Ah yes, my favorite thing.
Yesterday, in short, sucked for me. Being cooped up inside all day and having my plans I’ve had for…well, 2 years, honestly, ruined, while also very hormonal, sucks. I decided earlier that day that I’d ride no matter what, even if it was just me sitting on him bareback and walking him for a few minutes. It cooled off pretty well while we were feeding, so I sprayed and groomed him super quick and tacked up. I had just ridden him the other day so I figured he’d be good. He went to walk off when I tried mounting, so I pulled his head into a flex on each side and tried again, and voila, he let me get right on. I’ve discovered a new trick, thank you friend who gives me lessons but isn’t really a trainer, trainer.
I got on, flexed him under saddle once more, and walked off. Not quite as lazy this time, no whip needed, haha. We went back to the front of the pasture because our arena is currently being prepared for the round pen, and he was very good. When we were walking he would randomly shake his head then stop, I looked down and noticed that the wire that holds his shanks together had fallen off, so I rode back to the barn with a very loose rein so my shanks wouldn’t flip and got mom to fix it. We just replaced it with some rope-like material and I went back to the pasture. Once again, he shook his head then stopped, then I realized the chain had flipped over somehow and my shank was upside down on one side. 😛 I dismounted that time, got it fixed up and hopped back on and everything was great. Very good pony to put up with those two things as well as the flies.
We rode for about 35 minutes, did a lot of walking since that’s really what he needs to be doing the most right now. No more fun stuff until he can get over his barn sour attitude after being out of work for so long. At the end he was really impressing me, but I could tell he was really eager to do something else but walk and kept asking to trot. I tested him first, walking him up the road to the barn and he walked slowly back up and behaved himself, so I turned and asked for a slow jog back down the driveway, which he did wonderfully. Turned him again, he went back to a walk, then we jogged back down one more time. Then, we did it again except in a bit of an extended trot. First time I’ve done any work like that in forever, and I was really try to get him to round his back a bit. Considering this was my first time working for this, I was very happy with how he did.
I did let him go into the grass and trot towards the barn area. Last time we did this was the day of my last photoshoot for my birthday, and he was a total idiotic brat. Like, throwing his head in between his legs and completely ignoring my cues. But this time, I was able to loosen my reins and ride up and get him to stop with one small cue, and he walked back to the barn on a loose rein at a slow walk. One small step to being a good boy againn.
I was even able to take photos of him facing the barn on a slight hill (that he LOVES trying to bolt on, lol) after we were trotting. He just stopped, and stood.
I noticed a few things in these photos that I need to work on a bit, so wanted to make a quick to-do list, y’all can point out anything else you all see that’s good or bad! I’d appreciate the feedback!
- My heels actually stayed down 99% of the time, not as far down as I’d like, but that’s a huge step for me.
- I rode confidently and had no fear at all, even when we were going at a faster pace towards the barn, very out of my comfort zone since the whole “bucking” fiasco that lasted for a couple months.
- He’s responding to my “woah” and “turn” cues way quicker, making things much easier.
- No bunny hopping or head shaking! That’s an improvement even from our last ride the other day.
- His trot really is feeling amazing now, and I don’t even have to fight or ask for collection. He’s learning to do these things on his own.
- I’m not leaning way back in the saddle.
The Bad –
- My reins are too tight, hands aren’t in a good position, either. I need to let go of my desire to brace so much now that he’s not even offering to be bad. I used to have the problem of having my reins way too loose and my hands too soft, but now it’s kind of the opposite. I need to let loose a bit, not much, but definitely a bit.
- I need to work on posting with longer stirrups, I lengthened my stirrups finally (they could probably still go down a couple notches but I’m taking it slowly so I don’t get super sore)
which definitely helps with my leg, but I’m not used to them yet.
- My back is way better than it has been, I’ve been working on leaning forward more instead of way back, but I still had a few moments where I wanted to revert back and lean.
- My legs need to be quieter.
All in all, a very productive ride. I’m happy to be back at trot-work with no huge silly moments. I planned on riding again today, but it is literally so humid you can hardly breathe out there. I just got back home from feeding them all and they were soaked with sweat so we hosed them off.
And tomorrow something big is going to happen…a new project of mine whom I’m very excited for y’all to meet…
But more on that later. 😉