Well, at least I feel like it. Took Dandy out on the trail today for one last in hand rehearsal before we hit it under saddle for good. The paths we walked were still saturated with the recent floods we’re had in the area (we were lucky but many around our home, not so), an actual stream was running noisily down the first trail we walked, and puddled at the bottom at about 3 inches of water, more in some places. Dandy has never been fond of puddles, he’ll diligently pick his little feet to avoid them usually, but today he had no choice. What’s funny is he approached crossing the pond quite differently one way (going, easy and without hesitation) from coming back (stopping, looking quizically at water and then trying to jump over). We then went back and forth, and the behavior remained until at least our third go. By then he was familiar with it and just walked right in.
The slope was steep and the ground was treacherous, I now know for a fact my Ariat boots aren’t the smoothest to wear, but boy they are waterproof ! We walked in deep woods, alongside wheat fields, we went up, we went down. We stopped for breaks. We worked a bit two, sending both directions at the walk and trot when the ground allowed it, and we did some backing-up and lateral flexions. What can I say, he was perfect the WHOLE time. We even trotted on a strech of good footing (tiresome for me !).
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this colt is so great. He’s so open minded. His attitude is like “Sure, let’s go, let’s try this”. The beginning sure was rough, but since he’s settled down and learned the rules, he’s just pure joy.
If I have to stand in running water, let’s at least drink some !
Taking a little break in the woods..
The point of this outting (the second of this kind) was to get him acquainted to moving out outdoors, in the open. He’s been ridden in a round pen, in a large covered arena, but not in the open yet, and I want to be careful and prepared about it. Since he has shown some tendency to “freeze” in the very beginning, and not be eager to move out, I wanted to make sure there was no sign of reluctance to leave the familiar settings of the barn. I found none
This stream was running quite lively and making some good noise, he chose to invistigate it and ended up drinking
Then we reached the barn again, went quite a little ways in another direction, circling it (still no fuss at all), and made a stop by the little wooden bridge used for trail classes. I taught him to cross it during our very first work sessions, and obviously he has not forgotten (I can’t help being impressed at his body mass here, this guy JUST turned 2 !)
Back to his tying place in the large arena, letting out some air
There was an online discussion recently about the meaning of a horse’s yawn (that can have quite a few, so it’s hard to interpret it). Maybe he did process some stress during that walk, but if he did it was very well controlled, I’m very pleased with him 🙂
My plan was to saddle up and right that very same route tomorrow, unfortunately it’s way to slippery and unsafe as it is, so we’ll have to either do it in hand again, or (more likely) work on our current stuff in the arena, then just ride outside and around the farm at the walk, to get used to the feel of the open. Exciting times as I’m committed to doing an equal amount of trail riding and maneuver work in the future, to keep his mind (and mine !) fresh. Stay tuned for the next report…