I could probably not have found a better mount for my mother than Coffee. Perhaps I could have found something with more training – it is not ideal to have rider and horse learning at the same time. Admittedly his training has taken far longer than ‘normal’, due to various injuries to him and to me. Still, for temperament and reliability under saddle I could not have done better. And this week was just further proof.
Turnout time has been at a premium recently, with footing being a bit soggy and unreliable. As a result, Coffee has not been able to indulge in as much play time as he prefers. Still, as weather permitted, my mom ventured out for her daily rides. By all reports, Coffee was his usual cooperative self – even staying focused as noisy machinery was run next door.
Today it was my usual time to work on advancing Coffee’s education. As I headed out to the barn, it occurred to me that it had been some time since he’d played. When we entered the arena, he seemed calm but a bit restless. So, with little ado, I decided to let him go – and go he did! Here are just a few pics I managed to snap …
Coffee has a particularly entertaining maneuver that someday I will capture on film. It begins with him prancing up to one of us, snorting and neck arched. He’ll stop about twenty feet out, head high and still snorting, waiting. The signal is a simple “Boo!” and up into the air he goes, doing a 360 revolution in two to three spinning leaps! Then off he’ll go, running again until he’s ready for the ‘game’ again.
There is never any doubt when playtime is over for Coffee.
No amount of encouragement for further play will change Coffee’s mind when he has decided he is done.
Since he had already worked up a bit of a sweat from playtime, I decided to focus on walk work today. He may not be far along by many people’s standards, but he is a delightful horse to ride – light, responsive, and highly maneuverable. It was a lovely, if short, ride.
Today I gained even further appreciation for the little Appaloosa that I brought home for my mom, four and a half years ago. The amount of energy he kept bottled up this week, while providing my mother with lovely calm rides, speaks to a rare temperament, indeed. And a text from my mother, just after one of those rides, further confirmed that this is a great match:
OMG I wish he had been part of my life fifty years ago!
Be good to your horses, and they may just return the favor!