I was lucky enough to have a photographer with me today, so were we go. Saleem and me, back in action after almost a year off.
I know, he is a little off beat in the first picture. That is one of the great things about having someone take pictures. I get to go home and go over us with a magnifying glass. I did suspect that he was hanging on the front a bit, but I have to say, it’s better than I feared, so I am pretty pleased with us for now.
Ablaze helps out at all times, when we ride. Saleem is such a star. So patient.
Time flies. It seems like only yesterday, that Saleem was the little one, following Apollon and me around.
He grew up great. If I may say so myself.
And, wait for it… We found the third gear again! Yeah, we lost that, when we left the bridle behind. Saleem is very gentle and very shy and he was afraid to try and canter, without the bridle. But, he is coming out of his shell now, finding his own, trusting that he doesn’t need the support of the rein.
I do motivate his courage once in a while, with a treat, when he has really applied himself. Like today, when we managed to canter and corner for the first time, without falling back into a trot. He never liked that, but I guess a lot of it was the shoes. He is much more sure footed now that he has been without shoes for a year. We just need to make him believe in it.
Ablaze totally saw that… He doesn’t get treats… He is not sure why Saleem is that special…
But he is. Ablaze becomes pushy and quite a bully if he gets near a treat. Saleem just beams with pride when he gets a treat, knowing, understanding, that he did good.
I’m sorry, I could keep posting pictures of him forever. I am so proud of him, I can hardly get my arms down.
There is something special about luring a horse like Saleem out of his shell, watching him grow.
I won’t have that problem with Ablaze. He is fast forward and sure that he can do nothing wrong. They seem like direct opposites most of the time. I love how good they are together.
And make no mistake. No matter how shy and gentle Saleem is, and how much he ignores when Ablaze pins his ears behind his back, Saleem is in charge. And Ablaze hero worships him.
Side note, because I am a geek when it comes to balance. We may be on the front while we trot, but the canter is balanced. More balanced than it has ever been. I didn’t find a single picture of him where he was offbeat at a canter today. That is something new entirely. Oh, and no headhsaking either… Remember this fella?
Or, even when we weren’t headshaking, we still had our offbeat moments.
We sure have come a long way. Both of us.
I won’t lie, I nearly gave up on riding him. The last year, where I haven’t ridden at all has done both of us good. We are starting over now, leaving everything behind and we have only one thing in mind.
Saleem needs to be happy. Saleem needs to feel on top of the situation at all times. Nothing else matters. And I need to make sure that we do that, without causing damage to his body. Which means that my next job as Saleem’s human, is to fix our balance at a trot, so we won’t injure his front legs over time.
I guess it is never too late to start over. Saleem is turning 9 this year. I am reinventing myself to fit his needs. So far, so good. As hard as it is sometimes, feeling like you don’t measure up to your horse, nothing compares to the feeling you get when something works out.
Like… We can totally canter AND corner now, without the bridle and without any stress induced headshaking… Imagine that…!
I guess I should mention that my book, Surviving the Equestrian World, (Saleem is the cover horse, BTW,) is still available at a discount for the next 17 hours, as an e-book. Link below.
And This Song, my poetry collection, is free to download for a few more hours as well. Link below.
Dedicated to a childhood friend of mine who did not survive the equestrian world.
Miss you. Always. I wish you could have seen us now. I have to imagine that we would make you smile.