Last week was Reason’s first real week back into work and he did really well. Prior to that we were doing light stuff and bareback riding as mentioned in our last post. We had a couple of hacks and lunging to start week one. I’m back to teaching him lateral flexion mixed in throughout our rides as that’s where we left off last time. Reason is going off my leg nicely (good pony!) and is flowing right along. He and I have come some long ways recently in our trust and understanding. I don’t want to sound corny and say ‘relationship’ but yes, we’re coming strides in our relationship ;).
Yesterday though, I had [my first in a while], kind-of, fall off of Reason. It wasn’t his fault really although I was disappointed in what happened. Normally I do our riding and hacking outside of the pasture, which is where he lives with Errika. Sometimes I’ll ride him inside the pasture, but the ground is much softer outside for regular purposes. Both the horses are attached to each other, which poses its unique challenges. But they have been getting really good about being apart during Reason’s ‘work.’ Reason is focused and settled in his work and Errika watches Reason leave and then returns to eating and grazing. But yesterday my mom came along with me and she took Errika on a walk. Reason was being fine about Errika being outside the pasture for a change, but after I mounted and he called out, I wasn’t so sure. I kept him moving along and we briefly stopped because I could feel him starting to rush under me as we ventured a little further away. The ground where we were walking was not safe [enough] to send him forward beyond the walk. Then I felt ‘it’ and what went through my mind in that instant was what was just about to happen…
I felt Reason get tall and I felt him ready to blow, I knew my snaffle bit wasn’t going to stop him if he decided to take off and I wasn’t about ready to take that ride. I began to dismount quickly as my time was seemingly running out. Reason quickly turned around before I could get my feet on the ground, knocking me down and sending my body sideways into the ground. I hit the hard dirt, seeing Reason’s hind feet standing still, but as soon as he realized I was off, he bolted off into a full gallop. I watched him run and then return to the pasture gate where Errika left from.
Reason regained some bearings once he realized everything was really ok, except that his rider was no longer on him.. I managed to hop back on and continue riding, this time with Errika closer to the gate. Reason was being good, but he was still a bit checked out, so it wasn’t really a good ride, mostly one born out of necessity, I guess you would say.
Before yesterday, everything was going so well! But now that I have this very obvious issue in front of me. I have to dive right in and deal with it. I’m still figuring out how, without stressing either horses, but it’s going to inspire creativity, and of course, diligence.
Next week we head out for hopefully at least one light trail ride and a playday at the end of the week. The playday will be Reason’s first outing to something other than a trail ride. I was very optimistic about going before yesterday, but now I’m not sure how easy-going it will be. The whole point of really taking Reason is to expose him to a new environment without exposing him to un-needed stress and anxiety during his first outings after the race track. I want him to be comfortable and trusting of me when he goes anywhere no matter what may come. The only way that will happen is if we go out and do that, but I want to do it in the best possible way for him. (Set him up for success!) I can’t completely write off the playday because I do think it will be just fine. I just do not want to take him if I feel he’s going to melt-down or it be completely contradictory to what I am trying to do. I’m hoping the following days and next week will give me an idea of if it should be a scratch or not.
Despite the fact that this post isn’t exactly what I thought it would be – up until yesterday I had some great things to write about that didn’t include the above – I am so very proud of Reason and how well he’s doing. I’m starting to feel ‘at home’ on him. Even after my failed attempt at an emergency dismount ;). And in spite of everything, I am learning so much for my very talented and smart dark horse.