I tacked Red up yesterday, ran a bit late because my schedule kind of got crazy, and it was a church night and I kind of forgot and rode for way too long…but hey. That’s a good kind of problem, I guess? I rode for around 40 minutes. It was my plan to do trot work first, at least 5 minutes of trot one way, 5 minutes the other way. First 5 minutes would be just letting him trot and getting wigglies out, then the next round would be working on his collection, asking him to really work for me, and be consistent and keep that good trot for longer than 10 seconds before dropping it and turning into a slightly hollow giraffe. His trot now isn’t terrible even when he’s not being…good, but it’s still not want I want. Then, if he was behaving and seemed to be settled enough, we’d try the canter. Spoiler alert, the canter didn’t happen, and I didn’t really push it. I did ask my trainer, shot her a message and was like OKAY he’s not being bad at all, in fact, one of our best rides in awhile, but he’s not wanting to canter. She told me not to worry, try again tomorrow, he may just be a bit sore and tired from doing so much the day before, and focus on what he was doing good as long as I wasn’t wimping out. 😉 So try again tomorrow I shall. Mom said she may even hop on first and try it.
The trot work though. It was phenomenal. Possibly the best trot I’ve ever ridden on him and honestly it was just really, really nice I kind of questioned if my horse was stolen and replaced with a much fancier one. I even tagged my trainer in a couple videos and she said it was really nice. He was CONSISTENT too. It wasn’t just good for a lap then sucky the rest of the ride, he was good the entire ride. 40 minutes of awesome. I timed us and I worked on the sitting trot for about 25 minutes, then the posting trot for the rest of the time with some walk breaks inbetween and also did some work on neck reining, which he is doing fabulous with. He’ll now turn in a nice circle on his haunches just with the neck pressure, both ways. He’s a bit stiffer to the left but he’s getting better with that too, time for more carrot stretches.
Bit of a disclaimer because I know how people can be – my hack is engaged in a couple of these. My hack is extremely loose and mild, it barely touches his face. My trainer actually noted this fact the other day and was like “This is way too mild no wonder he has so much control” and was messing with it and it literally hardly has any pressure, so when you see it engaged, know that it’s grazing his face. The rope is also just barely touching, and I did loosen my reins and release through the ride, I’m getting used to his lower headset and I’m learning how to adjust my reins accordingly.
And once again, at this point, I’m really wondering how much of this greatness is saddle fit. I change the saddle and he magically seems to be looser and more fluid in his movements and I didn’t have to ask for much of this at all, I bumped the reins and BOOM, he’s like “Oh hey? You want roundness? Headset? Collection? Nice trot that you can actually sit without dying? HERE YA GO” with no breaking or fighting. And the last ride with my other saddle, he was stiff and he would lower his head for a second but it looked awkward and unnatural and just blah. Needless to say, the old saddle won’t be on him again. I’ve found someone who wants to trade -they have a nice Dakota barrel saddle with a 7″ gullet which is what my mom’s is, and it fits really well, and it’s nearly 2″ bigger than the roper. If it doesn’t fit, I’ll try to sell or trade again. I get it tomorrow and I’ll probably try it on that day.
It’s still crazy to me that we went from his natural, preferred trot being bumpy and hollow and giraffe like to him actually wanting to lower his head and be rounder. PROGRESS!
As usual, I’m horrible with uploading videos, so if you want to see any, go check out my Instagram @Takingthestep. I’ve already uploaded two videos from yesterday and even a video edit with a couple moments from my lesson, and I’ll be posting more from yesterday later once I can make another edit and compile some of the videos so I don’t just spam with footage.