Whew, a long and full day today! So today was the day that I was enlisted to help Rodrigo, another rider at the ranch, with the young horses. These are two year old fillies and three year old studs that have just recently been started — eleven young horses all together that Rodrigo has to lunge and ride in a morning, as well as find time to ride his own mare!
It’s clear why some help is needed. My basic duty was to fetch a horse, lunge him or her, and Rodrigo would meet me in the ring to back and then ride the horse while I lunged it.
Once the horse was going nicely and had settled, I unclipped the line so he could ride on his own and went to fetch the next horse. By the time he was done riding the first, I’d have the second going on the lunge… and so on, and so on. It was a really interesting day. There is literally so much to learn about handling very young horses. Rodrigo helped a lot by directing me in the routine that the young horses had become accustomed to – and insofar as I could understand his Spanish instructions, I did my best to follow them!
All of the babies were quite well behaved today, especially considering that they’d just had four days off in cool weather and it was their first day back to work. I came away with a real appreciation for people who work with young horses, and a greater sense of how to carry myself and anticipate how youngsters will react. Confidence is key, but not roughness or brashness; things that older horses are nonchalant about, like tugging forward on a line or approaching a head, will spook and frighten a nervous baby. The answer to all things seemed to be a strong voice, direct guidance and a send-them-forward attitude.
After the morning with the young horses I quickly rode Justinian before lunch. The whole afternoon til about seven PM was filled with jump painting, since the course needs to dry and set up for later this week, when the boss, Martin plans to school his Series horses over it before the show. I must say, these fences are looking mighty sharp! To fill the lulls during painting, we discussed the difference between Mexican Spanish and Argentine Spanish, with questions confirmed by one of the grooms. I was surprised to hear that the choice Mexican Spanish swear words I’ve become accustomed to don’t exist down here!