I rode again yesterday. My nephew asked if he could ride Red again before his lesson on Monday and I happily obliged, I love the idea of kids riding Red and keeping him sane enough for children, as long as the kids don’t have bad habits and will listen. We fed, groomed Red, picked hooves and tacked up and I walked Red to the round pen, hopped on for about 20 minutes, did 10 minutes of walk/jog and then moved onto some extended trot and canter work. Red has been ridden quite a lot in the last few weeks but hasn’t really been asked to do a ton of work faster than a jog for longer than 10 minutes. Last time I cantered him, his attitude got in my way, but I decided that there’s no reason to hold back, and he behaved wonderfully. At first he wanted to turn too quickly and not follow the fenceline like I asked him to, but a couple of circles fixed that and he was going well.
I brought my camera out to get some shots of A on Red for his mother to see since she was home with her other 4 kids and I managed to get my mom to get a few photos of Red and I. I don’t get the chance to have anyone take nice quality photos of Red and I riding often so super happy to have some decent shots from a good ride.
I worked on some backing and turns, made sure he was warmed up and ready to go for A, and let A hop on. I remembered to bring the mounting block this time and A was able to mount on his own. Got to get that kid some buddy stirrups and a helmet that fits properly.
A is doing amazingly well. This was his second real ride, although he had been on Red a couple times before they were so short and simple that we aren’t counting them. He was feeling confident and was steering very well and figured out how to woah him and back him up (super proud of my horse btw, for not only backing up so well but backing up for a kid who has no riding experience.) and asked if he could go a bit faster. I stayed to the side right next to Red’s reins and let A nudge him into a jog, and he got to jog for the first time. 🙂 He jogged a couple feet twice and was super excited over it.
I’m crazy jealous over the naturally good EQ he has. His only bad habit so far is his hands are a bit too tight on the reins, but I think that will be solved easily with some longer reins. He has trouble reaching mine and kept accidentally dropping them because he couldn’t get a good grip.
I hopped back on to do a couple more laps with Red, I always like to get back on him for a few minutes after someone new or a beginner has ridden him to keep him used to working properly and listening to me. I got mom to take some photos of us at this point and let him jog a bit more since he was still cool and ready to work.
I have to say, looking at these photos makes me extremely proud of the progress we’ve made. He’s not quite as rounded as he should be, but we’re having some short moments of greatness. Some short moments of him being round at the trot and collecting really well and using his body. And I managed to keep my heels down, although in one shot they could be pointed down a bit more, they’re good enough, I kept loose reins and my seat was comfortable and not defensive. I’m starting to trust him and get out of his way.
Next step is getting him to respond easier to my cues at faster speeds and allowing me to neck rein him easier. I switch to open reining when we’re actually working on the trot and not just messing around because I can bump him easier to keep him where he should be.
I also need to work on my posting – I was sitting the trot in these because my posting is rough to say the least. I’m finding it hard to get in a good rhythm. Someone recommended music and I think I may try that out.
But here’s what I see in these photos:
- A comfortable rider. Someone who isn’t grasping at reins, clutching at the back of her saddle or the horn and who has enough confidence and trust in her horse to have loose reins instead of having her hack constantly engaged in fears of him bolting.
- A comfortable horse. A horse who’s ears are either pricked forward or just resting and listening to his rider, who is trying his best to engage his hindquarters and use his body, who has a nice, relaxed and low headset and is happy to plod along.
Here are my two favorite moments:
So..I want y’all’s opinions on these photos. Tell me how you think he looks, how you think I look. Give me ideas on things I need to work on, tell me how you think we’ve improved. I want to know the good and the bad, so I can keep at the good and keep working to fix the bad.
Red gets to have a few days off because it’s raining cats and dogs 😛