In three short rides, he has it down.
I love that horse. Seriously, I have probably spent at the most, 20 minutes, working on that in the past 3 rides and he is totally cool with it, his headset is low, and he was performing perfectly. A nice slow jog that impressed my hard to please mother, and a really awesome lope.
We took them out around 2 yesterday in the freezing cold, I bundled up and we made do. Red trotted next to me in the pasture and we ran down, didn't even need a lead. Got him tied and he kept walking around in the tie, I think he was antsy to go. As soon as I got the saddle on, he was chilled out and content with sleeping. He was being barn sour, so I stretched his legs to check for stiffness. A little stiff, but nothing bad, probably just from the colder weather since it was so warm and then cold. Nothing to worry about and as soon as he got stretched, he was willing again. He kept moving when I went to mount which is his new thing. I hate that, but I got on pretty quickly. We trotted around while we waited and then I made him stand for about 25 minutes, he fell asleep and I just sat there and kept the reins on his neck. Red's strongest point? That horse will stand for days. Perfect for those "hurry up and wait" moments!
|I wish his mane was a teeny bit longer. :/ But his forelock is getting better/|
|Standing and sleeping. ;)|
We went out to the fruit and berry patch this time, "A" was riding Dusty, the new TWH that is slightly cray cray, but amazingly-he did perfect.
We ended up having to cross a TON of water. Like, at least 4 foot deep, just from the recent rain. Dusty spooked a bit over that, gave it the stink eye and crossed it begrudgingly. Annabelle and Spirit were good, and of course, Red wanted to play in it but listened to me and decided to jump over a log in the middle of it. Awesome. ;)
|Red isn't the tallest of the group, but he's definitely the biggest. And his booty is booty-licious.|
Red was an angel. He was willing to be the guinea pig to show Dusty that new things were okay, and at one point, he even snuggled up to his neck when Dusty was freaking.
We went up to the goat pen with the huge dog Ted and a bunch of the goats were out, so Red, being the wanna-be rodeo horse that he is, was all excited. The other horses refused to go help, so Red and I herded them back in. It was lackluster because they all just walked back in slowly, but it was good to see how Red would react. He liked the goats and liked running around and playing, plus Ted didn't bother him in the slightest so yay.
|His mane is turning a blueish black..|
We went everywhere. Over ditches, around cars, everywhere but concrete for me and the big guy, don't want to make him stiff again.
We did a lot of trot work and some cantering, but we mostly kept it slow and easy and worked on his headset and getting him to be softer and make his frame a bit easier. He's a big dude, I'd be willing to say that he's around 1,300+ pounds right now and full of muscle, so it's a bit harder for him to get his huge body to comply, but he's doing really, really well. He's probably one of the fanciest movers out at the barn right now, as far as the stock horses go. Obviously the gaited breeds are probably a bit better at moving than he is, haha.
Once we headed back, I got to hop on Dusty for a few minutes and try him out. Holy moly, that horse is the most amazing thing I've ever sat on. I mean, I wouldn't trade Red for him because...yeah. But geeze, we racked and paced and I never budged in the saddle.
|Okay, those stirrups were the longest things I have ever seen. ROFL. I'm not that tall, "A"!|
It actually made me feel really good as a rider. I feel like I keep putting myself in the mediocre category and maybe I can branch out of that a little now. Yeah, Red has a rough trot and it hurts my EQ a bit, but I'm able to sit it and I'm able to control him. We've done a lot of crazy stuff and I've survived, I've pretty much 100% rewired Red's whole brain and mindset. When I got him, he was timid, lazy, felt bad and didn't know what on earth he was doing. The horse could not canter to save his life, he neck reined but not that well, he didn't go off of leg cues, etc. I've done a good job with him, but I don't really see it as me making him a good horse-he was an AMAZING horse when I got him, he just wasn't being used to his potential. For a teenaged girl who had never had a horse before to be able to retrain him into something amazing....I couldn't have done that without him having a really, really good mind.
But riding Dusty made me feel a bit better. I was able to do something I had never done, and do it fairly well. Riding a walker is a lot different than I expected, but I enjoyed it. I won't lie, I didn't want to get off. He was a lot of fun. I would've loved to have gone up in the pasture and just let him run. It was weird though, he liked a tighter rein, and I have spent the past year working on getting a loose rein. But he kept his head so far up and close, I only had about a foot of space between my hands and his head.
Once we were done with Dusty, I gave Red some treats and got him all tucked in the barn. He was exhausted after our long ride and yawned the whole time. He followed me around everywhere before he saw the treats and it made me feel good. Amateur rider or a good rider, my horse loves me and I love him back, so that's the most important thing.