Last night, I was given two choices about which horse to ride: Wildchild or Zeb. This was a no brainer.
After tromping out to the pasture to get Zeb, I put him in Harley's stall to get him ready. Because he is mentally unbalanced, he won't just stand in the aisle to get ready. No, sir. He has to be put in a stall, where he is still a handful. He kicks the wall and tries to bite, though he hasn't done that to me lately. In fact, he was pretty mellow while I brushed him down and got him tacked up. Living in the pasture has made him one dirty horse, and after brushing away forever, he was still filthy. Yuck.
Out in the arena, M mentioned that he might be a little lame. He and Wildchild had another altercation, and she kicked him on hind leg. Then he bolted through the fence, again, breaking through the boards. Wildchild is such a witch; she should stop picking on the boys in the pasture.
I hopped on, and the lesson began. He bridled back without a fight, and stepped into a nice trot. He was little lazy, but it might have been because of the heat. I discovered during this lesson that Zeb is a fraidy cat. Going the second way of the ring, he spooked at the sun spots by the back door. But only going the second way. He also nearly jumped out of his skin at a random noise near the back.
I did have a problem transitioning to a walk from the trot, and M told me that I didn't have to bounce when I ask for the walk. I can slow and lower my posting. This never occurred to me, and now I feel kind of stupid about it. I'll have to try it on Sunday.
While I sponged him down in the stall after the lesson, I had two revelations. One is that sweat scrapers make wonderful butt whackers. Zeb kept lifting his back leg to kick, and whacking him with a wet sponge did nothing to dissuade him. Seeing the sweat scraper in the bucket, I held it in the other hand while I sponged him off, and when he lifted his leg again, I smacked him smartly on the butt. I only had to do this once on each side, surprisingly enough. And it's not even that I hit him that hard. Maybe the satisfying whack scared him. It empowered me!
The second is that horses that live outside are dirty. Filthy dirty. As noted at the beginning of the lesson, no amount of brushing would rid the dirt from his hide. Adding spongefuls of water created quite a bit of sweaty mud, which ended up on me when I scraped the foul liquid off. At first I was a little upset because I had on my sleeping bear t-shirt, but I decided that it made such a nice riding shirt that a few mud stains wouldn't matter.