Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Year With Guinness

On November 21, Guinness and I celebrated our first year together!

This past year has been a very busy one for him. He has grown approximately 1 inch to about 14. 3 hh. He has gained 95 or so pounds and now weighs roughly 770 lbs. (In contrast, Smokey weighs around 900, Cody weighs over 1000 lbs.) Dr. Lamb gave him a "perfect 5" body condition score when she administered fall shots the other day.

Here is a current photo of him standing tied, watching the horse girls playing in the roundpen. Note that he is wearing a bit/bridle and standing quietly. Soon after this photo was taken, he got himself loose and tiptoed up behind us to join the fun.

In comparison, here is a photo of him taken last winter. I think that now his forehand and topline look much more substantial. And his main is noticeably longer. ;-)

Milestones reached during this past year together include:
  • 11/21/08: His first long-distance trip in a trailer, first blanket
  • 3/7: First trip to a friend's farm
  • 5/1: First bath
  • 6/13: First trail obstacle competition
  • 7/4: First parade
  • 7/20: First time mounted
  • 8/15: First ride
  • 8/17: First visit to Fair
  • 9/1: First ponied
  • 9/7: First mounted playdate
  • 9/14: First solo trail walk
  • 11/2: First ride with saddle
  • 11/15: First trail "ride" (10 minutes max.)
It has been a very eventful 12 months - especially considering that I only get to play with him once or twice per week (excluding fussing with him at feeding time).

Next year, we are planning to participate in two clinics: one with Kelly Sigler at the end of April, and another with Carol Coppinger in mid-May. In preparation for these clinics, in January & February I'll be practicing walk-trot-canter at a nearby riding stable (in a lovely covered arena). I'm also planning to take advantage of 1-star instructor Alyssa Elliot's on-line tutelage, and Sierra's "body centered riding" expertise.

My goals for Guinness & I for 2010 include:
  • walk-trot-gait-canter calmly under saddle
  • official Rocky Mountain Horse "Certification"
  • two Parelli Natural Horsemanship clinics in the spring
  • official Level 2 PNH assessment (online & freestyle)
  • riding in the July 4th parade
  • competing in the local fair (halter & trail class)
  • light trail riding
I have to share one recent story about Guinea-pig. The other day, I was handling him with a halter/lead, as my husband worked with the tractor in the paddock. At one point, my husband asked me to open the metal gate. As I did, I managed to push the gate into the electric fence just as I was stroking Guinness on the nose. A big shock traveled through my body, down my arm, and into his face! Guinness stared hard into my eyes as if asking, "What was that?!" I gave a snort (to let him know that I felt it too) and then a sigh (to let him know that it was ok). He lowered his head and acted as if nothing had happened. No sign of fear or nervousness in that spot since. I think that the development of our relationship is the most important thing that we've done together this year.

This last photo is of Guinness on the day that I first met him. :-)

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