I’ve ridden twice since I posted last – I’ve managed to squeeze in some time in the evenings when we’re done working up at the hay field (which is coming along great, other than the crazy bumble bees who are dead set on attacking.) I always have time for a 30-40 minute ride before the sun is completely down if I hurry and tack up quick enough. I’ve continued riding in his old hack, although sometime in the upcoming week I may set aside one evening for arena work and put the bosal back on to work more on collection. It’s easier to work on headset and collection and him giving his head in the bosal because the pressure is easier for him to understand and very different than the leverage of his hack..but on the other hand, he did very, very well with that in the hack last night…so we shall see. Either way, the old hack will be out go-to again for rides outside of the arena, and really 99% of our rides, period. Arena work has been way easier in the hack.
So, a catch-up. I rode on Thursday, another impromptu ride. I rode in shorts, again, and it was hotter than the day of my last ride so I was sweating more, and the boots rubbed a terrible place on my leg and now I’m bruised. Genius idea, lol. He was good, really well behaved, actually, although a bit confused because it was our first day back in the arena in awhile doing work on collection – my cues were off because adding leg hurt, and I’m a wimp, so I figured most of his issues were because of me, not him. (and the day after, I was proven right because all of his issues disappeared when mine did.) We warmed up at the walk and added the jog pretty quickly, then transitioned into a bigger trot for a few laps both ways, then did some smaller trot circles (which, I swear, are his least favorite things.) which he struggled with a little. Anytime he attempts to do well during the smaller circles, I tend to give lots of release and lots of praise because he’s definitely not done much of this type of work and it seems to stress him and overwhelm him.
I started working more on his nose and headset overall, because he was being a giraffe when we went into trot. He’d have a good half a lap, then nose would creep out, and head would go up. So I started at the walk and asked for his head, released when he gave, added leg to keep him moving, and he started doing very well at the walk. We did a few more laps of trot, a few more circles, some work on backing, and yada yada, nothing exciting. Dismounted after riding for about 40 minutes and ended on a good note. Once again, he had no bad moments – just confused on where to put his nose, how to lift his poll, and struggling with the circles.
Next ride was actually planned. I wore jeans, my boot wound thankfully had stopped hurting, came prepared, lol. I didn’t have a ton of time to ride because it was a bit later than I usually start, but I still managed to get in about 40 minutes again. Took my time when tacking up because he was covered in flies and I kept having to add more swat and fly spray. It was pretty warm still, too. I took him to the arena, hopped on, and warmed him up, went to trot pretty quickly, did one lap both ways, and started more work on the trot circles. He did 90% better with his head at the walk yesterday, and I was able to focus more and work more on his head. I started doing it similar to how I worked with the bosal – bumps with both reins, very light, then added leg to add speed, release when he gave, rinse and repeat as needed, and he settled down very quickly and did very well. Trot circles were apparently no big deal for him yesterday. I imagine he may have been a bit stiff from not doing much for the last couple of days on Thursday and felt a bit looser and better from the work on Friday.
His trot felt great. I ditched the posting for one day, and worked on my sitting trot, which honestly sucks right now because I just haven’t done it in so long. Posting is so much easier on him, but sitting it made me be able to focus on myself a little less and focus on him a bit more, which helped. He felt very springy and powerful and like the wheels were really turning in his head.
Overall..I feel like he’s looking good, and he feels great. Much more of an enjoyable ride when he’s not acting like a jerk.
Once we were done in the arena, my mother and our neighbor (the one that keeps her mare here.) and my two youngest siblings were out at the barn, I walked Red out of the arena, practiced his gate opening skills so I didn’t have to dismount and mount up again, and let him walk up to the hayfield. I’m mean, and made him walk up and down the hill going up towards the field a few times for the sake of hill work and booty fitness, haha. My nerves kept me from going too far, but we did walk around the front of the field and he was good. Progress!
Mom told me I needed to go let him run up the hill like we used to…I will…eventually. It did sound fun.
I didn’t go gallop him. I think I’ll get my mother to do it first, then give it a shot..but either way, I faced another fear and went into the big field with him. And, I’ve been riding more and enjoying it. So that’s good enough for now. Next week…we’ll see if we can get a canter.
Hoping to ride at some point today if the day isn’t too insane. Weekends usually are.