Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Ride In Outdoor at WW Fairgrounds

Last night we threw Spots and Annie's own two boys in the trailer and hauled to the Fairgrounds.  Des sat in his stroller with Annie watching him and she videoed me working Spots.  Myself.  I lunged him both ways, he was great.  He looked around and eyed things, but didn't spook or shy.  I had to remind him to give me an ear a few times, that was all.  As we finished up, a huge 6-horse trailer pulled up and parked right next to the arena.  They unloaded several horses and Spots whinnied a couple times, but was still behaving.  I was super nervous since he'd never been ridden in there before and I was doing it all myself, no putting Annie on first or anything.

I climbed up and we worked on his jog because that is his comfort gait.  He did the slowest jog I've never ridden.  He was listening, halting and going when asked.  Turning off my leg.  We jogged around and around, with me reminding him to listen and not focus on the commotion getting larger around us.  Then I asked him to trot out and we got a good trot going.  We walked, trotted, walked trotted.  I almost chickened out and didn't canter, but then I decided I should trust him and just do it.  We got some awesome canter.  We did several transitions and they got better each time.  On his "hard" side he took the wrong lead, but flying changed when I bumped him with my outside leg.  He did that a couple times, then changed on his own a couple times, then took the correct lead right off.  This is SO exciting because with Dazzle it was such a long, hard battle.  We worked over a year to get her correct lead on her hard side.  His "easy" side he was great, correct lead and went right into the gait.

He is taking the canter when asked much faster now.  He is keeping the gait until I ask him to trot almost every time.  We can do several circles without him breaking gait.  Our transitions are getting better and better.He listens really well and lets me steer even at the canter.  He will move off my legs and listen to my weight cues.  I think he's picked it all up easier than Dazzle.  It seemed like a lot of this took a lot longer and caused me more frustration with her.  He is light on aids and has a better work ethic.  He loves to be there doing something with me.

I rode about 15 minutes, then hopped down and Annie took him back to the trailer and let him stand while she rode one of her horses and I took pictures.  Des watched for a few minutes, but then got bored and started fussing.  I decided not to push it with him because he'd been good for so long while I rode.  We packed up and headed back to the trailer so Annie could get her 2nd horse ready to ride.  I untacked Spots and brushed him and he stood calmly at the trailer.  Des watched.  Then the rest of the group Annie was meeting showed up and Des enjoyed meeting their horses and getting pushed in his new umbrella stroller.  I took him back to the car to get in and he he wouldn't let me pick him up out of the stroller; he pointed at the horses and asked to go back and see them more.  I pushed him back towards the horses and they all headed in to the indoor, so he got a personal parade.  He loved it.  Finally, he let me pack him up and take him home.  When Annie got home, she said Spots has stood calmly at the trailer during the ride and was not sweaty or upset about being left at the trailer at all.  Hopefully that means he is going to be not herd bound.  I hate herd-bound horses.  Such a pain.

Video of us!

Spots has been to the fairgrounds twice before; once last fall at Fair, and he was down in the 4H arena, never went into the covered, and then once earlier this spring at a little show and he was only lunged in it, not ridden.  He was really nervous that day and didn't go in many classes.  He was lunged and walked around a lot.  So this was his first time riding in there, second time being there.  I was thrilled and excited and proud of myself for not chickening out and proud of Spots for being so good and proving his sense once again.

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