Last weekend I had a great time with Buckshot. We had nice weather and the footing was good all around. On Saturday as we did our phase one walking in the arena, Buckshot was very low energy. He preferred the gait of “whoa.” LOL! The previous day had been uncharacteristically hot here, reaching 80 degrees, so I think the horses were sapped of some of their normal energy. After our walking, he had good energy at the trot, but not for very long. We also did a few good canters, where he was very energetic. I was so proud of him during the following trail ride. He is such a good trail horse!
Three times as our class went through the woods, he and I took the lead when the lead horse wouldn’t go forward. Once was at a small bridge, once was when we were exiting the woods into the hay field, and once was at a hunting blind. I don’t know if he has even seen a hunting blind before. As our group approached it, we riders could see the blind, and a piece of cloth hanging from it blowing in the wind. We all stopped and the BO assessed the situation before we got too close to it. There were electric guy wires nearby that a horse could spook into if they spooked at the blind and blowing cloth. I offered to take the lead and Buckshot walked right by it without a care. He is such a wonderful horse! He has other times that he gets nervous, but on the trail, with whatever comes up, he just takes it in stride and is fine with it, and is fine with being asked to lead through it as well. Good, good boy!
On Sunday we loaded several horses and went to the reining trainer’s farm for a clinic. I have improved my ability to tie him to the trailer and tack him up. I still need to get someone’s help with bridling him. And I guess he is eager to get started because as we walk toward the mounting block, I need to tighten his cinch, and it is hard to get him to stop for this. I have been working on clicker training with this, and at our home farm, he will stop and stand still, let me tighten it, move to his head, make the click noises with my mouth and give him his treat. But at the reining farm, he will only stand still for a moment and then he is moving forward. I’ll continue to work with him on this.
After our phase one walking, the clinic started with each of us doing a full reining pattern (pattern 8 if you are interested). It involves, ideally, spins, loping big and small circles, loping down the long sides of the arena, and roll backs. The trainer lets Buckshot and I do small circles instead of actual spins, and he lets us trot if needed in deference to Buckshot’s age and not being an actual reining horse. But what fun we had doing the pattern! His cantering and trotting were great, and energetic! About halfway through the pattern, I could feel the exertion of the work (mental note to myself to do more of my exercises! LOL) but I was so proud of both of us that we did a good job at it! We even got several compliments! That means a lot because we are probably the oldest horse and oldest rider there. I gave him great praise and lots of treats, and when we got back home, took him back to his pasture so he could immediately roll! What a great horse- I so appreciate him, that he is willing to do such a variety of things with me. Although he isn’t perfect, he is (I think) quite an amazing horse!
We also are continuing our gate work; more on that as we go along. The gate I want us to open is quite a large, long metal gate in the main arena. I am working through how we will do it in my mind, and on the ground, and I am working with him, very slowly, on how to halfpass.
Also, on another topic, last week I decided to have my blog printed into a book. I have seen the ads for this service and I decided to go ahead and do it. I want to have a hard copy to read and refer to, and the price seemed reasonable. I used the Blog2print.com website service, and it was fairly easy to do. My blog- from July to the present- ended up being approximately 90 pages, so it cost me approximately $40 to print it. I just received it today and it is very high quality and nice. I am very pleased with it. I think I’ll print my blog occasionally so that I can read it, and remember past events and accomplishments, at my leisure.
Hope you had a good weekend and that spring is arriving at your barn!