Saturday, December 31, 2011

Diary of Dexter: A December Day

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.

Photo: Terri Cage
Much of this December has been full of cold, dreary days emphasized by cloudy skies, fog, pouring rain, and annoying drizzle. However, in the past couple of days, the sun has lit up the bright blue sky, leaving the temperatures in the mid-60s. That is what I call perfect riding weather.
The problem is, the weather has been damp quite a bit lately, which left the ground muddy for quite some time. Therefore, I did not get to ride as often as I wanted to. Yet, in these last few days of December, the ground has been ideal for riding, as has the weather.
Dexter had not been ridden in much too long. So when I saddled him in a Western saddle, I didn’t know what to expect. I led him out to the round pen, beginning to longe him. He behaved beautifully and soon I swung myself into the saddle.
“Good to be back,” I murmured to Dexter, leaning forward and petting his neck.
After some bending exercises and walking, I urged Dexter into a jog. He trotted along energetically, responding to my cues. After several laps around the round pen at a jog, I asked Dexter for a lope.
Since it had been so long since I’d last ridden him, I wasn’t sure if he would get his leads right. Yet he picked up the correct lead in each direction on the first try. As always, loping him brought a smile to my face.
Meanwhile, my mom was riding my mare and Dexter’s best friend, Pebbles, in the riding area outside of the round pen. I rode Dexter out of the pen to meet her and we rode around leisurely, doing some exercises to help Dexter remember that he didn’t always have to be in front of the other horse. He caught on quickly, behaving beautifully despite the clanging of someone building a fence nearby.
Just before we dismounted, I mentioned to my mom that three of the last four horses I have ridden have been Thoroughbreds, which is abnormal since I normally ride Quarter Horses, as I show them in 4-H. In fact, two of the past Thoroughbreds I have ridden were horses with touching stories that won over half-a-million dollars: Lights on Broadway and King of Speed.
Dexter only managed to win $32,851, but like Lights and King, Dexter is incredibly intelligent. I admire off-the-track Thoroughbreds greatly, especially because of their breathtaking intellect, and to have my own is an opportunity I have always dreamed of. Now I’m living the dream. Thank you, Dexter and thank you, Remember Me Rescue for my wonderful boy.

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