Three blessed hours in the saddle. I think that’s what I’ll say after every trail ride. I grew up riding a lot like this. I don’t think a horse has to work on bending and extending and collecting and stuff all the time. ALL the time. There will come an opportunity in almost every trail ride to engage in these things so one doesn’t need to introduce them deliberately.
So, Shay is a youngish horse. He has thirty days of trail riding training on him so he is capable, trail wise, of doing anything, tackling most any situation he finds himself in. Our last trail ride, we just walked and relaxed and didn’t ask much. This time we did the same for the most part, but it was a much longer trail and so we decided to begin addressing one of Shay’s issues. He actually seems to do fine by himself but he gets very nervous, nay, a bit crazy, if he feels like he is being left behind by the “herd”. So what we did was that I trotted ahead a bit and then walked. He was fine with that and Pogo was fine with that. Then Pogo came up and passed us and trotted ahead. Shay was most definitely NOT ok with that. He got all light in the front and bucked some (but thankfully not very athletically) and threatened to spin and just generally went to pieces under me.
I asked that Pogo just go on so that Shay and I have a chance to work through it -- to allow him to go forward but not too fast and not allow that bucking stuff to get him what he wants. Because I could just feel him saying, “I’m going to intimidate you into letting me have what I want.” So of course, I’m not going to be intimidated. But I am mindful of the dangers of getting thrown off way up here in the National Forest. At least I’m not alone. And have my helmet on. So anyway, we do the leap frog stuff a couple of turns and he’s always nervous but he does get better about letting Pogo go ahead of him a bit. It even made Shay nervous to just trot behind Pogo -- again, he was fine (if slow) leading, but nervous following.
The other thing was a blowdown over the trail. We crossed it on the way up without incident but it looked scarier on the way down. Pogo was led across it and sort of bunny hopped his rear legs over it in a big effort. When he did that, Shay lost it. Both front legs off the ground although he didn’t really raise his body in a rear. Spun a bit. Threatened to buck. Again, I think it was the fear of being left thing because as soon as he believed me that Pogo was just standing on the other side of the log, he settle right down. He crossed the log in good form, backing right off from his urge to rush it when I asked him to settle down.
It was a good long ride. Our legs were numb and the horses were wet. Seeing as how I was a bit sore from riding Rolinette earlier in the week, I was really glad to get this ride in to help work out the sore.
Which, speaking of Rolinette, we decided our tentative goal with her was to ride Training Two at the JEF schooling show which is in five weeks. I’m excited. I was not wanting to be so safe as to go for Intro. But we’ve got a LOT of work to do.