Monday, 25 April 2011

Meeting Merlin

Some of you may recall my post on a chance encounter with a colleague with a horse who needed some extra exercise. Well brave girl I am,  as today was my iniation into Merlin's world....I went and met him and took him for a stroll to see how we got on with a view to maybe a wee routine of taking him on my own, provided we bond!

Meet Merlin - he is completely black, not a spot or anything

He is a big boy, Irish Draught Sports, Ali thinks....he has an Irish chip in one ear and a Dutch one in the other, so he has perhaps travelled, but descent and history all a bit of a mystery. He is around 10 years old, although had a couple of years out with a broken foot, so he thinks he is younger!

He caught first time, no trouble there, and stood nicely for grooming, only threatening a couple of nibbles, and then he seemed to get over it. Saddle on fine, Ali did the bridle to show me how he likes his ears done - right first it seems - and then we walked him up the the local riding school to try out his new rider.

Mind the ears, right then left please....
We didn't manage very long. He spooked at the dog and did a nice 'shoulder drop swerve' manoeuvre but we sat. Then as I worked him at trot I quickly realised that he felt really off balance. He felt really odd, his pace was almost as if he was picking up canter but he was still in trot and his left shoulder kept dropping. I said to Ali he was going to take a little getting used to and asked did he look lame?

Thinking it was maybe just me - you know wonky riders can make for wonky horses, we swapped around. He looked to be moving better, but Ali could feel the same as me like he was dropping his left shoulder....we felt his leg a little warm and concluded a lameness problem from last month hadn't really passed fully.

So we eased off on the school work and took him for a walk so I could get to know how he was on the roads which were very quiet and single track. All good, I think, took me a while to relax completely. When he spooks he stops completely and if you nudge him on he goes backward....oh crikey, thinks I, next he is going to whirl around and bolt for home. Ali re-assures that its not his style.

We walked him around a route that Ali said is about an hour of walk and trot work, had a cup of tea and watched him eat his feed, pawing the ground as he did, no interference please!

Back to the field with Pebbles....
Ali turned him out at the end of the day, no rug, into the field with Pebbles the three year old mare and another couple who I can't remember the name of. I am rubbish with names, so for future reference: Ali's friends are Gillian and Emma (who lives next door) Ian, Rusty the terrier and Ben the Golden Retriever....there, I shall be able to check back when my memory fails me, as it so reliably does!

Next stop for us is a meet up next week to meet the riding instructor at the local school and another walk out, and if all goes well, we bond and my nerves hold out, then I may just have found a new friend.


  1. Well, he's beautiful.....but then I have a soft spot for big black horses! ;-) Hope it works out. My fingers and toes are crossed for you!

  2. Thanks...he reminded me of yours, only blacker still. Keep them crossed!