We had a little break in the weather this afternoon, it made it into the upper 20's, the wind stopped blowing and the sun actually came out (sort of). That's about as good as it gets in NY in January, so I took Gabe out to the round-pen for a little work. You have probably been thinking that I haven't been paying much attention to him since he got here, but that isn't entirely true. It is true that I haven't been able to put the time into him that he needs, but I do have a plan and we are working toward it. I knew form the start that I don't have the time or the desire to really work a green horse. Luckily, there is a wonderful trainer less than 10 miles from my house who is going to take Gabe for a month starting April 1st. Anything I can manage before then will be icing on the cake.
Since I know Gabe is going to be getting the training he needs, I have had the luxury of taking my time getting to know him and watching my little herd adjust to his addition. It has also left me able to focus on Emma, as I think she needs me more right now then Gabe does. Since he got here, Tessa is spending more and more of her time with him rather than with Emma and I think Emma is feeling somewhat lonely. I had been thinking that I would find another donkey to be with Emma because I think it is important for donkeys to have other donkeys around, but then I found out she is pregnant. I still think Emma would be happier if she had a donkey friend, but I am not so sure now is the right time for that (even if I could find one). There are also limits to what I can manage, both emotionally and financially, my resources only stretch so far.
Fortunately, Gabe is actually very solid under saddle already, in a pack-horse sort of way. He has a lot of miles on him, but he always just followed his herd-mates. The teenage boys who rode him all over were inexperienced themselves so they didn't know how to teach him the finer points of riding. Still, they did a good job of getting him started. What this means is that Gabe will go anywhere and through anything as long as there is someone in front to direct him. He is traffic safe, crosses bridges, water, trailers, etc. He just doesn't know that his rider is actually supposed to be calling the shots.
This is a picture of him in the local Halloween parade last October...
The trainer I am sending him to does an incredible job with young horses. He worked with Tessa last year and I was thrilled with the results. He only takes a couple of horses at a time and he rides
them. He takes them out six days a week for 2-3 hours a day and rides through the woods, into town, down the road and anywhere else he can think of. The horse comes home fit, tired and very well trained. And, he does all of this at a very reasonable price, what more could I ask for. A horse like Gabe, who already has a good foundation, along with a good brain and sweet disposition, will come home a wonderful trail horse. Exactly what I want.