I took Reason to ride at the arena on Tuesday evening. The last few days have been warm, Tuesday was no different reaching into the 90’s. Where in the world did 90 degree temperatures come from, in the middle of October, no less!? I am no fan on the heat (long time readers know this well), so I waited until around 4 in the evening to trailer the horses over to ride. There were two other riders there already. It was nice to have some company and new things for Reason to look at. The people had dogs (which make Reason nervous when he can’t walk right up to them), so it was a good time to school him through the distractions. All this exposure he’s been getting as of late has been so good for him!
The ride was pretty good. But it was more just working Reason through the surroundings verses getting down to work. I wanted to get some canter stuff in there as I was anxious since having help on Saturday with that. It was important for me to get right down into the hard stuff and face it head on, then to just casually work into it. The first canter departs were OK. Reason tried to get light in the front but it’s so far from what it was ever before, that I just have to push him through to the other side. I have to open the canter up, pushing him through a door, to get him to the other side so he can actually relax within the pace and not bunch up. Once I give him that direction and I can feel him go “through” it’s smooth sailing. I have to also remind myself to be light, but settle as soon as I get him going. I have a tendency to continue to push him and drive unnecessarily with my seat which sends mixed signals and doesn’t convey the relaxation I actually want. My two largest things are those; getting Reason to flow into the canter depart and for myself to be quiet once he’s there.
After addressing the canter, I just wanted to work on Reason coming over his back to finish the ride. Very much like the canter, he will be stiff and rigid until you push him ‘through’. Once he’s ‘there’, he loves it and will work with you in that place and try to figure it out. I tried to get long and low, to get the hind engaging, to get the shoulders up, anything, but it was so far between because of the distractions. Going left was especially hard. It’s definitely his un-favorable side. He was not moving away from my leg and his neck was stiff. There was no bend. Everything felt seemingly flat. I kept asking, but Reason was getting mentally tired. He just wasn’t working with me and as I kept asking, he kept distancing. So I stepped it back a notch, did some non-nonchalant trotting and walking and called it a night.
There was a lot of action for Reason to handle, even though he did well. I could have done better as a rider, but hind-sight is 20/20. I’m not sure how I would have handled the ride differently, or what I would have done differently, though I am constantly thinking about it. Overall I was happy to just get that cantering in there! Oh yea and that Reason is an awesome loader now! He hops right in and out of the trailer. He’s also hauling better and coming off the trailer with less nervous sweat. Now he knows fairly well that where-ever we go will be something new and exciting. Yay for huge progress in that department!
To end the night, I un-tacked Reason and took him to the trail ‘obstacle’ area to explore some of the stuff there. One cool thing – a horsey teeter-totter! Reason stepped right on without a second thought. He did try to jump off of it, instead of walk across it, but after a couple of times, he walked all the way, and it tipped downward and he stepped off. He’s pretty darn brave, getting confident and as always remaining careful. Jumping may very well be in his future.