Destinee’s Big Test

Most of your remember that my filly/mare turned three this April! And shortly before she injured her leg, boo. I had started training her under saddle before the injury but not very intensely and the injury prompted 3 months off. Well, Miss Munchkin #1 (from this post) and I discussed her getting lessons at my barn but we wanted to make sure she was serious about it before asking her parents to invest. So being the overconfident horse owner I can be – I suggested her first few lessons be on Des! Munchkin got very excited and I started to get nervous.

So Des and I ‘got to work’ or…. we started lightly training or…. no, lightly training is a good description.

First up was getting Des comfortable cantering on line with a saddle. Check. Well, at least in one direction.

Second was me getting back on and seeing how much she remembered from March/early April. Check! She remembered remarkably well.

Third was…. putting Munchkin on and praying everything would go well. The day came. I arrived and got the tack out. Munchkin and family arrived, helmet was fitted, tennis shoes put on. Des seemed to recognize the smallness and sweetness in her visitor and was very good for the brushing/fly spraying.

Then Munchkin’s little brother came in from the car. With a helmet on. Saying ‘I just want to ride ONE horse.’

Now – he’s a very good boy. Just very energetic and loud. That freaked Des out a bit and she became uneasy and jittery during saddling.  Trying to kill time until Dad arrived for little brother (and hopefully returning Destinee to her proper frame of mind) I had Munchkin and I do some leading practice and we talked about safety. Then I put Des through her paces (in her good direction) on line as warm up and to see how she was feeling. Little brother left, Des settled right back down and up Munchkin went!

Destinee’s reaction was almost immediate – she threw her head up and backed up 4 steps rather quickly, then craned her neck to smell Munchkin’s shoe. Her head dropped right down to my hand and she became THE best 3 year old, EVER. Munchkin got to practice finding her balance point, dropping her heels, looking up, steering and backing up. While Destinee did mostly just follow my directions, she was very aware of her precious cargo and acted accordingly. I even did the unthinkable and stuck a hula-hoop on her head – no reaction. Just EXTREMELY careful walking and a big sigh of relief when I pulled it off. With the late start to our ‘maybe 30 min.’ lesson it turned into…. 1 hour and 15 minutes. Granted – this included, grooming, tacking, on line warm, riding, untacking and treat consumption. But still – extra kudos to the mare.

I don’t know that there has ever been a prouder equine mom (though there have undoubtably been greater equine achievements). I know I’m getting ahead of myself but I see a shining 4H career ahead of these girls! Just have to be sure Destinee doesn’t start to like her better! (kidding).

Want video proof? Here it is! 

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