Thursday, September 22, 2011

Diary of Dexter: An Afternoon Ride

Photo: Terri Cage
Diary of Dexter is a series within Past the Grandstand about my retired racehorse, Wet Paint (AKA Dexter). Periodically, the blog will feature updates on the grandson of Storm Cat. You will really grow to love this wonderful horse.

As the afternoon sun inched closer to the horizon, I led Dexter into the round pen, beginning to longe him. Unfortunately, it was most definitely not the best session we've had on a longe line. Dexter, though seeming lackadaisical before we went into the round pen, unleashed his pent-up energy while on the end of the longeline.
However, once I got in the saddle, Dexter was a different horse. After a few bending exercises, we tried side passing, which we have done a few times. He side passed to the left, but he had issues going to the right. After a few minutes, he side passed to the right a few steps and I decided to leave it on a good note.
Afterwards, I allowed him to walk a few laps around the round pen before I urged him into a jog. He performed beautifully and after a while, I decided it was time to lope. Since he usually has issues with his right lead but no problems with his left lead, I asked him for his left lead first. The oddest thing happened. He picked up his right lead.
Being the willing horse he is, the incorrect lead was quickly corrected. After loping on the left lead for a while, I gave him a little breather before asking for the right lead. For what I believe was the first time ever, he picked up the right lead at first asking.
He’d deserved a nice walk. I then cooled him off, allowing him to walk leisurely around the pasture while I was in the saddle. It had been a good ride. After I had dismounted and untacked him, I hosed him down with the water hose to further cool him off.  He relaxed for the rest of the evening and was especially eager when it was dinner time.

It is amazing how well racehorses can do in their second careers. Regardless of how well he does when I ride him, I’ll always be proud of my grandson of Storm Cat.

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