I had a friend of mine come out early this morning to work with Red and I, and get an idea of what I was doing wrong, what Red needed to be worked with on, etc. My mother is an incredible rider and amazing horse(wo)men, but we get annoyed with each other…ha. I knew I needed to get someone else that I could work with, and it needed to be someone that understood where I’m at with horses. I’m not planning on showing, that’s not my desire. All 3 trainers we’ve had out have pushed that. I’m not looking to get better and look perfect for shows, I’m looking to get better for myself and my horse. I also needed someone that would see my fears and understand them a bit, and not just assume I’m scared of my horse, or someone that insists on bitting him up. These are all issues I’ve come across, and yeah, they seem trivial and silly…but I really need to be on the same page with whoever I’m working with. She (We’ll call her B) is not a trainer, but she’s a good rider, and a good friend. She knows Red well even though this was the first time she’s ever really met him, because she knows me. And she knows me. She knows I’m just trying to find a way to get us working well again.
Red was a little stubborn with being caught today, if you could even push it to that extent. He saw the halter, trotted off a few steps, I called for him and told him to come, and he walked over like, “Fine, fine, human.” and we put the halter on, fly sprayed, groomed, picked hooves and tacked up. He stood great without being tied. We used her saddle, and also tried a Little S hack. I’ve been trying to find one to pick up and try out, so she let me borrow it until I could buy one/to see if he liked it.
She asked me to ride him around the front of the pasture where he normally acts up a bit to see what our issues are. It’s obvious that his #1 problem is laziness. Barn sour. Whatever you want to call it. Quite honestly…that’s probably his only issue right now. My issue is I’m too soft. Everything about how I ride him is. My hands were way too soft, and while that can be a good thing…my hands were just confusing him. He knows I’m asking him for something, but he really didn’t grasp it and just pushed through me. So my project number 1 was learning how to be firmer. I felt a lot more comfortable with the new hack and felt like I could use my hands more since the shanks weren’t as long as my other one. They worked differently and weren’t jabbing him or bugging him. He never fought the hack at all, and really responded to it.
She also said another issue of his is he’s just stiff. His neck is stiff and he can’t really flex and turn how he should be able to, so we did lots of flexing with his neck. He started wanting to trot to the barn, so we stopped, did some circles (which was a ton easier in this hack.) then walked him to the barn and did more flexing and circles so he knows he’s getting worked at the barn, too.
Once we worked with that some, we moved on to the arena area so she could see him trot a little better. The ground is still sloppy from rain and the other two horses were out, so I didn’t want to do much in there.
He was lazy at first, but we got him going and I used leg pressure more as opposed to just nudging him all the time. About 10 minutes into it, he was trotting off from a standstill with just leg pressure, and stopping quickly with a release of leg pressure. He stops so much quicker in this hack, so I’m appreciating the better brakes. We made quite a few laps at the trot and moved into an extended trot. Next time I ride, we’ll start working on the canter. He did a bit of a jog but we mostly did an extended trot to get him moving a bit quicker.
Red did amazing with everything. We threw a lot of new things at him but he really, really did good and I saw so much progress in him at the end. His turns were better, his stop was better..he was listening so well.
I wasn’t impressed with my riding. Barrel saddles always seem to throw me off, and the stirrups were a bit long, but still…I flopped around a lot, lol. Practice makes perfect. 🙂 For the first time in awhile though, I didn’t want to get off of him. I wanted to keep working and keep riding. I’m so happy with the change I saw in just one ride. Proof that he can be a good boy 😉