Christmas Ride!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! I’m a terrible slacker and hate writing about holidays, because, really, in a family as large as mine, recapping takes forever. Our Christmas was fairly lowkey, one part of the family was sick, the other doesn’t celebrate, so it was pretty much just my brother, his fiancee, and a step-sister, and two kids. But still – crazy. And considering my barn is full of my tack, I didn’t really have much need for horse things, so it was a pretty boring Christmas for a horse blog.

I did, however, manage to squeeze a ride in for Christmas ride. I rode on Christmas eve, when it actually stopped raining for five seconds. It was like, 70 degrees. And it’s been warm ever since last week, so I had to try to ride and take advantage of the warm weather. The ground was a little wet and muddy still, but it was dry enough to work on some collection and do some trot work. Definitely not dry enough to work on canter, but I really want to nail down his trot and get ride of his barn sour ‘tude before I work on canter outside of the round pen. After I fed everyone else and picked hooves and all that jazz, I tacked him up and hopped on. Short ride, because it was getting late and I still had a ton of Christmas stuff to do, but it was good.

watch me pretend to be a hunchback.

I noticed three things right off the bat –

  • croc rain boots suck to ride in because they are stiff and you can’t really keep your heel down without reallyyyyy trying, because of the stiff material.
  • Red needed to walk around. A lot. Because he was like “YES RIDING LETS GO RUN YAY LETS RUN TO THE BARN INSTEAD OF JOGGING POLITELY” and promptly wanting to bolt to the barn. So walking we did before doing much of anything else. I always warm him up for a few minutes, but this time it was more like, okay, done warming up, now let’s get pony to stop being a retard
  • my reins are too short, way too short to actually do the collection work like my trainer showed me without having to lean down to get extra rein, resulting in me looking like a hunchback in most of these and making my arms look..just awkward.

So, next on my to-do list is buy some longer reins. Preferably split, because that’s what I’ve been using in lessons and it makes it a lot easier to grab the rein to pull up a bit and move his shoulder. Short reins, meh.

So, we walked around the pasture for about 15 minutes until he was actually chill enough to realize that I wasn’t going to let him bolt to the barn, and he needed to stick near the front fence. Finally, he calmed down enough to let me ask for a trot up the small hill towards the barn without being a doofus and trying to run towards it. First lap was his same old trot, not terrible, but definitely not nice and collected. Not super rough, but not smooth either. So I turned him, then used my rein a bit more, pulling him up with just a little bit more pressure, then releasing as he got it. And second time was the charm. Is he round enough? Nope. Is he great and collected after one ride? Nope.  But he was slowing down more, and man, that trot was really, really smooth. I literally did not move in my saddle hardly at all. He was a little tense, and I’m honestly going to blame that on the fact that, #1, he saw hay and horses being turned out, and he really wanted up there. And #2, he’s not used to being asked to do anything like this. I’ve asked for collection before, obviously, but I haven’t done it this way, the correct way, and he’s still being weirded out by it.

I need to work on releasing quicker, that’s my big problem. But it’ll be easier to work on in the round pen as opposed to the pasture where I’m also having to keep a bit more of a tighter rein than I’m used to keeping because he was wanting to run home because it was time for hay. This will be great to work on when we’re in the round pen, or when we’re out on the road riding and when he’s more focused.

Totally just saw the typo in my caption from the video on Instagram. Whoops.

Anyways – as far as how his trot feels, pretty dang happy. Just have to work out the kinks and get him more relaxed and loosened up, but I think we’re heading in the right direction…just, slowly. 😉

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