I tacked up again yesterday and my plans were almost ruined – Gracie, my sister’s new mare, was acting colicky. Thankfully, with some walking around she finally released some gas and then pooped later. It wasn’t bad, but she was bloated, hot, sweaty and obviously uncomfortable and didn’t seem able to pass any stool. And she normally poops like… a lot. But I was able to ride after all, Red just had to stay in his stall with a saddle on and his girth loose for a few minutes. I had gotten halfway tacked up before my mother saw Gracie and noticed something was off. Thankfully I have a patient horse who ties well, lol.
I noticed a few sweet itch spots on him – one part of his mane is scabby and dry, I put some MTG on it the other day but I think what he needs most is a good bath and a good scrub in an anti fungal shampoo. So that will be in my plans for this week or the weekend. He’s getting his hooves done on the 27th, and they look really good. His feet grow like wildfire this time of year, but while they already look a touch long, they are very tough and aren’t chipping. I’m really, really happy with our new farrier and the job he’s done. I need to do some small things – clip his bridlepath, trim up his mane a bit to see if I can get the dead ends off and stimulate some more growth. I did trim his legs some the other day and they look a ton better. He gets super hairy legs. I need to bring my saddle home for a good deep cleaning this weekend, too.
I walked him up to the arena, another arena ride because I wanted to work with the bosal more. I had spent part of my free time yesterday watching some videos on the bosal and watching trainers use them to see how they rode, how they held the reins, how they asked the horse to do x, y and z and I felt more prepared. I held both reins very loosely in both hands, and would bump then release and repeat that until he’d give, then slip back to neck reining or just loosen the reins a lot. I’ll say this – he’s already putting his nose in and walking/trotting very, very comfortably in this bosal, more so than he did in the Little S, and considering we’re on day two on it, I expect it to get better and better and better with some practice and time. His walk is great in it. Seems like a tiny deal, but Red is naturally just…not a collected horse. He struggles a bit more with it but he was really catching on and had a beautiful walk.
He had hardly any issues yesterday other than being distracted by the gate which is his usual thing and something I’ve been working on, but he didn’t fight me with it as bad as he normally does. I was very relieved to see none of the head tossing when I asked him to trot or walk off like he had done the day before. That’s his trademark during Spring and when he decides he doesn’t want to do stuff. He was a bit annoyed with bugs as usual but kept his head. We were able to do a lot of trot work, I think I may even throw some canter in next ride. He was a different horse than the other day, very willing and good.
You can see in those two photos above how he’s tucking his head in nicely and framing up, and I have a very loose rein. All the bosal requires is a tiny bump, and he responds. Very nice to see this progress in only two rides, he definitely didn’t respond this way to the hack unless I used a ton of pulling and tugging and…no thanks. I do think the hack’s noseband was a bit too large and that didn’t help.
After a few minutes of just working on getting his head in the right place and working with that poky nose in and getting him rounded, I asked for the trot and expected him to be stubborn like yesterday, but nope. He trotted right off, no questions asked. Didn’t even need to “scare” him with my rein, lol.
First trot was nice – very relaxed and easy going. While his nose could go in a bit more and I’d like to see him use his neck a little more, I like that trot. He was relaxed, happy, listening to me and not going too slow or too fast. I’ll always take a happy, willing trot, especially after how tense he’s been.
After I let him go around a few laps with this trot and didn’t ask much of him, I gave him a short walk break, then asked for the trot again and this time, asked him to give his head a bit more and lighten up in the bridle.
He worked up a good sweat and I untacked after about 35 minutes. Very happy with how the ride went. Next ride (today, hopefully) I may bring in the trot pole again and do some more pole work. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll see a video of our ride later today. 🙂 (@takingthestep)