I’ve ridden three times since I last posted – had a brief break because of rain, but thankfully we were able to get back in business on Monday. I talked my mother into taking a few photos with my Nikon, and was like, oh hey, Red’s been doing so great in the bosal and he’s been so light and nice and I was excited to have photos that aren’t junky video stills of his beautiful trot and maybe even a bit of canter but then Red decided he would trot but be kind of heavy in the bridle and I also had about 15 minutes to ride, so very little warm up, which I knew effected him. He wasn’t bad. In fact, he was really well behaved for the most part, he was collected, but his headset wasn’t what I normally like. I think if I had of been able to warm him up a bit more and had more time to ride, we could’ve had the nice headset and some nice extended trot and jog because he did seem willing. Regardless, I got some nice photos.
Every so often, he’d release his head and listen to my bumps on his rein and kind of be like “Oh, right. She doesn’t like me to be a giraffe.” and lower the head and push with his back and was fairly nice – not the best looking trot we’ve had, but still, in comparison to what it used to feel like. Major improvement, can’t complain.
I appreciated two things majorly – number 1, his ears are nearly always perked and forward when we ride. For whatever reason, maybe good saddle fit and a (really expensive) pad is making a difference and he’s comfortable, maybe he really loves the bosal, maybe I’m riding him differently somehow or whatever, he seems happy to be worked right now. He has his stubborn, lazy moments, yes, but if I push through and stick with it, after a couple minutes he seems to have a lightbulb go off and say, “Oh, right, I like working!”
I rode him the next day and he was a bit off, not lame or anything of the sort but just seemed to be extra stubborn and spooky. I realized when my mother drove up in her lawn mower (she’d been mowing all evening.) and he spooked over it that he’d been listening for it and eyeing it and wasn’t a huge fan. She went to mow in the arena and I stayed in with Red, kept out of her way but made him work around the mower. When she parked to pull up some weeds, I let him go up and sniff. We did have one meltdown when I was doing trot circles – the lawn mower must’ve hit something and it made a loud noise and he went into crowhop, bucking tantrum mode but thankfully, three bumps with the bosal knocked him out of it and I made him continue on and basically ignored it. After that, he seemed to be fine. Got it out of his system and we finished our ride on a decent note.
We worked more on his walk, turns and backing more that night after he spooked. I did push him through and made him trot, but I didn’t want to push him if he was still stiff and looky. I needed to focus on some basics with the bosal anyways, to make sure he gets everything and to work on getting his nose in at the walk and not being totally uncollected at any speed slower than a fast trot, and basically after one lap of repeatedly asking him to lower the head and tuck the nose, he did it and I was able to stop bumping completely.
Then, yesterday, I tacked up before my sister came up to ride her mare, and we rode for about 15 minutes alone before she came up. Yesterday was focused on some real work.We’d both been slacking on things and he was slowly starting to revert back into not wanting to lower the head and watch where he’s going, so I added the trot pole back in and after spooking at it during the first lap around and kind of jumping over it awkwardly, he was fine.
He had a few bad moments of wanting to turn too quickly or ignore my cue to continue on and complete a lap and not just turn too quickly, so I’d circle him every time until he gave up, back up some and pick the trot back up. A few times doing that and he stopped trying and gave up on quitting early. The rest of the ride was great. He didn’t spook at the kids running around or the mower.
His head was great at the walk as it usually is, nice and low and relaxed. Still had to remind him to put his nose in a bit more but still pretty decent. He wanted to trot off too fast so I reminded him to slow it down and actually work properly and that was that. Best trot work we’ve had in awhile.
I got home and compared some new photos to the old and I’m so happy. I’m slacking majorly in the canter department.. My nerves get the best of me every time, and I’ve been beating myself up about it so much. But oh well…nerves can be pushed aside for another ride while I admire his transformation. A good trot after what he used to be like is a big deal, right? Maybe a slight excuse for me not focusing on the canter now?