Benny and I had our second ride today. I didn't think it was going to happen. First, even getting out to the barn was a challenge. But the opportunity rose, and I took it. Second, when I got there, a lesson was going on, which left me the round pen only. Which was fine, it was the place I intended to work anyway...until the big bay otsb proved to me that he was full of beans that needed to be bucked out. That was a first!
That leads me to reason #3 of why I didn't think a ride would happen today. When I brought Ben in, he was good- if a little antsy. I let him loose in the round pen, and watched him roll and roll. And then he got up, started tossing his head around, and then BUCKING!
By then the lesson ended and exited the arena. So I haltered him up and brought him to the arena- where he let loose- ohh lots of energy. Color me cautious, my initial gut reaction was "hmm, maybe this isn't the right day for riding, we can work on something else, that doesn't involve me putting myself on top of a squirrely bay gelding." At first I let him do his thing, but then I slowly started asserting myself- once he could concentrate, I turned his play into a bit of constructive free longeing. It actually worked out great. Once he seemed like he was back to earth, I brought him back to the pen, really unsure how far we'd get today. I wasn't about to set him up for failure on our second ride, and I didn't really want to bite the dust when I know better.
He was 100% focused. So I proceeded. Tacking up, he was great. No issue with the girth. Thinking back on it- the only time he had a problem was when the Prestige was set up with the point billet- which probably pinched his shoulder and didn't feel right. It has since been removed, and there is no more problem. He was a little resistant about bridling, but he was ok with a little work. With his behavior seemingly in check, I continued on, reviewing all that we did the previous days, including standing by the block and mounting.
I saw no reason to stop, so I got on. We walked around, and worked on steering and the elusive halt. He was much better after the 3rd try- he gets it. He also understands the leg much better. He understood me asking him to walk on, and to walk faster. He even got a little trot in there. We only did 1 set of trot because I could hear the horses getting antsy outside- which meant feeding time was upon us. Again, wanting to set up for success- I ended the session before anything adverse could happen.
I'm very happy with our weekend! The weekdays are always tough to get work in- and with his age I want to make sure we take things nice and slow. But if we can get a couple of sessions in- even just the ground work stuff, I'll be happy. My goal this week is to continue to desensitize him- cones, tarps, poles, plastic bags, sharing the arena with other horses- By the end of the week it is supposed to be sunny, so i'm going to take him down to the small creek and work on water crossing, and we'll go for some nature walks on the backside of the track. The idea is to bond and work on our overall confidence.
I have my sights set on a poker ride in April- it's a fundraiser for one of the rescues I like to support. My goal is to get Ben all ready enough to go on that- whether or not we actually get to go.
Should be a fun week!