tired him out. He also has had energy many of the last several rides (with the random exception of Tuesday). I’ve lunged him several times.
We trotted, he wanted to canter. At one point I just let him canter, but I can’t say it helped. I didn’t feel like I had brakes. I don’t like that feeling. I got to the point that I felt like we could walk calmly, stand calmy, and did a bit of trotting (after we walked and trotted and randomly cantered) and called it a day. He was done at that point (and hot and wanted to roll or canter) even though he had energy. I was done. And it was time to stop. I signed up for a lesson on Friday hoping that I have the Wednesday horse vs the Tuesday horse so my trainer can walk me through riding the Wednesday horse because I can ride the Tuesday horse without issue (though the Tuesday horse is much more fun).
This morning, it came to me that I might be feeding him too much alfalfa. Nay Nay isn’t being bad, but he has had so much energy (and isn’t being bad about it, but he probably doesn’t need all that protein for the amount of work he’s doing right now). He’s put weight on really fast once we cut the grain and his body stopped fighting his feed. But, perhaps he doesn’t need as many pounds of alfalfa right now. That’s a lot of freaking protein… When I start to calculate the amount of alfalfa forage he’s eating, it’s a little much. I might have created my own problem here without realizing it. I was so worried about his weight that… Oops.
So my thoughts are to replace his alfalfa pellets with alfalfa timothy pellets. Or, I could replace half the alfalfa pellets with orchard grass pellets. He does get a flake of alfalfa hay each night that’s about 5-7lbs (I should weigh it, but it’s super dense and flakey and…) plus orchard alfalfa hay because that’s all he’ll eat.
In terms of pellets:
- Alfalfa pellets are min 16% protein
- Alfalfa-Timothy pellets are min. 12% protein
- Orchard grass pellets are 8% protein
- Timothy grass pellets are 8% protein
So yeah. That’s where I’m at. Open to all suggestions. I just calculated how many pounds of alfalfa he’s eating and… I’m not sharing the number. Tuesday he didn’t finish his dinner on Monday night or Tuesday morning. Just saying.