Yesterday, I had my first, solo, ride on Reason!
It didn’t start off great. Not the ride, the before part.
First of all, as soon as I took Reason out of his paddock I instantly knew that today was a good day to get up there. It was instantaneous. I put his polo’s on, grabbed the bridle and my helmet and off we went. I started off with walking him in hand to get a better feel of the situation. There were people riding in the arena and I wanted to make sure Reason was still cool with the idea. As I tried to walk this big dark horse around, he would do his stopping thing and would refuse to move. I knew exactly what he was doing. Being stubborn. There are little bits of grass around the arena and he knows this, so when we’d get close to that part, he’d stop. Pushing him forward wasn’t working, he was pretty insistent. Right then and there, when I felt my frustrations and embarrassment that I couldn’t get him moving consistently, I knew it was time to get on.
In one of my earlier posts about Reason’s stopping, I talked about…
In this case, I attribute it to just being lazy or stubborn. Un-interested. This is my fault no less. It’s obvious by this stopping reaction that moving forward is just unappealing and therefore baby Reason is telling me, “let’s do something else.”
He was most certainly telling me, besides grass is more interesting, that either I get on and do something new, or else we aren’t going to go much further, literally and figuratively speaking. I took that idea and ran with it. I convinced Reason to follow me to the cross-ties where I bridled him. Thoughts were running through my head. For example, Matt, my lovely assistant, was not there. If you recall, Reason was getting a little angsty at the mounting block, which required Matt and I to work together to help him associate with a positive thing and therefore remain relaxed and not move. So, I began thinking (all in the 10 seconds it took to walk to the mounting block), what if he doesn’t stay still again? The reason why it brought up some concern was, with just me there, how would re-iterating the idea of still and relaxed at the block, work if I had to go back to that? It wouldn’t be the best idea to work on it successfully alone.
But something said (possibly Reason hehe) that this is what I need to be doing. It’s as if someone put me on a path and pushed me, guiding me to this decision without a second thought. As I kept thinking of logical scenarios and how to deal with them, this thing kept pushing; everything will work out fine, just do it. Now.
By the time I knew it, I was at that mounting block. I grabbed the reins in my hands. Reason stood oh so still and relaxed. I kindly, slide up there. Back to my comfort spot!! All alone, the halter over the bridle, I had the lead rope attached and looped like reins to I could use that for halting if necessary (since he knows that well). There I was. Up, fully piloting with the dark horse. I was happy, but excited was not the word. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great step, but I was more comfortable and truly pleased that we just opened that door. A big, peaceful, bright door. It may not seem like that big of feat. But, it’s such a positive step in building trust and understanding, that that alone, makes it important. I guess the idea was exciting to me. But being up there, felt natural and where I was supposed to be all along, so it wasn’t exciting in the way you’d think.
I was proud of Reason. We watched as horses traveled around us. Not once was he anything but good. He wanted to socialize with the other horses in the arena and a couple times decided he’d walk us, but that was all he did. I used my voice commands to ask him to halt and walk, with good success. I am just proud of how smart he is and all the heart he wants to give.
I’m just going to continue on and let things come as they may. With no real goal or schedule for “riding” right now. Just sitting and some walking here and there, whenever it feels right. Slowly bringing him around mind and body. It feels right.