I rode my boy Dakota for the first time in a few months today. He did really well, considering I havenít even messed with him a whole lot in months besides to feed him. I left at around 1:30 and just got back at 6:00. Dakota pitched a small bucking fit (first time heís ever bucked on purpose with me) when we reached my cousins house and he realized that we werenít going to turn around. I really got after him with a switch and popped him a few times and made him canter for about ten minutes. After that he straightened right up.
We met up with my friend and her horse, Flicka. (Flicka is about 10 years old and is exactly 15 hands... I could really tell that Dakota has grown taller... Heís very close to 15.2 hands right now) Last time we rode Flick-Flick and my Cody-boy together, Dakota tried to kick Flicka every time she came within distance. This time, he only tried to kick her once, and that was just because she ran up on him. We rode down to the creek and rode the horses in it a little bit. Both horses got really wet and splashed like crazy. They really enjoyed it.
We rode for about two miles after that before going back to the creek. My cousins were there playing in it this time. My oldest younger cousin (sheís 12, her little sister is 10, and her baby sister is 3) took Dakota from me and rode him all up and down the creek. He did so well for her, even though she has a broken wrist and could only direct him with one hand.
Afterwards, her baby sister asked to ride. I trust my boy unconditionally when it comes to letting little children on his back. We put her on the saddle and I led her around for a few minutes before I had to go.
The way home was relatively quiet. Dakota had one episode where he wanted to go home with Flicka, but after I made him flex and get his attention back on me, he was fine. We cantered a little bit and I got him to do a hand-gallop... each time we went faster than a walk, every time I pulled him back he walked on a loose rein just like he hadnít been trotting/cantering just seconds prior. Iím so proud of him. This was his first long ride since before April.