Big Steps Forward!

Man, I am over the moon happy with how my horse is coming along. Red is doing wonderful with basically everything I’ve thrown at him, his stubborness is improving a lot now that we’re slowing down and doing some slow work at least twice a weak. I’m talking walk/jog (only a slow, collected jog) working on turns, and just listening properly. And letting him get his crazies out a couple times a week with some trot/canter work in the round pen or doing hill work.

This week has kind of been a slow week as far as riding daily goes – I’ve gotten on him twice, due to just being super busy. I rode on Sunday evening, did some extended trot and some canter just because he was feeling fresh, got that out of his system and made him slow down and do walk/jog. We walked around for about 25 minutes, doing circles, turns and etc. Red has a bad habit with just shutting down and not listening at faster speeds, so I’m trying to get that solved and also work on polishing up some things. Getting him turn quickly and with ease, getting him to stop as soon as I ask, etc. All things a good trail horse should do. As y’all may remember, my horse refuses to back up under saddle. I’ve had my old barn manager get on him, a couple trainers, a couple really good riders that I know, my mother, his old owners and myself have all tried to get him to do it. One trainer blamed it on his arthritis but my vet came out and promptly said, “Um, nope. He has a small amount of arthritis just like any big Quarter Horse, but no way this is effecting him as far as riding goes.” So, knowing he wasn’t in pain and just being stubborn, I started working on it on the ground, and saw a lot of improvement. I hadn’t asked him to do it under saddle for awhile and decided to ask and really push for it, he threw his head once and I got my reins lowered and figured out how he wanted me to ask for it…and he backed up a couple steps. I praised him, patted his neck and let him walk off, and we did it again. And again. And again. Each time I asked for one more step. By the end of the ride, he was happily backing up several steps with ease and with loose reins.

Pats after a good back.

My mom was sitting on the bench and coaching us, and was extremely happy. At the end of the little mini lesson, she just nodded her head and said, “Yep, he’s got this.” and sure enough, he hasn’t refused me one time after this when I ask for him to back up. It’s like a lightbulb went off.

He was still fairly up and I let him jog, working on keeping contact with him and getting him to round up a bit. I’m hunching a bit in these for some reason (I never hunch forward what r u doing body) and it looks like I’m staring straight at the ground but i was actually watching his expressions and his head…I am less than stellar, pony is fabulous. His movement felt really nice, very slow and I feel like it felt more collected than normal. I kept bumping my reins and did loosen them after a few seconds.

I hopped off after this, gave treats (I found carrot spice flavored treats at a local tack store, and oh my gosh, he was in love) and cooled him off.

Pony says “i hate hard work I am eeyore”

He got spoiled on Monday, groomed him and took him for a nice walk. Had the lead rope slung over his back the whole time and he followed me around the whole front area while I snapped a few conformation shots for September and enjoyed the cool weather.

Coming to greet me. Love seeing this every evening!

I’ll share the conformation shots in a separate post.

Mom and I tacked up on Tuesday after we fed, it was getting dusky out but still light enough to see. Her first ride with Red and I since the accident with Zippy so it was good to have her back with us! šŸ™‚ We rode up the road to the little local baptist church and took some photos and let them see their reflections in the big windows..Red was a little obsessed and even nickered at himself, haha. They were super good going up, no spooks even when dogs barked or the FedEx guy stopped for a minute to see them, just perked up ears. They love doing stuff like that.

Red was excited to get that gate open and run free! šŸ˜‰

Then we rode up the road more, very close to where our miniature Cowboy now lives. Next time we ride up there we’ll go a bit further and go see him. There was a lot of grass so the horses were able to stay off of the pavement almost the whole way. We rode to the apple orchard – we’re going to find out who owns it and ask if they would let us ride up through it sometime. Nice open fields that would be fun to ride around in. šŸ˜‰Ā  Red spotted the big pasture and perked up pretty quickly, I think he wanted to run off, lol.

“mom please please please let me gallop”

We headed home and they were very happy to head back to their gate but very good and not too barn sour. Got a bit of jogging in up a couple hills so they worked up a little sweat. šŸ™‚

Going to try and squeeze in a bareback hack tonight on Red, i need to lunge Jubilee soon and get back on her but kind of dread it in this heat…that horse can go and go and go forever and I get tired much easier in this humid weather! Also need to schedule a farrier app. and get our vet out soon for their yearly stuff. Planning a ride for Saturday with our old barn gang! šŸ™‚ It’ll be good to ride with my old buddies again at our ranch!

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