Spring is here! "Thank Goodness!"
Spring is here!!
Can you believe it? I thought the cold, windy, dismal weather would never end! and with the beautiful sun, comes a happy and compliant horse. Well, almost compliant!
Last month, I wrote about "Regaining your horse's trust." A topic and situation close to me, after a bolting incident that left me with no confidence in my ridding abilities. Comments left by readers, left me feeling optimistic and determined to move forward. Which I have, and I am happy to report that my horse Phury and I seem to be back on track.
It all started with a perfect Friday afternoon. I arrived at the barn and as I approached Phury's stall, there was no "pawing" at the gate. No ears pinned back. Just a basic acknowledgement which was gratifying!
So, we began with our hand walking around the arena. Starting and stopping as we went, backing up, and doing circles to keep him listening and following me. After about 2 laps in each direction I picked up my lunge lead and whip and headed to the round pen. Things were looking great! Phury seemed to be in a particularly generous mood, and responded wonderfully to all my commands. We were able to worked through the three gaits, in both directions. Feeling ecstatic about my progress, I thought I would take it one step further and Saddle him up and head into the arena.
I received a gift from the heavens!
The spring sun was shining or perhaps he was just ready to work that day? But the way he leisured through our serpentines, crossed back and forth, from corner to corner in the canter, he was the horse I remember buying 4 years ago! Not wanting to let this wonderful moment get ruined I thought I best to end this ride now while we are on a good note, and that is what I did. My old friend back! and just what I needed for reassurance and to keep my spirits positive.
I have come to realize a fact that I didn't realize was so closely related. My horse is no longer a pasture horse. He resides in a stall which means he needs way more exercise than he required, then when he was in the pasture. I can no longer arrive, saddle up and work my program around the arena. He has to be lunged first, to stretch his legs and get that excitable energy out before he will listen. The difference in his behavior has been night and day. When I have and have not done this. We have a ways to go. I am by no means at 100% trust again and I still get anxious at the mounting block. But I am at 75% there, and that is further than I was two months ago.
Fast forward to today... He wasn’t feeling it.
We got two laps in the saddle and I could feel he was twitchy and wanted to run. So I dismounted and lunged him. He reminded me that training is a process and consistency is key. He also let me know that he is the same old naughty horse I knew he could be. But that’s ok, Spring is here! and tomorrow is another day. That’s really all that matters.