Riding & Finding a Trainer

First off, exciting news. My nephew A started taking lessons a couple weeks ago, and they told them a bit about my mother and I and there’s another trainer out there that does lessons at the same time as his trainer, so we’ve talked to her and scheduled lessons for the same time so I have easy transportation and scheduling works out because she and my mother can rotate babysitting. My sister, M, said that the trainer looks great and I checked out their website and I’m excited to start. I’ve been trying to find a trainer that, #1 isn’t super expensive because I just can’t afford $100 for a half hour lesson and that’s what most of the western trainers around here have asked, and #2 a trainer that offers opportunities for the discipline I want and has good experience with horses. I was supposed to start today but it’s started to rain and we rescheduled for tomorrow. First lesson will just be figuring out how to start and what I need help with and etc. We’ll most likely be focusing on Western Pleasure.

On another nice note, I’ve finally gotten back in the saddle after a crazy start to December with family in town, car accidents (we had a fender bender, everyone’s okay but car isn’t and it’s been a hassle trying to get it fixed.) and just our typical crazy. We all tacked up on Saturday because it was 70 degrees and we wanted to go through the neighborhood and take some Christmas photos, but AM’s horse Mouse ended up having an abscess so she didn’t take her out, so mom and I just went out and rode for about 30 minutes. Red and Stormie were extremely lazy and didn’t really feel like being away from the barn so the majority of the ride was spent using a lot of leg, lol.

Getting ready to take a few photos untacked. Poor guy had to wear bows.

I braided his mane and tail (rather poorly, his mane is still pretty short so it’s hard to get a good braid in there, I don’t know how y’all do it with pulled manes, and his tail is weird to braid since half of it is so short and crooked, rofl.) and stuffed bows everywhere I could find a place. Not as crazy and tacky as I was hoping for, but I went shopping for stuff the night before and I couldn’t find much because the store I wanted to go to was closed and I had to deal with Wal-Mart craziness…and they had legit nothing. 😦

this is the face of a horse who is done with life

They had just been trimmed (hence the pieces of hoof that Red is standing in up there) and the farrier did something different with Red’s feet to get him to stop being lazy and dragging his fronts, so he squared them off a bit in the front and so far it seems to be keeping his feet in way better shape, but they’re always a little bit tender after a trim so I was wondering if the laziness was from that, maybe just not wanting to go that much, but then once we got halfway to our end point, Red decided he actually did like riding and wanted to jog everywhere and walking was overrated. Since mom was the only one with me, I let him jog as much as he wanted because Stormie doesn’t care about getting ahead and would stay at whatever speed mom wanted, and we did a little bit of an extended trot at some points. He was super relaxed. We did pass a house and while the people stopped us to talk he kind of pooped right in front of their house…but they were nice enough to pick it up for us and throw it in some woods, lol. Red is super polite about things.

We decided to turn around a little earlier than usual since we knew AM was still out there and we didn’t want to just leave her haha, so I let Red jog back home and he was still pretty high energy on the way back. When we went back through the gate he wanted to jump into a canter and go to the barn so we had to do some circles and I made him walk slowly back up and down the road until he was chill.

I decided to tack up again yesterday since it was still warm and I knew rain was moving in, my nephew A came with me to hop on as well when I was done. Got him tacked up and let A help out with brushing him and putting his bridle on and hopped on. We went to the round pen since A was there and he’s not quite ready for a ride out in the pastures with Red since he can get a little more hot outside. Red hadn’t been worked in there for a couple weeks and he was a little stubborn, didn’t want to turn left so we did some circles both ways to loosen him up and then did some trot work. I also worked on getting him to round himself and to canter in the round pen which for whatever reason he doesn’t want to do. I really need to work on getting him to canter on cue better.

I felt like I wasn’t riding as well as I should’ve been, one of my stirrups had slid up a hole (the thing holding them in place slides up and down because it somehow came loose and when I put it back, it must’ve slid higher.) and it made keeping my seat a bit more difficult, but we did have some good moments. Red was pretty hyped and wanted to go faster and jump into a rough trot, so we did some slow work. My mom ran out of space in her phone and missed our best moment at the very end, but at the very end of the ride, he lowered his head  and started using his back and hindquarters and I was like, “Excuse me who is this horse” a brief moment of greatness for sure.

still had his tail braid in! Getting him to stretch that neck a little.

I’m working on learning how to use my reins to help him pull up and stretch, and he seemed to be a bit lighter in my hands today. I kept them lower but fairly loose for a lap around the side of the round pen to ask him to lower his head a little and things seemed to click a little. He was still being sour and wanting to go back to the barn, so turning towards the gate was a bit of a problem. He wanted to run back to the gate and not turn the opposite direction so I did a lot of turning.

Right here – we were stretching out a bit and he decided that he wanted to go the gate right then, and he was being stubborn with not wanting to turn back around, hence the engaged hack lol.

I hopped off after about 30 minutes since we did a lot of trotting and he worked pretty hard and I didn’t want him to be super done by the time A got on. Plus I wanted to end our ride on a good note, with him actually using his body really well for once.

A got on and walked him for a few minutes and got him cooled off. Red of course tried pulling his “I’m going to the gate now” thing on him but A handled him really well.

that’s a piece of hay on his lip, not a sore haha.

So, right now I feel like we still have a lot of work left to do on the trot. His trot is way better, obviously, but his body still isn’t where I’d like it to be. In a few few months from now I’d like him to be rounding himself and really using his hindquarters the way he should be. Practice makes perfect.

Can we accomplish this?

I think so and I hope so. I feel like it’s all about me learning how to ask for these things, how to get there. I think he can do it, I have no doubts about him but it’s my own skills I’m doubting. Hence the trainer. I’m hoping eventually I’ll be able to take lessons with Red as well, but with no trailer, that proves to be difficult.

So, once again, if any of y’all have tips or ideas on how to create a relaxed and rounded horse…let me know. 😉

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