My sister and I scheduled a photoshoot for this weekend since it’s my birthday this week and I wanted to get some done to celebrate, plus it was an excuse to dress up and pose with the pony boy. Admittedly, it started off rough. He walked up to the hay-field fine on a pretty loose rein, then got focused on the super rich and high grass in the field. Our pastures are currently picked down pretty low so he was going crazy over the grass and wanting to graze. I let him take a few bites when we were taking photos up there and I wasn’t on him, but he’s not allowed to eat when I’m riding and he knows that. He was very fresh and barn sour, mostly because Stormie was in the barn and Jubilee was in the round pen so he was away from his girls, plus it was way past dinner time and he knew he wanted to eat. We did a lot of walking in the front pasture and I just tried to ride it out. Mom told me to head up to the arena area and just work him, said I was being silly for being nervous on him because he’s a good horse and I needed to deal with his freshness because that’s what a horse does when he hasn’t been properly worked in awhile, and sent me up for a mini-lesson of sorts.
Mom got on him for a minute just to remind him that he needed to work and not be silly, but honestly, he was over himself once he realized he was in an arena type setting and I was going to make him work. The barn was out of sight, he couldn’t see his girls, and he settled down. I did ask mom to trot him once or twice just to give her opinion on the work we’ve been doing since she hasn’t been on him in months, and probably hasn’t really ridden him in over a year. She absolutely refused to trot him before because it was too rough and botchy, so you can imagine my happiness when she said, “He doesn’t feel like the same horse, he’s getting really smooth.” and I was like YES. I’m always worried I’m just getting used to his trot and it’s not actually getting better, I’m just dealing with it…but seeing him slow to a jog for her without having to force him into it, just her cuing him, it was neat. That’s something I taught him. And that’s pretty cool.
Then, I got on. And he redeemed himself. He definitely got himself over the crazies and worked for me really, really well.We did jogging mostly. I found a few things I need to work on – his neck and his back. He needs to use both a bit more, and I want his neck to thicken up a little. I’m going to pick up another type of hack and see if it helps because after talking to a bit/hack expert/trainer, she told me that the hack we use actually restricts movement and collection a lot
and isn’t doing us any favors and is probably holding us back from big-time collection. So, I’ll try a few different hacks to see if he likes them.
All in all, we got some great photos that I’ll save for other posts, over 170, and Red did good despite the rough start. I know that the arena being up (it’s not finished yet obviously, need to fence and round pen it in, but it’s soft and flat so a nice place to work anyways.) will be our savior this year. A few sessions in the round pen and we’ll be good to go. Plus, we’ll be working a lot more. It’s a lot easier for me to hop on bareback in there and work for awhile than it is to go on the trails. I’m not quite to the point of being comfortable riding alone, and don’t know if I’ll ever be just for safety (I’d prefer not to fall and get hurt and not be able to call for help without someone there.) but in the round pen, I’m a lot more comfortable.