I’m so proud of my sweet Buckshot! Last Friday, I went to the barn and it was a lovely, sunny, ever so slightly warm day- perfect. After we had done our warm up and started trotting, I let him walk out of the arena, and he headed to the trailhead. In my mind, I said – hooray, and today’s the day, we’ll go through the entire trail by ourselves! So we started on the trail, with Buckshot walking purposefully. At two spots, he wanted to go off the main trail, onto mini trails, and so we went. We reached the point where we had gone the farthest by ourselves, and I could feel his uncertainty starting. But I urged him on, with squeezes, with walk on, Buckshot, you’re doing great! And he went forward! We continued on through the trail, with me talking a lot, partly faking my confidence, partly building up my confidence, and it worked!
We got to the field and walked on the perimeter. Around the corner and to the reining arena. All by ourselves! With my sweet horse listening to me and responding! In the arena, we did some trotting. When I asked for the canter he was rather sloppy about it, I’m not sure why. So I asked for the trot again, and urged him on. And he responded with a wonderful, powerful extended trot that made me feel like I was flying! He could go on for a long time at this extended trot, so I took it, and enjoyed it so much. We also did a full reining pattern, with lots of circles and maneuvers, mostly at the trot. But we stayed with it and finished it, a good accomplishment. He is so willing to do what I ask, he amazes me. After such good work, we then went down the farm road to the main barn, and I dismounted. I was so proud of him – we rode the entire trail by ourselves, a first for us! And we did a full pattern at the arena. I couldn’t have been prouder of both of us!
The next day, during our warm up, Buckshot wanted to go on the trail! Headed right over to the trail head on his own. I had to stop him, and go back into the arena because we hadn’t done one of the things I do during our warmup. I needed to hop off of him and tighten the cinch, which I always do halfway through the warm up. After that, we headed back to the trailhead and through the trail. He did great- he got a little hesitant at some spots, and walked with little bitty, teeny weeny steps, but he listened to me and continued to go forward. We again made it to the field, and to the reining arena by ourselves. He was impatient and wanted to head back down the road to the barn, so I had to keep him busy in the arena. Again, his canter felt unbalanced or sloppy and he only would canter three or four strides before breaking gait. I was puzzled about that- was it the still-warm weather? Was he mentally uncomfortable at the arena by ourselves? Was it something physical, and he felt stiff? I’m not sure.
But we headed back, and did more trotting at the main arena, and then I dismounted. A great ride.
Sunday was cloudy and rainy so we didn’t ride, but I had fun with Buckshot in other ways. I knocked some persimmons off the tree so he could eat them. I took him out grazing a couple of times during rain breaks. And one really funny thing happened. I went into his stall at his pasture with a curry comb and brush to brush him during one of the rain breaks. I started brushing his face, and then down his neck, and he backed up, wanting me to stay at his face. So I chatted with him and brushed him a bit and just hung out. Everytime I moved to his side he backed up so we were face to face. So I decided to move outside of the stall and brush him where he had more room to move around. He seemed very engaged in our play time or chat time. He came out and I brushed his face. Again, if I moved, he moved. So I started moving in a semicircle in front of him, facing him, and he matched my movements. If I moved five steps to the left, he moved five steps to the right, facing me! When I moved to the right, he matched me. I added in some rhythm and we kept doing this back and forth movements, and I suddenly stopped and said “Buckshot, we’re dancing!” It was so neat. If I moved just two steps, he matched just the two steps. Back and forth, back and forth. It was such fun! Then Lucky came out of his stall to watch us. Buckshot kindof lost some interest at that point. But what fun! He is such a character at times! Buckshot dances!
So I had a great weekend with him! Just need to figure out what, if anything, is going on with his cantering being off. Yet he had a powerful extended trot. If cantering takes a lot of effort, that he didn’t want to do, so does the extended trot. He would do one gait well, and strongly, but not the other. A mystery. So I’ll stay on it and see what this weekend brings. Hope you had a wonderful time with your horses and hope you are having good riding weather