I am going to have to start having one of the boys come out and take some pictures! I need evidence to show you that I'm really doing this! Heck, I need to convince myself -- sometimes I can't believe it. I can just hear Terri saying "this stuff really works, folks!"
Had a few sessions with Black over the weekend. Ended Sunday with barebacking in the round pen. Although I spent a lot of the weekend working on discing (or is it disking... never can figure out which way to spell it) the arena & putting in cones, barrels and other toys, I spent time in the arena with the other horses. They were good tests to whether my set up worked or not.
I have cones in two corners, barrels in the other 2 and a barrel in the center. I set up cavalettis along the south end and a pvc pipe "walkway" with a phone pole jump along the east rail. Also tossed a tire and a tarp in for good measure & tied a rope to a log and left it stand in the corner.
Tonight I warmed up Black in the round pen. Then saddled him and took him in the arena. I did not immediately mount up, but we walked the rail and looked at all the obstacles. Stepped over the log, walked over the tarp. Interested, but not intimidated. Stood while I mounted up and we started walking the rail. After a few times around, I moved him into a trot. Nicely over the cavalettis, trotted over the phone pole, never missed a corner! We did this for several rotations. I upped the bar a bit and moved him quicker over the pole & we jumped! Yeah! Tried loping, but we haven't done much of that in the round pen & I wasn't sure if he was carrying his head low or ready to buck, so didn't push it. Decided to focus on what was working and stay with it.
Changed direction and trotted some more. Posted the trot, sat the trot... didn't matter. He was very comfortable, I was comfortable. Thinking about Julie B's recent figure 8's with AJ, I decided to take Black off the rail. I had asked Julie how she kept him going if he tried to stall out. She said she would just keep squeezing with her leg. That is such the obvious answer, but I think I was scared to ask that of Black for fear of his reaction. But tonight, when I went off the rail and around the center barrel, I kept pressure on and he kept trotting. We weaved around the tire and around the corner barrels. We would take the arena catty corner and then in reverse. He never slowed, he never missed a turn. I wanted to shout to the world!
It was dusk when we left the arena and headed down to my mother in laws along the corn field road. He never tried to snitch any corn; just focused on where we were going. Rode the high rode in the hay pasture and came back next to the pond. When we got back to the cornfield road, I moved him into a nice, collected trot and we went the entire road and this very comfortable speed. I felt the wind on my face.
When we got to the end of the cornfield road, we walked the rest of the way home. It was dark. Unsaddled, brushed him and turned him out with the herd.
When I came in the house, John said "where were you?". Told him I had the most incredible ride on the black horse tonight! I don't think he gets it. He could get on the colt and ride him any time. But not sure how much the horse learned that way. I don't think he understands what it feels like to connect with an animal you hadn't connected with before. To know that what he did today for me, we couldn't have done together a month ago.
We are making progress. I can see it and I can feel it!!