This past Sunday I took Harvey (read my other blogs for a better understanding of Harvey) to a new place to ride. This facility has an arena and trails for riding. I thought this was going to be the perfect place to take Harvey for our first trail ride in over 6 years. Harvey has been on one trail ride about a year ago with someone else riding him; it didn't go as well as I had hoped. After that I took a few steps back with Harvey and worked on desensitizing. I really thought I had done my work and that he would be ready for this ride. I was wrong!
We got to the facility and got all the horses unloaded. I got Harvey groomed and tacked. Then we went to the arena for a little bit of lunging. They did not have a round pen so I had to work him on a line, which normally doesn't work well for Harvey. He did great; he was paying attention and being a perfect gentleman. Then I got ready to mount... he would not stand still. He never wants to stand still for mounting, I have been working with him on this but he was worse than normal. I finally got on him and we started around the arena to warm up. And then... three deer ran across the field, the cows moved, he heard a truck, the wind blew and he was determined that everything was going to eat him.
From that point on he jogged and trotted all over the arena, he did not want to walk. The "one rein stop" turned into a cue to spin. I could bump the reins to get him to slow down but to use my reins for a stop was not happening, he was throwing his head and fighting every time I tried. Don't misunderstand, I could get him to stop, I just sat deep in my seat, threw my feet forward, and yelled "whoa". I am hoping it looked really great, like when the reining horses come to a sliding stop, but I'm guessing it was no where near that. I am confused about why my "alternate" stop training was completely forgotten though.
Harvey and I worked for over an hour. We never made it out on trail but I still feel like I accomplished a lot. I was very frustrated that we didn't get out on the trail but then a friend pointed out that I should be proud of myself for staying on him and working through it. You know she is right! A year ago I would have dismounted him, tied him to the trailer and pouted while my friends were on the trails. Not this time! I rode him and kept him working. We did circles, over poles, short lines and just random moves. I decided that if he wanted to act crazy it was best to keep him thinking and just make sure I had control of him at all times.
Be safe, have fun, and ride on... (Don't forget to vote if you enjoyed my blog.)