Exhaustion after a long day of treating feet and a preceding night of poor sleep.
The Dynamic Duo hanging over the arena fence to watch the show.
Gale force winds picking up out of the blue.
A missing right front shoe.
All obstacles thrown at me last night and last year I would have let any one of them stop me from riding. But I’m really trying to embrace living more and so instead of calling it quits and retreating back inside, I saddled up and rode anyway.
H’Appy is getting used to me and I am starting to get used to him as well. Part of the issue is that he has a naturally much larger stride than my little Gemmie and I need to let him do him without shutting it down all the time. The other part of the problem is that his head can be pretty firmly up his butt at times and he needs convincing that I really do mean what I ask.
Like trotting nicely instead of trantering or slamming down to a walk in a corner because he doesn’t want to any more.
It is getting there though. We didn’t have the typical first ten minute fight. Instead he came out really good and then after I gave him a walk break he decided returning to work was optional.
Sorry. It isn’t.
We worked on the second exercise which is a single ground pole in the center of a figure eight (so in the middle of the long diagonal lines) working on staying straight across the diagonal, slicing over the ground pole at an angle without losing rhythm, and having proper bend in the far turns.
It took a few turns through the exercise to get him listening, but once he caved in to the work it was really great.
Then I decided to let him walk which was right about the time Dusty got home from work and entered the arena to talk/watch. H’Appy decided this meant he was done (it had been maybe 20 minutes) and he clung to Dusty (who he hates by the way) to save him.
Asking him to trot again was a bit rough and that is when most of his evasions came out: curling behind the bit, shaking his head, rooting. I rode each out (man but I do love this saddle with all my heart) and eventually he relaxed once again.
Which is when I decided to jump him for the first time in like four months. I had set a 2′ vertical but as we approached and he locked on I wimped out and turned him off. With Trainer’s anger ringing in my ears for teaching him to say no, I asked Dusty to make it a cross rail and he attacked that like a super star.
After we trotted in to the fence, he cantered away very much proud of himself for hopping over it. We did it a few times each direction and then I called it a night.
He really likes jumping and I think I need to suck it up and grow a set so I can ride him better over fences. The baggage is real but he is teaching me that he will say yes when I ask. It’s what he does on the back side that I need to worry about more than the approach or going over but I can only work on that if I, you know, let him go over the darn thing.
It should be nice enough to ride again Thursday and as long as he either gets a new shoe or is sound in the boot I plan to set up a small course with my four jumps and play around with him giving him a fun day.
Much to work on, much to celebrate.