Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First ride at new barn

Took Mac to the new barn on Sunday and he got settled in. I visited him on Monday and played with him in the round pen, just doing some ground work at liberty (move your shoulders, move your haunches, stand, come to me, let me take off my long winter coat and flap it around and throw it on your back, etc.) and that was fun. He did want to run around and buck and fart, which I didn't want him to do as there was a slippery spot. Once he realized that was not our purpose for being in there he settled and we had fun playing.

I took him in the cross tie area and didn't tie him but just stood (ground tying style) and groomed him. That was fine. We had some hand grazing time and then I put him up and gave him his bucket.

Yesterday I had yoga so didn't get to work with him but did make him his bucket which he thought was tasty.

Chatted with trainer when I first got there today and she said that he seems quite happy and relaxed there, so that's good. He seems to like his neighbors, and spends time watching the cows. He goes in his stall to pee and eat his hay and he's got lots of room to go out and walk around.

I decided today would be a good day for our first ride. Of course one has to get tacked up before riding so I put him in the cross tie area and worked on tying a bit. He cross ties well at home but this is a new place and there's stuff for him to see all around his peripheral vision (vs. at home when he's in the barn there's mostly just stuff in front of him to look at). I tied up one side but he kept trying to turn and look behind him. At one point he got antsy and tried to back out of the tie area but I got him stopped. So I un-did the cross ties and we worked on just standing there with head straight ahead and not wiggling all around and trying to see what's behind or go out in front to try to eat grass. That worked well. I'll definitely be focusing on training in the cross ties over the next few weeks.

I had my big, clunky muck boots on and brought my riding boots with me. My riding boots had big spurs on them (can't even remember the last time I rode and whom with those spurs!) and I was debating about wearing my muck boots or riding boots because I was too lazy to take the spurs off! Decided on the muck boots, which was a good decision, because I wouldn't have needed spurs today.

Took him to the indoor where someone was just finishing a lesson and I thought it would be a good discipline (as in self-discipline not like I have to discipline him) situation as the mare was leaving and so we'd be in the arena all alone. It is up to me to create his work ethic so he can work quietly in new or uncomfortable situations. When the mare left, so did his attention!

We started by just walking around in a large circle. He had no interest in standing still so we changed direction, did small circles, figure 8s, etc. At one point he called to the mare but she didn't answer and he didn't call again. The more we walked and halted, the longer he could stand still until we had a short stop-and-chat with the mare's owner. Great! Time to move on to the trot.

He was still interested in where the mare went, but he (mostly) listened to me and worked as I asked. We started with trotting down the long side and walking on the short side of the arena. Then we moved to trotting one long side, then one short side, then one long side, then walk. Then we progressed to trotting large circles and I had a couple really good ones with good contact and bending and forward so we quit the trot work. We worked a little more at the walk with transitions and moving forward and back within the gait as well as halting. I thought it was a really great first day, especially considering that we haven't had a lesson (or a ride, save for Sunday for 15 minutes) since November. I actually expected that we'd be starting at square one or square minus one, so I was very very pleased that not only did we start where we left off but I thought it was actually an improvement.

One of these days I'll bring out my camera...

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