I arrived at the barn an hour early, thank goodness, because Gigi and Jennie were already there and Heather got there about 5 minutes after I did. Conspiracy to ride without me FAIL! Hahaha. As usual, there was much activity going on, what with all the running-around-screaming children, turned-out horses, in-session riding lesson, etc. In the washrack, Salem was being his usual lookie-loo self.
The big bloke is just very, very interested in everything that's going on around him. He rarely spooks, but he does love to pretend he's a meer-kat and turn his head every which way to take everything in.
Once I got on, we walked around with the rest of the group -- Heather on Sid, Jennie on Pirate, and Gigi on Bonnie -- and Salem, ever the social butterfly, kept trying to sidle up to each horse and invade their personal space. He's just a big, social baby and is very much a, "Hey! I'm Wingman! I mean, um...Salem! I'm from Ocala! Let's be friends!" kinda guy. Too cute! Sometimes, though, the other horses don't quite agree that it's cute.
Other than a bit of rubber-necking, Salem was such a good boy. Gone was the too-forward, bucking freight train of yesterday. He was quiet, soft, and relaxed. At one point when we were cantering, I took my leg off and he broke to the trot. I was like, "Oh, you mean I have to actually use leg today, Horse?"
Yes, Salem still has a lot of work to do; he's a bit of a wiggle worm and does what Gigi calls The Snake, where he kind of weaves around like he's had a few too many vodka shooters. He also needs to use his back-end more, get a better steering wheel, round his back up, stretch down into contact, etc., but he is doing very well, if I do say so myself. Even Elaine, the trainer who was giving one of the little girls a lesson while we were riding, said she thought he was very cute.
Afterwards, we all played musical horses (well, other than Jennie, who had gotten off early due to Pirate's lack of forward-ness). I ended up on Bonnie, Gigi was on Sid, and Heather was on Salem. Heather said she really, really liked Salem and could tell that he tries very hard to please his rider. They looked cute! She also helped me while I was riding -- she always catches my mistakes! I tend to drop my outside hand too low and use too much inside rein. I also round my shoulders, but I am convinced it's because I carry the Hunchback Gene (hey, ya never know...).
As per our post-ride ritual, Salem got a nice cool shower and a very long drink out of the hose (which he adores)...
...and was tucked into bed. I love how much this horse loves to work! He's willing and eager and really appreciates all of the attention he receives. I usually spend about three to four hours with him each day and he eagerly laps it up like a puppy. Best attitude ever!