Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Day 4 The first ride
Today was the day! Once i arrive at the barn, I go first to Eclipse's pen and invite him to have some water while I finish my coffee. I look forward to the day when he nickers when he sees me coming. I go to the feed room and prepare his morning mix of Timothy Balance Cubes, whole oats, Equine Natural Choice herb supplements, and Low starch chopped forage... Yummy! Can't wait to see him blossom under his new diet! Well I put it out there that I would be doing the first ride today and was glad I was able to make that happen since I had an audience! Thank you all that came out short notice to see.
After the morning work was done, I gathered up my equipment and arranged it in the round pen in preparation for the first ride. The more I work with him on his yields and circling the less he is tossing his head and expressing himself, always a good sign. I saddle up and tested the waters with my buoys again and there was no crow hopping, so all looked good. I played with mounting from both sides, hopping up and patiently until I could mount Eclipse from both sides with out him moving his feet. Once we got that accomplished we then we worked on lateral flexion. Now for the scary part... moving forward. He offered to walk off and I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. He wandered around the round pen for a few minutes, not sure what to think of his current predicament. In fact he felt like he was looking for a place to roll. Once I felt him relax and move out at the walk, I tried our luck at the trot.
As I suspected we spent a lot of time going back and forth in front of the gait... the closest point to the filly's pen. When I do my first ride I work on one thing at a time. For example if i am working on the concept of go forward then I don't work on, in what direction. Well I mustered up the courage to ask for more and got it. The first few times he would trot he would go a few steps and stop because he was unsure, but as he grew in confidence he would go for longer. I know I was moving on the right track when his confidence turned to cockiness. That head toss that I am so familiar with was my warning that attitude was soon to follow. He would twist and crow hop for a split second until I picked up the lead and shut him down by bending him. This went on a couple of times, we were struggling over the pants in the relationship. We worked the round pen at a trot until he willingly did a couple of laps at the trot and called it good. I dismounted and took the saddle off and let him roll.
There is nothing like a good hosing and a couple flakes of hay in the shade at the end of a good work out.