I’m a bad person, and haven’t ridden my horse in like…a week. (Rode yesterday to break the no riding streak because I was going insane) It has been insanely humid and hot, and when my horse is already sweating bullets in the pasture and exhausted, I really don’t want to put tack on him and make him sweat more and die of heat exhaustion. Ya know. But yesterday evening got cool enough to ride, I rode at like 8, was done at like 8:50 and home right before it was super dark. Since Red hadn’t done anything in awhile, I decided to keep it in the arena instead of running around the fields, plus I wanted to work on some things with him in the arena. Used the Little S again since that seems to be our go-to for work on collection and engagement, tacked up quick and went up. He was a bit stubborn with being mounted, so as soon as I got on I worked on his flexing, turns, circles, backing, anything but forward movement. On a good note, I did learn that he’s gotten pretty darn good at backing and turning on a loose rein with very little on my part. He’s pretty good at turning a fast circle now, too.
I let him warm up at the walk for about 3-4 minutes then started trot work. As far as his walk goes, he’s constantly in a nice zone. Head low, nice and chill. Even though it’s just the walk and that’s boring, I still still improvement in it, so yay.
His trot was very bouncy and fast and slightly out of control speed wise at first; he was definitely slightly energetic, but after a minute of going around in a couple laps he settled down and wow. He was really trying hard to engage himself and have a nice headset and do things properly. I’ve gotten better at the whole pressure and release thing; aka I’m releasing quickly so he’s really getting the reward when he does what I’m asking. Pictures are terrible since they are video stills + it was dark outside (one video can be found on my instagram @takingthestep, more to come later so I don’t spam.) but still, you can see enough.
I think the hill work has been helping. We’ve been doing about 5-10 minutes of hill work a ride, whether it’s trot or canter, and I think it’s helping him learn how to raise his back a bit more and he’s getting stronger because of it. I hate not doing it last night but we’ll be back at it next time we ride for sure.
So, the first few laps of trot was good after him speeding around. I gave him another walk break, then switched directions a couple times, and worked on smaller circles which he always seems so struggle slightly with (I think it’s hard for him to turn so quickly and tightly, but he seems to be doing better now.) but he also always seems to give a really nice trot despite the struggles. I think he’s realized that the quicker he does well, the less time we’ll spend working on it, lol.
And, man. So nice. I’m not going to do my usual self-deprecating thing and list all of the problems about the photo and just say this; I’m seeing the light, here. He trotted like this for two whole laps before he kind of broke out of it a bit, but then reverted back to it. Regardless of every imperfection I’m sure I could dig up from this photo, he’s doing good.
He did it, and I was kind of like..what? What are you doing? Is this actually the beginning of a super nice headset? Because this trot is kind of what I’ve been aiming for..and I’ve been aiming for awhile, as we all know.
I’ll take the imperfections because I can fix them. Biggest thing is he’s trying super hard and thinking more and more every time we take a step back and go back to the arena.
So, yes. Nice ride back..hoping we get a bunch of repeats. 😉 Not sure when I’ll ride again, depends on weather and just how busy we are. Farrier is coming, little brother is having a birthday party at the farm so I may get to ride that day (Saturday) but it may storm. Then July 6-8th I have a thing every evening, but I may be able to ride in the mornings if it isn’t raining..we’ll see. After the 8th, things will calm down and I’ll be back to riding 4-5 times a week.