...getting to feel free and easy... I've got the song running through my head; thinking about my first week training Winston.
Sunday our trail ride went well for his first time out. I'm looking forward to including trail work on a regular basis.
Wednesday, we worked in the arena. It was his first time in the arena ALONE and he was a bit nervous. He didn't spook or misbehave, but he was very forward and had trouble relaxing. I let him trot until he settled and that took 20 minutes. Thank goodness I've been going to the gym and working on my cardio fitness. I needed it! He was also throwing his head around, like he did on the trail, especially at walk. I know he needs dental work so it could be that, or the bit, or just not being familiar with contact. After our ride, I told him he was a good boy and he said "damn right, I am." ...not like I was used to with Jackson, who would say "really? I am?? Yay!!"
I talked to my trainer, Gayle, Wednesday night. We were scheduled to take our first lesson with her today but there is another outbreak of the Equine herpes virus -- on both sides of the mountain. We are on a self imposed lock down and her barn is as well. Hopefully, there won't be any more cases and we can take a lesson next week. I asked her about the head tossing thing and she agreed with my thoughts about the cause. Then she asked me if he is light in the bridle. I said, "very." She said sometimes horses that are very light in the bridle react this way. She advised me to back way off, and just ride him on a long rein at walk. She said just to take up as much contact as he is comfortable with at this point.
Friday, I put Winston on the longe line and let him free jump. I wanted to see how he jumps before trying it on his back. If he jumped four feet over a two foot fence, I wasn't going to go there. But he didn't. He hopped over with just as much as it took to clear the jump. I plan to incorporate some jumping and cavelletti in the future. I love that he is so versatile!
Today, we schooled in the arena again. He was relaxed. I kept him on a long rein at walk and the lightest of contact at trot. He was very happy; stretching and bending and lifting his back. I also worked with him on being light off my leg as I was having to give a bit of a kick to get him into trot. It only took one very light tap with the whip and he was on it. I hardly needed to squeeze. As soon as I thought "trot" he was there.
When we finished riding, I rubbed his forehead and thanked him. He thanked me back. We're figuring each other out.
I took off his tack, rubbed him down, and let him graze. I sat on the hillside and kept him company.