Brats

Brats. Both of them. Each in their own way.
Aside from finishing out the show season with Spike, not much has happened with both boys over the last few months, but that is about to change...
We've just completed our new riding arena here at Sweet Grass Farm, and except for putting down some calcium as a dust suppressant, it's finished and in full use. While it has been a three-month distraction from regular routines, it will be a bright refuge through the winter.
Jake, being two-and-a-half years old, thinks he knows everything. He hasn't had as much work as I'd like because I don't like to work him when I'm here alone. I think I've found a way to work around this though and so far, so good. I carry my cell phone, work him late in the day when I know Harry will be home soon, and I take him to the arena with one of his buddies for company. I can park the second horse in a steel-panel pen at the end of the arena or tie it to the wall while I work with Jake, or if it's Cody I can just leave him stand in a corner. Standing is something Cody does well, in fact, it's his best gait.
So Jake is ground driving to a rubber bit, walk and trot, circles and straight and serpentines. He's a quick study and when I ask him to work he's all business. I'm looking for bend and a rhythmic gait while he learns to balance front-to-back and side-to-side, working softly between my hands as opposed to bouncing back and forth like a drunken cowboy. The plan is to reach a level of competence with the ground driving, get used to the routine of using the arena, and then work him with the saddle on until things like standing at the mounting block and responding to word commands are second nature. I've sat on him once.  Actually I got on him 5 or 6 times off some straw bales and there was no issue. He's too young to want to 'ride' yet but he can become familiar with the routine and if I'm inspired at some point I may get Harry to pony us around a bit off Cody or something. No pressure. I want Jake to have a long career and their hocks don't close until the age of four, so that's when I will expect him to start any serious training under saddle. 
Meanwhile I'm expecting Jake to start shedding teeth very soon and I'll be watching for that. His middle incisors and first pre-molars should shed anytime.
As for Spike, he's grown 2 inches since I last checked in, standing at 15.1HH now at 18 months old. Show season is finished for 2013 with 8 shows under his belt, winning Ontario Pinto Grand Champion All Ages Stallion/Gelding, Reserve Champion Junior Horse, and Reserve Champion Overall Halter Horse for the year. His mother beat him there to take the Overall High Point Halter trophy for 2013 while earning her Pinto ROE in halter. Spike ended up earning his Pinto ROM in halter (44 points) under 9 judges and earned halter and colour points with APHA as well, under another 9 judges, winning a Reserve Champion placing at one show against some pretty hefty older Paints. 
Spike will now take a breather. He has been an absolute doll and a pleasure to be around, clipping, bathing, trailering and hanging out at the shows. Our only bad habit is that he wiggles when the judge comes near. We're working on that! Now his idea of being a brat is chewing on anything that comes near his mouth - my coat, the wheelbarrow - always there to help. He follows me all over the yard, making it impossible to get chores done. Other than that, the boy wonder can do no wrong. We are truly blessed to have him in our herd. He will now have a well-deserved winter off.

 

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