It was an absolutely gorgeous day at the ranch today. High 70's with gentle breezes. I was pleasantly stunned when I went to say good morning to Jet that he led me over to the gate and started tugging at a halter someone had tied to the pipe fence. I thought, "For serious?" and untied the halter and held it out to him, figuring I could take him over to my tack shed and switch it out for his regular one. And waddayakno? He stuck his nose right in. Unfortunately the halter was too small, so I had to run back to the shed sans Thoroughbred and by the time I came back, he figured I was gone for the day and went back to eating. But when he saw me come back, he was more than happy to put on his normal halter and just about ran to the gate.
This is NOT the LBI I adopted!!!
We went over to the barn to say hello to Jill, Sally and Mom as well as knock over a few garbage cans (Jet has this thing for turning them over and sticking his hoof in them). Then we met up with Dave, Rookie and Numerous and decided to go for a walk around the property. Tanya, who's leasing an OTTB mare, Reason, who lives in Jet's pasture, also tagged along. Reason is a bit of a grouch and likes to skulk around the pasture with her ears pinned, but with both out of their normal element, they touched noses like old friends and seemed to find comfort that they were embarking on an adventure with familiar faces. Jet's gone on walks with Rookie and Numerous before, so I knew he would be that much more comfortable.
Jet was alert and alive, eager to sniff every molecule in this unfamiliar part of the ranch. I expected him to be on his toes more since we were in newer territory but I couldn't get over how even though he was extra lively, he was NOT a bundle of nerves. He was enthusiastic and COMPLETELY left brain. While he sniffed the trees and the rocks, he was listening to every command I asked. No tension whatsoever in the rope, his ears were on me and he carried his tail in a perfect little curve. I asked for trot and he jogged happily beside me. If he got ahead of me, I'd jiggle the rope just a little and he'd slow right down and get in stride with me again (which couldn't have been easy for him. Try as I might, I just can't stretch my legs as far as he can!). Ever since, images of us riding around the property have danced in my thoughts. Once our communication becomes this strong and in tune in the saddle, he will be a BLAST to take out into the desert.
He was still in great spirits when we returned to the pastures. Deonna and Dave's daughter, Darien, was celebrating her birthday in the Cherry Pie and everyone had gathered for cake. Normally I would have taken Jet back to the Cuckoo's Nest, but he was so interested in sniffing Reason, who had been put in turn-out by herself, I figured let the two of them hang out, especially since neither of them had taken a bite out of the other or ripped any blood-curdling shrieks yet. Tanya and I watched in delight as our two Thoroughbreds raced around the arena like foals, bucking, squealing, racing in circles, playing tag and nuzzling each other. They had a grand old time, and settled down to groom each other's necks. I loved seeing Jet so playful and happy. Later on, back in the pasture, he and I even trotted around and played Tag some more.
Might I add, the last time I was at the ranch before today, Mom and I took Charmin and Jet into the Parelli bushes for some good old fashioned Patterns. Thanks to our initial experience with Jet, which as you all have read included a LOT of trial and error, Charmie is progressing far faster and more fluidly in his Level 1 exposure. He and Mom are really building a great relationship of their own. As for MY boy?? I was getting sick of holding the lead rope, so I decided to noodle around at Liberty again. And that Thoroughbred...he weaved around the cones...he did beautiful figure eights...he did a small circle...he did a big circle...and he went SIDEWAYS. That day, the rope came off, and all that was left was the truth.
And I think the truth is, my horse and I are becoming real partners. I think Jet is starting to truly love being with me.