Martini and I go way back. I’ve been riding him over a year now. In the past year, Martini has been a steady man under saddle. He’s well trained and will always take care of his rider. Despite his incredible talent and willingness when riding, his manners while grooming and tacking – well let’s just say, he can be super cranky.
What we’ve discovered is that Martini doesn’t like it when the barn is super busy, or loud. He doesn’t like to have multiple people groom him at once. He’s not a fan of high energy adults or children.
Tonight while he was being groomed by my trainer, I stood next to the gentle giant and sang to him. Let me preface this – I can’t sing. I can play the clarinet but can’t sing a single note in tune. My song of choice – one that I sing when I’m riding when I’m nervous. But, I make up different lyrics every time I sing it to him. Tonight, he exhaled, he relaxed and he even chuckled when I told him I don’t since like Madonna 😂😂.
Our lesson went very well tonight. But what stands out to me was not the dressage test I worked on, but, being there for Martini.
Martini spooked for the first time with me, and I didn’t panic – instead I calmly stopped him, told him it was ok, and gave him lots of reassuring pats. I’m not really sure what it was that spooked him, but, like Alfie, it was a few choppy movements, a lurch forward and a head toss. Once we were stopped and I told my trainer what happened, I put my hand on his neck and instantly his body relaxed. For me, this was a special moment between us. It was the first time he needed me.❤️
When our lesson was done, I brought him into the grooming stall. While I was un-tacking him, again, I sang to him. I gave him some peppermints, lots of kisses and hugs. When it was time to put his blanket on, his crankiness started to set in – he could hear the grain buckets getting prepped for dinner. I explained to him, we always dress for dinner – he must wear his blanket 😂. Yes, I’m well aware he wasn’t understanding a word I said, but he did love being talked to, comforted and petted.
I think this picture below sums up how much we do adore each other. When it’s quiet and calm in the barn, Martini does let his guard down, and his goofy personality shines.❤️🐴