I started getting Red ready around 12:30.We were set to leave around 1:45. Once Red was cleaned up, we went to start getting him in the trailer a few minutes early just in case he wouldn’t load, but I didn’t expect him to be bad.
I was wrong.
He would. not. load.I tried bribing him with feed. Just using pressure on his halter. Waited and waited forever. He wouldn’t budge. The trailer is very different than what he’s used to and also was pretty high up (no ramp either) and we finally decided to pull it up to a slight hill so he could go in easier, and my mom stood behind him and tapped him with the lunge whip, and he finally got in. It took us about 35 minutes just to get him loaded, but thankfully we still made good time. He was nervous on the way there and we forgot the haybag, but it was only a 20 minute drive so not bad.
I got him tacked up, my trainer met him, and we got started. We started off walk/trot, she told me that his trot actually doesn’t look bad at all, and he is just very out of shape and he can’t be consistent because of that. She gave me ideas on how to give him better workouts and how to get him to be more consistent, and said his trot actually looked really great at some moments and as he gets in better shape, he’ll be more consistent and he’ll be a pretty good mover. He was looky, very nosey, but really good. Finally, she was ready to see the canter and she got her daughter to ride him so she could see his canter from the ground and I wouldn’t have to be the one to ride it out the first time.
I’ll be honest, seeing my mother’s accident was a huge confidence killer. And she fell off at the buck, and that just so happens to be the thing that Red likes doing. Don’t get me wrong, his bucks are never aggressive or that terrible or big, but for a nervous rider, it’s difficult. I was still nervous cantering other horses, but it was nearly 99% better on other horses than on Red. And then, the last time I cantered him, he bucked. Granted, I pushed too hard, and I was doing it towards the barn, and I’m 99% sure the saddle was bothering him, and I didn’t work him hard enough before considering we hadn’t cantered in forever anyways. I made mistakes but I got him controlled, but it made me so nervous. The thought of cantering him by myself made me so, so stressed. Then, her daughter gets on, trots him around for a few minutes, and asks for the canter. He wants to trot too fast and refuse it, but he blew off her cue for a second and then he was okay and cantered. And he was amazing. Very, very out of shape and unused to cantering, my trainer just said he was very green with the canter, but she thinks it’ll get a ton better with work. So he couldn’t just canter the entire arena length perfectly, and he wanted to break a bit, but he wasn’t bad. He was very well behaved, and tried. She continued to canter, and he never fussed with her. She switched directions and my trainer noted that he wasn’t as comfortable at the trot going that direction, so told her daughter to expect a crowhop or something, and once again, he did great. No fussing.
Then it was my turn to get on. And I was seriously so nervous I wanted to just quit and end on that note. I saw this girl canter him, younger than myself, and I still just wanted to shut down. And my trainer reminded me that it’s okay and healthy to have some sort of fear and be realistic, but to think about how much I wanted to get past these problems and be able to canter my horse. Did I want it enough to face fears?
We started off trotting, and she told me to ask for the canter nicely at first, give him a nudge with my outside leg, and if he refused to give him a good kick. He wanted to just trot very quickly, so I nudged a bit harder, and off he went. It wasn’t a pretty thing, we didn’t even go a full circle, and he broke the canter too quickly, but oh my gosh. We cantered. I didn’t die. (lol) And he didn’t even think about bucking. I praised the heck out of him, and we tried again. And it was perfect. I praised the heck out of him, and I had the biggest smile ever.
My trainer and I discussed a few things, number 1, she said that his issues could very well be saddle fit. She told me to ride tomorrow, in the same tack I rode in today (my mom’s much wider saddle) and canter him. If he acts up, call her, and she said she’d come out and work with us at our place. If he doesn’t, continue that work, and see what happens, she said if he continues doing great she highly suspects it was the saddle. She also told me to start timing my rides and told me how long to trot and etc to get his stamina built up. She also recommended that I try a bosal on him, she thought the S hack was a bit too mild for him because he knows how to blow it off. She said the bosal would probably be really good for him, so I may pick one up Friday at a tack sale if I see one!
I’m eager to ride tomorrow and see how he does!!