Yesterday I finally got back on Ben. It was hot, the arena was so dang muggy, and I didn't want to do much. He was definitely more nervous than usual - could be because this was his first ride after 4 glorious days off and/or our last ride was obviously less than stellar.
I had made plans with a fellow boarder to go on a hack outside, so while we waited for them, I warmed him up - he felt clunky, kinda snarky, evasive, head twirly...hmm note all the negative terms I'm using here. So I decided to school him on basic things like stepping up into the contact at the walk, walk/trot transitions. I once I did that then things got better. But it wasn't exactly the best ride of our lives.
Once our friends were ready, we set off for a long hack on the track. Oh it was so beautiful out there- the sun was setting, there was a nice cool breeze. On our way to the track we had to pass the BBQ grill that was set out there clearly for a picnic dinner. it was on, and oh my, it was absolutely terrifying. We had about 15 feet berth. At first Ben just wasn't going to go past the shiny but smelly hot burning thing. So we just sat there, let him take it in. And then I started urging him to walk forward. That was just the ticket. Soon he walked by without any issue, and then we had to wait for his friend to do the same thing.
Once on the track we just walked and walked, chatting and taking in the beautiful evening. Ben was great out there- he was definitely a good support horse for his friend, who had never been out there. He was a bit clumsy - he loves to look around and put his head up, sniff the air, and take these idiotly small choppy steps at walk - and ultimately trips over the ground. At one point I had to put him to work a bit at a trot just to get him out of that crappy walk.
I think it was a good ease back into work. We'll see what the trainer says today, and how my lesson goes tomorrow.