Monday, July 9, 2012

Base Coat Experiment

Today I started my experiment on using a dark acrylic base and pastelling over it.  First, I took the horse I prepped the other day and set up my station.
Horse, dark brown paint, short/flat brush, paper towel on kitchen table.

Next, I put a coat of paint on the horse.  I put a glob of paint on the paper towel to start with, but for the 2nd coat I just worked out of the bottle with the top off for less clean-up.

I held the horse by the tail to paint the bottom, minus the bottom of the feet, then set the horse down and carefully painted the tail without knocking it over.

After one coat.

After the second coat.  

I sprayed it with matte finish.
Next, I took a q-tip and rubbed it on the black pastel.  I followed my picture of a black bay to add darker points.  Our lighting in the house is really bad, so it was hard to tell where I had black, but it looked neat in the living room.  I will do more coats and hopefully it will muscly when I'm done.

And after two more coats on the pastel gang, here is the whole group at the end of today:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Starting to look different

Well, today I got about 3 layers on, I don't know for sure, I didn't keep count.  I watched some videos online last night and found some good tutorials.  I didn't get to watch everything I wanted, but got some ideas to play around with.

I tried using a Q-tip to apply dust today, it seemed to work fine, not sure if it's better or worse than the brush.  I also grabbed a clean make-up applicator to try but I didn't do anything with it yet today.

I also cut the bristles on my brushes a bit shorter in hopes to get more grinding action and less dusting.  It worked great on two of them, one of them wasn't thick enough.  I think I will have to get more brushes.

The other thing i did today was I started prepping another horse.  I want to play with using a dark acrylic base and adding accents on top of it with the pastel.  We'll see what happens, I'm just curious.

Some of the videos and galleries I was looking at mentioned that they used colored pencils on their horses.  I have watercolor pencils and I'm curious if I can use those.  I have to explore that more online, but I'm excited to try some different media and see what happens.

Here is my work station today:
You can see my reference photos and the brushes and colors set out on the left.  I keep them all together with the right photo so I don't accidentally grab the wrong one.  The in the middle, you see my towel work-space, the container lid that I brush over to lose as little dust as possible, the note where I wrote the goal coat for each horse so I don't forget if it's been a few days since working, the case of jars, the tv remote (catch up while you work!), and a horse.  On the right, you see the pastels and the edge of the supply box with a piece of soft t-shirt for buffing in between coats.

Here is a close up of the work-space.  I hold the horse over the lid so excess dust falls into it and can be reused, and I can set the horse on the towel if I need support from underneath to grind dust into the face or a small part like that.  My list is on the left, and I was experimenting with q-tips today.

Here are my horses after today.  It doesn't feel like they're changing, but looking at the photo from last session, I guess they are more colored.  It's just really slow going.  The final base coat color goal for each horse is; top left: black bay with a plan to be a paint in the end, top right: red bay, bottom left: chocolate brown, bottom right: gray with light points.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sucking it up and starting to color!

The other morning, I finished sanding and spraying 5 models, so I have 5 bodies ready to color.  I spent a couple hours getting reference pictures ready.  You need them to see where to put lighter color and darker color so that the muscles look more realistic than the original factory paint.

I got a set of little jars at Joann's to put my pastel powers in.  I use a blade from the exacto knife set to shave powder off and then mix colors to get the right shade for each layer.  I took white labels and wrote what coat color it is for so I remember.  I spread out a cloth to work on.

Tips I've discovered in my first session of working all by myself; wash you hands a lot.  After shaving and mixing each color into a jar, wash your hands before touching the horse you're going to color because somewhere on your hands is a big spot of color that will stick on the horse like a patch of bright colored glue.  Label your jars, label your brushes.  Remember which horse is going to be which color.  They all look similar for a while, when the color is so light.

Here is my work space and the results of coat 1:
 Here is a closer shot of the reference photos and labels jars and brushes.
 Here are the 4 horses I started after one layer of pastel!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Progress Report On Prepping

The new primer seems to be great, if not fast-drying.  I took my three bodies I'm doing at home to Shana's and she said I need to sand more and paint again, but that where I'm at is great, just not done.  She thought my feet were really detailed and well done.

My big revelation was that I need finer sand paper.  I used hers and it worked way better the finest of what I bought to try.  So, now I know what I need!  I also need more pastels.  What I have will work, but I have half as many as she has and it makes it easier to have more and not have to mix.

I will get pictures up soon...I promise...maybe.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My New Adventure: Breyer Horses

   Since I sold both my horses (wow that was fast), but I am not ready to not be a "horse person" (that's just not going to happen), I decided to make an attempt at Model Horses.  Now, I was never a kid who collected Breyers.  Somewhere (still searching for them) I have three Breyers from my youth.  I found out last summer that you can SHOW model horses.  Somehow I had missed that memo.
   I met a lady who shows Breyers and have been learning more about showing them and re-painting them.  She is hosting a show in August and I bought a model in the out of the box classes and I'm working on a few customs to show in the custom classes.  I will document my progress here!

    So far, I have a model I'm working on at Shana's house, the lady helping me learn everything, and three more I'm working on at home.  All of them are Stablemates.

    I collected the tools Shana recommended.  I picked a couple bodies from my box of NOT LSQ Stablemates and then I used an exact-o-knife to scrape off seams, carve out ears, and carve frogs into their teeny-tiny feet.  That nearly gave me carpel tunnel, but the precision and repetitiveness appealed to my perfectionism.

   Next, I sanded the bodies till I couldn't feel seams or knife marks.  Yesterday, I got ready to paint them with the primer.  Disaster!  I used the same paint that I used at Shana's, but the stuff came out in too big of drops instead of a mist, got everywhere, dripped from the can, and dried in tiny bubbles on the horses!  I was soo frustrated!  Only one came out well enough to not start over.  Talk about discouraging!  Norman went to the store to try a different primer and returned with a different brand.

    Today, I sanded the bubbles off the bodies and realized I hadn't gotten frogs carved on one, so I did that. Finally, I was ready to re-primer them.  The new primer covered much better and other than a grass bug landing on the rump of the 2nd one and causing a minor tragedy it seemed to work better.  The downside is that it claims to take 24 hrs to fully dry completely.  But, I got the two bodies re-painted and they're drying.  I think the primer will actually dry much faster on the horses because they're small and the paint doesn't need to be very thick.

   When I get the energy, pictures of the "before" bodies will be up!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Big Day Is Almost Here

Last night Kim and I signed papers on Marigold.  She is going to stay at my place till she's paid off and then probably board here until at least next Spring.

Saturday, Annie and I will trailer Spots to his new facility and settle him in.  Saturday is also his 5th birthday.  I have never owned a horse for more than 5 years.  I thought Spots would be the first one.  Apparently not.  I will own him exactly 5 years, lol.

I have been dealing with knowing this is coming all week.  I'm excited about it because I want her to love him and want him to be a great using horse, and at the same time I am really going to miss him.  Partly because is the last link to his dad, who was my dream-horse, and partly because he is my buddy, and partly because is just such a nice riding horse.  Annie and I plan to settle him in and go eat lunch and mourn.  Then, I am going to buy a Breyer horse.

In addition to selling the horses, I am going to sell most of my tack.  I haven't figured out the best way to list it yet, but I will link to it all here at the very least, if I don't just post it all on the blog.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Curb-Bit Progress

I put a whole ride on Spots by myself last night.  I realized how long it'd been when I got out all the tack and stood there going, "I know I'm forgetting something..."  and then remembered BRUSHES.  And I just went, Wow. It's been a long time since I tacked up the horse, lol.  Usually I get home from work to watch Annie ride him for a bit before she trades me for watching Des and I hope on for 15 minutes.  I am quite spoiled!

Anyway, Spots' feet were chipping because he's been getting ridden a lot and he's about due for a trim, but I couldn't get the farrier out yet so I went and bought a rasp and did the edges myself. He kept looking at me like I clearly didn't know what I was doing.  I had sweat pouring down my face and back.  Luckily his feet were long, just chippy, so I didn't need nippers and it wasn't a difficult job. I haven't rasped hooves in a few years and after the first foot I remembered why I pay someone else to do this!

Next, I tacked up in my Dressage tack and hopped on.  We walk/trot/cantered and he was pretty good.  I could tell a difference between my dressage bit and the western snaffle we've been riding in.  Both are snaffles, but with different mouth types.  After we had done some work on the bit, I switched the bridle to my favorite curb; a 3-piece mouth with jointed shanks.  He'd never worn it before but I had a feeling he would like it better than the grazing curb I had practiced in with him the other day.  We walked off and right away he dropped his head down and walked out nice.  We practiced steering neck-reining and he...did!  He turned off my leg and a couple times got confused and I would just bump him again to reinforce the rein and he would get it and turn.  he stopped nice, backed with his head down, we even went walk/trot/canter.

I held the reins in both hands and worked on bringing up his inside shoulder and asking him to move in and out on the circle.  He was right with me. Then I started asking for canter transitions.  It took us a couple circles to get on the same page, then he started taking the cue right off and we got several nice circles both directions on the correct lead.  If he takes the wrong lead, I can bump him again with my outside leg and he'll switch.  Next, we cantered down the long side and stopped at the fence.  We've never down that before and he wasn't expecting it. I turned him sideways and asked him to lope, then stop at the long-side fence.  Then we walked back to the our circle at the arena entrance.  He wanted to canter more, so we walked and jogged.  We steered around the barrels for awhile.

Lastly, we practiced side-pass, haunch turn, forehand turn, and steering while backing.  It took a little bit to get on the same page with the curb bit, but we got there and he was doing great.

It's pretty cool because we're finally at the place where I can get on him and think, "I want to canter", and we canter.  "I want to move left", we he moves to the left.  I can just get on him and ride.  We can go someplace, and sure I still lunge him if there's commotion, but then I get on and ride.  On our trail-ride I didn't lunge, I just put him around me on the lead-rope a few times and hopped on.

I think he's broke!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Think My Horse Is Broke

Last night I went out at 7:30 pm and put the curb-bit bridle on Spots.  He hasn't worked on it since the last time I wrote about it.  I climbed up bareback and he acted like we do that all the time.  We walked around and worked on steering figure-eights between barrels and stopping and backing.  He's getting the whole neck-reining thing.  We jogged a tiny bit, but I haven't ridden bareback in years, so I didn't let him jog very much.  The dogs were busy eating horse poop around us and he wanted to stick his nose out at them and make them run away.  After we rode around and steered and stopped for a while I just sat on him and tried to take pictures of myself on him.  No one else was there to take one of us.  He stood quietly while I fiddled around and laid on him and put my feet up on his butt.  Such a sweetheart.  He let me give him lots of hugs when I got down.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spots Plays With Ropes

Tonight, Annie put Spots through his gaits, working on neck-reining more.  Then I gave her a rope and she started rubbing Spots with it.  He didn't care at all, so she starting spinning it in the air and then throwing it in front of them.  It makes a little *zing* sound when you throw it out.  He would put his ears forward, but that's it.  Then she started throwing it and asking him to back.  He did that too, no issues.  Then she walked him around, neck-reining from the snaffle and spun the rope in the air.  He acted like it was no big deal.  Quite a nice evening I say!  Here is VIDEO!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Ride In Outdoor at WW Fairgrounds

Last night we threw Spots and Annie's own two boys in the trailer and hauled to the Fairgrounds.  Des sat in his stroller with Annie watching him and she videoed me working Spots.  Myself.  I lunged him both ways, he was great.  He looked around and eyed things, but didn't spook or shy.  I had to remind him to give me an ear a few times, that was all.  As we finished up, a huge 6-horse trailer pulled up and parked right next to the arena.  They unloaded several horses and Spots whinnied a couple times, but was still behaving.  I was super nervous since he'd never been ridden in there before and I was doing it all myself, no putting Annie on first or anything.

I climbed up and we worked on his jog because that is his comfort gait.  He did the slowest jog I've never ridden.  He was listening, halting and going when asked.  Turning off my leg.  We jogged around and around, with me reminding him to listen and not focus on the commotion getting larger around us.  Then I asked him to trot out and we got a good trot going.  We walked, trotted, walked trotted.  I almost chickened out and didn't canter, but then I decided I should trust him and just do it.  We got some awesome canter.  We did several transitions and they got better each time.  On his "hard" side he took the wrong lead, but flying changed when I bumped him with my outside leg.  He did that a couple times, then changed on his own a couple times, then took the correct lead right off.  This is SO exciting because with Dazzle it was such a long, hard battle.  We worked over a year to get her correct lead on her hard side.  His "easy" side he was great, correct lead and went right into the gait.

He is taking the canter when asked much faster now.  He is keeping the gait until I ask him to trot almost every time.  We can do several circles without him breaking gait.  Our transitions are getting better and better.He listens really well and lets me steer even at the canter.  He will move off my legs and listen to my weight cues.  I think he's picked it all up easier than Dazzle.  It seemed like a lot of this took a lot longer and caused me more frustration with her.  He is light on aids and has a better work ethic.  He loves to be there doing something with me.

I rode about 15 minutes, then hopped down and Annie took him back to the trailer and let him stand while she rode one of her horses and I took pictures.  Des watched for a few minutes, but then got bored and started fussing.  I decided not to push it with him because he'd been good for so long while I rode.  We packed up and headed back to the trailer so Annie could get her 2nd horse ready to ride.  I untacked Spots and brushed him and he stood calmly at the trailer.  Des watched.  Then the rest of the group Annie was meeting showed up and Des enjoyed meeting their horses and getting pushed in his new umbrella stroller.  I took him back to the car to get in and he he wouldn't let me pick him up out of the stroller; he pointed at the horses and asked to go back and see them more.  I pushed him back towards the horses and they all headed in to the indoor, so he got a personal parade.  He loved it.  Finally, he let me pack him up and take him home.  When Annie got home, she said Spots has stood calmly at the trailer during the ride and was not sweaty or upset about being left at the trailer at all.  Hopefully that means he is going to be not herd bound.  I hate herd-bound horses.  Such a pain.

Video of us!

Spots has been to the fairgrounds twice before; once last fall at Fair, and he was down in the 4H arena, never went into the covered, and then once earlier this spring at a little show and he was only lunged in it, not ridden.  He was really nervous that day and didn't go in many classes.  He was lunged and walked around a lot.  So this was his first time riding in there, second time being there.  I was thrilled and excited and proud of myself for not chickening out and proud of Spots for being so good and proving his sense once again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spots Goes Double

Thursday night, the kids were over practicing on Marigold for the Jr Show Saturday.  Annie warmed up Spots and I hopped on when I got home.  He was being good, we practicing our halt and he was stopping completely off my seat often and on barely any rein most the time.  He's really getting there.  The kids were tearing around bareback on Marigold having a great time.

We were just hanging out chatting and Spots was falling asleep when Annie came over and said "Hold on" and preceded to haul up behind in onto Spots.  He gave her a look like she was crazy and held still.  We then walked around in circles while I told stories about riding double as a teenager with my cousin, galloping around in the orchards being crazy.  Spots was great!  We'd never ridden him double before and it didn't phase him at all.

At the Jr show, the kids did great with Marigold.  Zach for Overall Reserve Champion for his division and Ash placed many times.  They're going to be tough competition by the end of the summer!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Great Ride With A New Tool

Tuesday evening I got home from town and Annie had just tacked Spots up. She hopped on him and he was paying more attention to the fact that the kids got there and got out Marigold then to her, so she threw the lunge line on him and lunged him a bit. He quickly settled down into his job and I ran and got my rings (running martingale). He has never worn them before and Annie wasn't sure she wanted to try them yet, but I felt like he was ready. I put them on and she lunged him in them. He's used to side-reins, so he was not concerned with the rings at all while lunging.

She hopped on and he was listening to her great this time. He tried popping his head up and diving his nose; the two things we've been working on squelching from his habits. He found to his annoyance, that neither thing is pleasant with rings. They walked in circle and stopped and turned and he tried to fight the rings a few minutes but the beauty of rings if the horse disciplines themselves so you don't have to be getting on their face. He finally stretched his neck way down and we cheered and Annie patted him. It had clicked, and he started dropping his head when he felt the rings.

I asked her to try trotting and she said, "Okay, but I'm not cantering in these". Within about 10 minutes they were cantering in them, getting some of the best transitions and uphill gaits he's ever had. He only took the wrong lead a couple times. Finally she said I had to feel thing and got down and handed me my horse. She went to go get her own.

By this time the kids had Marigold out and were loping her around the arena bareback. Spots was handling that great. I mounted up and started walking circles and moving him with my legs. I was able to just feather a finger on the reins and he'd give to the bit instead of challenging it. At the walk, he stretched down and relaxed. At the trot, his head was much, much more consistent, staying about level, sometimes dropping low. I gave him lots of praise for that. We got the nicest WP jog we've ever gotten. Half the speed of his walk, lead low, so nice. Then we cantered. We went into it easier, and I was able to just squeeze my outside rein and he gave to it and didn't lose his gait or pop a shoulder. We got the correct lead both ways, only got the wrong lead once and he flying changed to the correct one when I bumped him with my outside leg. I was ecstatic. I was squealing and cheering for him and I think the mother of the 4H kids though I was crazy. He took to the rings so quickly and receptively, I'm guessing he'll only be in them a few rides and he'll be able to maintain the consistency of his collection and head position without them. They really encouraged him to stretch and give, and at the canter to be more uphill and decisive in his movements. I had him backing beautifully, head low, weight back. So exciting. Annie was thrilled with the progress and I of course had to remind her she had not been sure about trying them.

Annie brought her horse in and he usually has to be lunged before riding, so she took him to the "B"-"E" circle and lunged him at the canter both directions.  Meanwhile, Marigold and her 4Hers were loping and trotting bareback all over the arena.  I wasn't sure how Spots would handle is all as he's not used to having all that commotion going on, he's usually the only horse in the arena.  He gave them some attention and I said, "Pay attention to me", and feathered my inside rein.  I had to remind him about 3 times and then he didn't forget anymore and we were able to continue trotting and cantering and he didn't get worried about Beau cantering.  I was really proud of him.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Firsts! Lunge-lesson and CANTER!

Yesterday we had a very horsey day. First, I arrived home from town to see a 12 yr old riding SPOTS in a lunge-line lesson. They were jogging around and around in a circle and Spots was completely at ease with this beginner on his back, bouncing and holding onto the horn once in a while. By the end of their lesson, he was balancing much better, his seat was better, he wasn't holding onto the horn. He had a great time on Spots and Spots seemed relaxed and not at all nervous with his new rider. Next, I got on him with my plain-jane curb-bit for a session on neck-reining. We working on turning, stopping, backing, then weaving a line of barrels to put it all together. He still isn't neck-reining 100%, but it's starting to make sense to him. Especially with my leg aids, he usually turns with the neck-reining, sometimes he still gets stuck and I have to direct rein him a moment and then he's on track again. He was in a curb-bit for the first time a couple weeks ago and we just walked and trotted, didn't really work on turning yet. So, really this was his first training session on it. I was really happy with the progress we made. I didn't want to drill him on it, so we did about 10 or 15 minutes and then I switched him back to the snaffle bridle to do something else. After out curb-bit session I worked on cantering. We have only started working on it in last few weeks, so this was the longest cantering session we've ever done. He was able to hold canter for about 4 circles, which is awesome for him. He was cantering closer to when I asked him and staying in it better. We worked on getting the correct lead and I figured out when I quit paying attention to HIM and paid more attention to my body position he was able to get the correct lead. After I figured that out, he started getting the correct lead pretty much every time I asked and if he did take the wrong lead,I could bump him with my outside leg and he would change leads.
I am SOOO sore. Apparently cantering works some different muscles than trotting. I haven't cantered much since having Desmond, and it shows! I hurt all over. But it was SOO much fun. He has such a smooth canter. After we finished riding and let him chill while Annie gave rides to kiddos, I worked on loading in Annie's 2-horse straight load. They had tried to load him in it once last fall, but hadn't really gotten anywhere with it. This time, I did it myself and it was evident how much he has matured since last year. He was calm, and thoughtful, continued to make attempts to step in and we had him loading and unloading easily within 10 minutes. I kept asking him in and backing him out and by the time we finished I could stay outside the trailer, throw the rope over his back, and say "Load up", and he'd load himself. I'm so proud of him! One more skill to add to his growing list!

Monday, April 30, 2012

To Get Caught Up

After my mother-in-law died, I didn't update my blog for several months. We did ride in that time, but I didn't feel like blogging it. So, I will fill you in on what happened between September and when I started blogging again. SEPTEMBER: My birthday happened to be the day of my mom-in-law's accident, but we celebrated the weekend before. Annie did a fantasy photo-shoot with me and Spots the next day, and the accident happened before I did anything with the photos. So here they are:
I have lost more weight since these, so maybe I will get to do another shoot before he sells. I never even cropped them, everything was so crazy. Put that on my to-do list. Next, we went on a around-the-block ride for my Birthday and it was my first time out on Spots. That was the best birthday present. My brother rode my mare and Annie rode Justin, her Morgan gelding.
OCTOBER: In October,Spots attended a Jim Briggs clinic at Red Barn farm with Annie aboard. He did really well considering he'd never been there for before and November was busy and he wasn't getting ridden as much as before. I lunged him out really well and then Annie took him in the arena for their group lesson. He tried hard, behaved well, and everybody was very impressed with my "baby".

Spots First Trail Ride!

I was not sure how it would go on Spots first trail ride. He is young and other than going around the block he's never been out of an arena. He was great around the block, but sometimes woodsy nature is different. For some reason I let Annie talk me into doing this first ride myself instead of riding Marigold and putting her on Spots. I have done many first rides with young horses but not recently. It's probably been 4 years since I did one. I decided maybe this was what I needed to help deal with being stuck in a mom-rut and off we went. First we stopped at Red Barn and Annie had a lesson on her QH gelding, Beau, who is a few weeks older than Spots. Spots spent the lesson tied to the trailer. He was very well behaved. Then we loaded everybody back up and continued on to the lake. I was really nervous, but tried not to let it show. We tacked up and headed off down the trail. I walked him a little ways, more for me than him really. I made sure he was listening to me and not the voices of invisible people we could hear through the trees. He was alert, but listening and paying attention to me. I put him around me in small circles to make sure I had his attention. He was very responsive so I decided to get on. He stood quietly for me to mount. I looked back up the trail and I had only walked him about 20 feet.
We walked along, he wanted to jog a lot and I told him as long as he kept his head level and stayed in an actual jog, he could jog. He liked to be near Beau, but Beau was relaxed and walking out as he's been to the lake a lot. Spots jogs so slow he was getting further behind. If he walked out he would pass him, but jogging he kept falling farther behind. I told him this, but he did not believe me. So we jogged along and Annie just had to stop and wait a few times. I did get him to walk and when he walked out he had a nice ground-covering walk. We came to the reservoir crossing, which today had no water in it, at the same time two teens on bikes joined the scene from another trail. We let the horses watch as they approached and went on and Spots didn't do anything. I asked him to start down the bank to the concrete crossing and he hesitated. Annie brought Beau past us and Spots followed right along without a thought. He sniffed the concrete but walked right across. Up the other bank we went and chose a long winding trail that goes around the outer edge of the public property. I wanted to choose a trail with the least amount of people for the main part of the ride.
We went up and down hills, through the trees, next to fields, by trees full of bumble bees. Some of the trail is very rutted and Spots had to really think about where his feet were going. He got the hang of it pretty well and soon we were jogging along very nicely. On the down hills we worked on shifting his weight back and not rushing. I promised him I knew what I was talking about. It was starting to click by the end of the day. Up hills we worked on not trotting, which he was pretty sure was a silly idea. The outer trail joins up with a busy trail intersection and we met two more bikers and they stopped to talk so we let the horses watch them awhile, then passed them and went on a trail that went through denser trees. Spots was not bothered by that at all. He did not want to walk in mud we found in the trail, but was good about finding a safe way around it. I told him as long as he was heading where I pointed him I didn't care how he got there. We came to a long section of trail that was mud and puddles. I let him think about it. He watched Beau slog through it. I asked him what his plan was. He looked back up the trail we'd come from. He looked at the bushes. He looked at the mud. I said, "Okay buddy, pick your route, we need to get to Beau," and I bumped him and gave him loose rein. I expected him to run me into bushes or at least lunge through the mud. He carefully picked his way along the side of the trail where there was a 4 inch wide non-muddy ledge. He didn't rush at all. It was a little anticlimactic really.
That trail looped back to the busy spot and we took a gravel trail down to a trail that goes near the lake and in some trees. We walked over logs and through branches. By then he was getting pretty good about figuring out where to put his feet and he liked that pretty well. Then we decided to see if he would drink from the lake. There is a nice shore where you can get the horses to the water. Mr. Beau sloshed right into the water and started pawing happily and splashing Annie. Spots watched. I urged him forward. He would get close, but not go in. I urged and let him go to the side, then urged, let him move for a few minutes. It was clear he wasn't going to go in this way, so I hopped down and tossed Annie the lead-rope from his halter. I picked a long thistle and waved it behind Spots. He kept going back and forth, but started inching closer to the water. Finally he put in a foot and we cheered for him and I petted him and he sniffed the water. We let him stand a while, then I asked him to back out the water. Then asked him to go in again. He went back and forth a little, then stepped in. I backed him up again. Asked him in again. We did this about 4 times until he went in pretty easy and had all four feet in. Then I stretched my foot out and just reached the stirrup. He let me be crawl on from the bank. I asked him deeper into the water and he walked in a few feet until he was in up to his belly. We took lots of silly photos of whatever part of the horse we could. The horses watched the boats out in the water. Spots splashed with his nose and pawed and relaxed. We sat there for a long time.
Finally, we realized it must be getting late and climbed back onto land. The last leg of the trail is on a wide ledge trail with rocked on either side and bridge you can't go around. Beau went over the bridge, Spots took a deep breath and followed him over, jogging. I cheered and told him he was very good. We walked through the parking lot patting them and telling them what good boys they are. As we neared the trailer, I asked him to lope and we loped a few strides through the gravel to the trailer. He passed it and was headed back to the trail! I turned him around and we trotted towards the trailer and he passed it again. I decided he must not have had a bad ride or he wouldn't be so willing to head back out there, he would be glued to the trailer.
We brushed them down and took photos of the their cute faces and loaded up and brought them home. They ride very nicely in the trailer together. He and Beau seem to be nice buddies. I was so impressed with Spots, I expected him to startle at something, but he took took everything in stride like it wasn't his first time out. He just believed me when I said he was fine and not to worry. I can't wait to go back, I just need to find another sitter!