I haven’t done one of these updates in a while. That’s mainly because I haven’t been doing too much other than gradually increasing the length of time we work in the ring. That’s really not that interesting.
But none the less it’s time for an update and more pictures from the show last weekend.
Saturday I coached in the morning. I had a few near misses with 3 of my students. One of my cross rail students got bounced out of the tack on the in of a line but somehow was able to recover in time to jump out. I was quite impressed. One of my walk/trot/begin to canter students got bounced out of the tack when her horse decided to buck when asked to canter. She panicked but was also able to hold on and bring her horse back to a trot. Stiff drink anyone. The next one was in my dead beginner, barely trotting lesson. We were doing individual work and I had one student halted at the end of the ring. Thankfully because it was a beginner lesson I had another staff member helping. If it wasn’t for her this kid would have fallen off when his pony spooked at something outside the ring.
After that I grabbed Tucker from the field and we had lunch together while I contemplated whether I had the energy to ride or not. I didn’t but I tacked up anyway with the intention of working on my eq. Some of those pictures from the show really opened my eyes to how much of a slacker I’ve turned into.
I was a little nervous 1. because hacking always makes me nervous and 2. because I’d never hacked alone before. I tried my best to not broadcast my nerves to Tuck by keeping my body lose and reins on the buckle. I wanted this to be a good experience for him.
At first he seemed pretty game. Interested, looking around and moving out at a brisk pace without encouragement. Once we got past the neighbours property I had to put some leg on. Once past the next couple properties and mushroom farm he slammed on the breaks. We spotted a tiny little dirt bike thing coming out of a driveway up ahead. The bike went back down it’s driveway but that was it. Tuck was done. He backed, he spun, he refused to continue, we almost ended up in the ditch.
As much as I would have liked to have given in and gone home I knew that would be a very bad idea. I continued to insist on forward movement, I tried circling him back around. Nothing was working, we were getting further and further back the way we had come. So I turned him towards home and made him back the way I wanted to go. Something in his brain must have clicked because I was able to turn him back around and take a few steps forward. Then the bike popped back out. I guess he realised it was no big deal because seeing it the second time seemed to encourage him forward. Weirdo!
We made it all the way to the driveway the bike came out of (bike no longer in sight) and Tuck spooked at nothing. After a few more calm steps forward I decided to stop pushing my luck and turned him back towards home. 2 cars and one more spook (at crows) later we pulled into the driveway safe and sound. He was a bit of a dork but over all I was happy with our solo hack.
Sunday it was time to get back to work. I’ve been reading everyone’s lesson and training posts and realised that I don’t focus enough on the finer points. So I continued to work on getting him to move off my leg using a lot of transitions. But instead of just doing transitions I focused on the quality of the transition. Yes we can trot to halt but is it pretty… not always. I did a little no stirrup work to start to fix my shortcomings and then we headed out to the field with the hill to chase some geese do some hill work.
Chasing the geese made the hill work slightly more fun. Tuck was even starting to herd them. At one point we were cantering up the hill and the geese in front of us were riled enough to take flight. Tucks head came up, his ears perked and I could almost read his mind… ‘how the heck do I get them up there???’
Does your horse have any funny quirks when out of the ring?