Achylles CA, my equine soulmate!
 
 

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Achylles CA, my equine soulmate!

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        11-11-2013, 10:46 AM
      #1
    Foal
    Talking Achylles CA, my equine soulmate!

    So I bought my first horse EVER last January and thought maybe some of your would be interested in the history behind the two of us, as well as keeping track of our progress..If you aren't interested in a tale of love at first sight, heartbreak, and redemption then feel free to move along! If I do have your attention I invite you to join me as we go back three years.

    It was a hot and humid August afternoon the first time I laid eyes on the most beautiful (albeit I'm a bit biased) arabian gelding I had ever seen. He was two, munching on some hay and generally chillaxing in his stall at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. It was Iowa GoldStar time and he, being an auction gelding, was set to show in the two year old auction classes. I was up helping a friend of mine who had her yearling gelding up to show as well. The owner of Achylles at the time was part of an investment group that my friend was also a part of so we were all stalled together and this is how I met the equine love of my life.

    The show was three days long and we were busy getting horses bathed, groomed and ready for their halter classes. I spent a lot of time in with Achylles lovin on him, giving him cookies telling him what a sweet boy he was and occasionally sneaking him out of his stall to go on walks around the fairgrounds.

    The morning of his first class I stood outside his stall and told him no love till after his class because we wanted to make sure he was focused (he was only 2 after all and had a short atten........squirrel!) The grooming stall was right next to him so he had to endure being close to me while I was getting other horses ready, but not able to get to me. He paced incessantly and at one point stood directly behind me grinding his teeth at me. Due to the heat and the fact that I sweat like a linebacker, I carry bandannas in my pockets. Today I had a nice little black and white camo number tucked precariously in my back pocket. I was working on getting my friends gelding ready for his class when suddenly I felt a tug on my backside! I turned to see Achylles triumphantly waving my bandanna at me (I swear if they could speak he'd have na-na-na-na-naaa-naaa'd at me. I had to give in and go into his stall and tell him what a smart boy he was and give him a quick pat on the neck, because let's be honest that was pretty genius of him. It was love at first sight for the both of us and I remember thinking to myself "gosh someday I'm going to have a horse just like that!"

    Later that year I received a call from his owner who told me he was selling Achylles and said he wanted to give me first crack at buying him since after GoldStar Achylles was all I ever talked about. I felt my heart break when I realized that I wasn't in a place in my life where I could spend the kind of money he was asking or afford to own a horse. With a heavy heart I had to decline and was crushed thinking I would never see Achylles again. Apparently the owner changed his mind because the next year at GoldStar my friend and I got a call that this gentleman needed grooms for the show because he still had Achylles and wanted us to work for him. My heart about jumped out of my chest at the thought of seeing Achylles again! It was as if time had started up right where we left off. He saw me, I saw him and we were both so happy to each other. He nickered at me when I walked into his stall and we stood there enveloped in this kind of calm love that is so hard to explain. Just like the year before we spent all weekend together, I loved on him told him what a handsome boy he was turning into and spent every free minute together. His owner told me that he was sending Achylles to a trainer to be put under saddle because he thought he'd be able to sell Achylles easier if he was broke to ride. I agreed and gave Achylles one last hug (thinking I wouldn't ever see him again) and we both went our separate ways.

    Six months later...
    My friend had partnered on a purebred Arabian filly with Achylles' owner and she was offered full ownership so she was headed to his farm to pick her up. She was so excited and invited me to come along because, due to some things that had not gone so well with the trainer, guess who was back at the farm......Achylles. He had gone to a performance barn for just over a month when something (I don't know exactly what) happened and Achylles was brought back to the farm to basically just sit in a little turnout with nothing to do but walk in circles and toss his head in boredom. The guy who owned him didn't want to put any more money into Achylles because he was a gelding wasn't doing as well as the owner wanted in the show ring and wasn't under saddle yet. He also couldn't sell him.....:)

    We got to the place that Achylles and the filly were living at and I immediately left the group in the driveway as they stood there chatting and let myself into Achylles' little pen. I heard the owner holler at me saying where his halter was and I got Achylles out and we spent 20 minutes or so just walking around and visiting. Again, it was as if we started up where we had left off, except for the fact that he had gotten huge since the last time I saw him! Sadly this visit was a short one and it was getting harder and harder to leave him each time. He seemed upset when I walked away and as I rounded the corner of the barn headed to the truck I heard him whinny. I turned and waved and shouted my goodbye to him, fearing that I wouldn't get another chance to see my buddy again. He whinnied again and I got in the truck and tried not to be heartbroken again knowing that I couldn't afford the price his owner was asking.

    Almost 1 year later I received a phone call. Achylles had spent the year with a local trainer who rode him twice a week and was STILL at the farm. The owner was ready to stop putting all money into him and wanted to sell him. He named his price and I about fell over at how much cheaper he had become in the two years he was for sale. At this point in my life I was in a place that I could have a horse because my friend had a spot open in her pasture and said I could keep him there. I called the guy back and asked if I could come down and "test drive" Achylles. Since I couldn't afford to send him to a trainer I had to make sure he was to a point under saddle that I could take over and advance with him safely.

    It was a crisp fall afternoon last year that my parents and I made the trip to the farm he was at. I felt the surge of excitement as I walked to his pen and put his halter on. This was it.....the day I was going to ride my buddy for the first time, and possibly.....decide to buy him. He kept nuzzling me and looking for cookies and seemed as excited as I was. We got the saddle on, walked to the round pen, and MAGIC happened. He trotted around with me for almost a half hour while my parents and the owner watched and just smiled at us. He was the perfect size for me and he was far enough along that I could easily continue working with him myself. Reluctantly I got off him and told the owner that I was definitely interested, there was a slight hitch in his movement that I needed to have a vet look at before agreeing to the purchase, but that I would schedule it ASAP so I could let him know for sure.

    A few weeks later my friend and I went back down to the farm to meet the vet for the PPE. They were a little nervous with a 5y/o purebred Arabian and said they had the drugs ready in case we needed them for the x-rays. I told the vet we wouldn't need them and she looked at me skeptically....five minutes and two x-rays later the vet AND vet tech couldn't believe what a sweet boy Achylles was. They both told me that if I didn't buy him I was nuts because he was so handsome, smart, and gentle. (And some of you may be thinking, well of course they said that the owner probably put them up to it. NOPE!! This was a vet he didn't know of or use so they were completely un-biased)

    The only thing the vet saw was his club foot on one side. She said the reason he had a hitch in his gait was that the sole of his foot was so thin that it probably hurt when he was working. She also told me that a simple pair of shoes and a good farrier could have fixed the problem if they had taken care of it when he first presented signs of lameness.....I'm telling you right now....If we had brought the trailer down with us that day he would have been loaded straight into it and been taken home. Sadly, I had to put him back one last time. But this time there was excitement and anticipation, not sadness when I walked away. Before I took the halter off I rubbed his forehead, told him how awesome he was and whispered in his ear that I'd be back, and the next time he'd be going home with me.

    We made the deal a month and a half later and brought Achylles home :)


    If you read to the end God Bless ya! I know, it may only be a special story to me, but this horse is so amazing and I am so lucky to have him!!!! I am planning on using this thread to journal about my progress with him so if you are interested or have any ideas/wisdom/comments, I welcome them! And every "that's such a great story" or "he's so pretty" = 1 cookie for Achylles when I get home :) Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more adventures!!
         
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        11-11-2013, 10:49 AM
      #2
    Foal
    A few photos

    Here are a few photos, I have a whole album of him on my profile page :)
    Attached Images
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        11-18-2013, 10:17 AM
      #3
    Foal
    November 17, 2013

    Well I know its been a bit since I posted, but I picked up four days of overtime at my job so I was working 16 hour days and only had time to feed goof ball in the mornings. Luckily he lives at my friends barn and she is sweet enough to take care of his evening feedings for me when I'm working overtime or at my second job. So not much (ok so not any) work got done with him last week. I think I rode him on Friday right after work and lets just say, he acted like he didn't know what I wanted him to do. We rode by ourselves so I know that was a bit of our problem, but he wasn't listening to my leg, I had to use my hands more than I wanted to and we didn't want to keep a steady pace. I guess that's what I get for not riding him every other day!!! We were making such great progress a week ago, but he got ridden 4 out of the 5 days I was able to work him and with last week being so busy at work I just didn't get the time to give him conistent attention....boooooo......So we went back to basics, did lots of big circles and when sped up his walk we went in little bitty "naughty" circles till he slowed down, then we would go back to our larger circles. I LOVE the place he is at right now because they do eventing and jumping so there are poles and jumps and all sorts of stuff to do. I put poles on the ground and make him walk between them, we put the jump cups at the very bottom and he walks over small X's....basically I try to engage his brain as much as possible because he gets bored so quickly. I love my Arabian, but sometimes he's too smart for his own good :) Walking over obstacles has really helped his attention and courage and its so much fun seeing him progress....and so frustrating when we have a ride like Friday, but I digress.

    Yesterday it was too windy to ride so I thought instead of riding I'd lunge him in the eventing field and get him some exercise that way. Chelsea (my friend who owns the property and has many horses etc etc) has a great eventing field with a bank jump, some jumps made out of logs, a railroad tie jump a ditch jump with water and plenty of room to put standard arena type jumps around however we want. I started by just asking Achylles to walk and to my surprise he walked out and didn't try to take off, which is usually what he does on the lunge line. So we walked, I tried a few cues I saw on a Clinton Anderson video and they actually worked which was pretty awesome. Then I thought to myself......self, lets see if he will go up/down the smallest bank jump, just for s#!ts and giggles....So we walked in a circle and he ended up in front of the 1ft bank and hopped right up....pretty cool right? So we picked up the trot and trotted the bank up a few times, reversed and went down. Sweet, he was over jumping it at first but then figured out that he could pretty much step up the jump if he timed it just right. The bank is set up with a 1 ft, 2 ft and 3 ft increments so when schooling the eventing horses we have a bank for anyone to use. I was feeling pretty good about the way he was going and wanted to see if he'd go up the big 3ft bank. We started lunging at the trot and this time when he came around he saw the big bank, I encouraged him with a "get up bub" and holy hell he rocketed into the air lol. I am not kidding when I'm saying he probably could have cleared at least 4ft from a stand still. He had slowed down and almost halted in front of the jump so he jumped up from a near stand still. Let me tell you I had the biggest flipping grin on my face, and I'm a western girl. But it was pretty sweet to watch his athleticism finally get some useable work done since all we do in the arena is work on our communication and walk. I'm thrilled to announce that I have found the perfect way to build his confidence AND tire him out all in the same session :) He's so dang pretty and to see him do some hard work and enjoy it really makes me happy. I will have Chelsea take video and pics next time we go out and lunge in the eventing field. I'm hoping to get him out Tuesday since I don't work tomorrow night, so cross your fingers that we get a nice evening tomorrow!
         
        11-20-2013, 10:18 AM
      #4
    Foal
    Windy windy windy!

    Ok so I'm a little tired of this wind. I didn't work my second job last night and was looking forward to working Achylles under saddle. Sadly, I must report that the wind made riding a near impossibility. He's so green that if we ride in light to moderate wind he pays more attention to the moving objects around the arena than he does to me, SO we lunge in the event field.

    He is quickly learning that when something is in front of him when he is on the lunge line its ok to jump over it. I do have a verbal command that I use, but sometimes he jukes around the obstacle and breaks into a canter. Imagine a small child you are trying to get to go down a slide at the park and they run away laughing screaming NOOOOO. Yeah, that's what I imagine is going through his head when he does that lol. Psyches me out every time and all I can do is laugh at him for being so athletic.

    I think he really likes the obstacles though. I know its going to do wonders for building up muscles, as well as get his confidence up for when we start riding outside of the arena next spring. He's never been ridden in open spaces because, as the guy who put him under saddle for the previous owner told him, "he wants to just go when you take him into open spaces."......ummmmm if you are a horse trainer shouldn't you, oh I don't know, work on that? I was told not to take him out of the round pen till he was dead broke.....and I said heck no. He is absolutely FINE in an outdoor arena, and we have even gone into the larger eventing field, which is essentially an open space (ok it has a fence but its much much larger than the arena). I just have to make sure I am making him mind and work while we are in there. Instead of only worrying about going forward.....I don't have a high opinion of the guy who broke him out lets just say that....As long as I have my "naughty circles" to put him into if he goes faster than I want him to in a gait (currently only walking, but we do trot if he is responding well at the walk) we do just fine. Plus walking over poles and around obstacles keeps him focused and attentive.

    Sorry for the tangent, but we had a great session yesterday. We worked over the railroad tie for about 15 minutes at first, just lunging to the left for a while then changing to the right etc. This was the first time he's been asked to jump the tie but after he figured out what I wanted him to do he accepted it pretty well. He still jumps over it like its 8ft tall so I'm hoping eventually he figures out that he can jump it in stride instead of stopping and jumping it. After we finished at the tie we went over to the 3 way bank jump and went up and down a few times then finished on the flat walking on the lunge line. He did really well! Like I said earlier, I think he enjoys having something to do other than going in boring circles for a half hour.

    After we got done lunging I did some halter schooling with him just to play. He likes showing off and showing in halter classes, but I don't know if I'll be able to afford it this year...we will see...But I stood him up a few times, told him how handsome he was and we ended our lesson.

    Pretty good evening all around, except for me not getting to actually ride. It's ok I know we are coming into the time of year when the weather is all over the place so I will just have to hope for crap weather when I have to work my part time night job and nice days when I only work at my full time job.

    He seems to be putting good weight on finally. I have a thread about getting weight on him and I'm happy to report with feeding twice a day and giving him beet pulp and alfalfa, he is finally starting to get his weight up to a respectable level. I'm going to re-assess his ration once winter is over since I will most likely be riding a lot more once the weather gets nice, but for now what I am doing is working so yay!

    I'll try to get pictures of the eventing field and arena so you guys that are following our journey can see what I'm talking about when I journal. Hope to get some good shots of the boy soon too so you all can see how he's looking!
         
        11-26-2013, 10:40 AM
      #5
    Foal
    Not much going on in the world of mister Achylles. Its been stupid windy and cold this past week and with me working a lot I haven't had much time to do anything with him except groom him and do a bit of halter schooling. We did break down and put his mid-weight blanket on the other night since it was so bitterly cold with the wind. Other than that not much to report! Hoping to get a nice day or two this holiday weekend so I can do SOMETHING riding oriented with him! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll try to get some pics up soon :)
         
        12-01-2013, 07:45 PM
      #6
    Foal
    Holiday weekend gone by.......AAAAAAAAAAND no riding or work was done with Achylles. BOO! I need to win the lottery so I can build an indoor arena :) But hey, his weight is looking much better, as well as his feet. So yay for progress in those two areas :)
    Just made my final payment on him so he is now officially mine! *cheers**clapping* thank you, thank you :) His previous owner is going to send me all the photos he has of the big guy as a baby all the way till he was three or four, so stay tuned for baby pics!
         
        12-04-2013, 05:46 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Ride--12.3.13

    Well first ride in over a week. I really hate not having an indoor arena But all that nonsense aside, the ride was pretty ok. We worked in large circles in the outdoor arena and went around the jumps to make it less boring. I don't think he is quite understanding what I want him to do. Part of it might be that, but part of it is he doesn't like to work by himself apparently because he gets pretty insistent about turning around so he can see the other horses, or trying to sneak out the open spot in the fence. I HATE getting up in his "grill" and don't like to use my reins as much as possible, but I had to crank him around a few times to prevent him from running into the fence or going out the opening in the fence. I ask with my leg, then ask a little stronger with my seat and leg, then would try asking with leg and seat and opening my inside rein to sort of guide him in the direction I wanted, but all those things he just pushed against and was hell bent on going the way he wanted to. SO, I used my legs and seat and pulled his head the direction I wanted him to go and made him circle that direction without pulling once I got his feet moving the direction I wanted. Ugh. Horses can be so stubborn.
    I give him the benefit of the doubt most of the time, but I am getting to the point where I know he knows what I'm wanting, he just gets it in his head that he's making decisions for our ride. So we kept fighting back and forth, making a few good rounds and a few not so good.

    Now, that all being well and good, I decided to be brave and just see how he did in an open field. (all fenced in, but still enough open space to test his ability to walk when asked to and not try to run off, if you've read any of my previous posts you know the guy that broke him out said never to go outside the round pen because he just wants to go fast all the time) We did our best trail competition impression and opened the gate on horseback, walked across the gravel driveway and into the front turnout pasture (empty of horses except Achylles of course)....he was a freaking DREAM. We walked three laps around the whole field with no problems or disagreements. The only thing I had to be mindful of was keeping my inside leg on him gently to keep him from drifting to the middle of the field. I also had to keep gentle contact on the outside rein to make sure his head stayed straight. Nothing severe or forceful, just enough contact with my leg and hands to let him know that I was there and we were still working. I couldn't believe it. He was a turd in the arena and an absolute angel in the field.

    I'm actually impressed, for a horse that supposedly only wants to run off in open spaces, he was super responsive and relaxed. If the weather cooperates this winter I am most likely going to start riding him in an empty turnout lot and just doing our drills on the flat part instead of in the arena. I don't know if the sand makes him uncomfortable with a rider on his back, or what is going on but he was great in the field. Which makes me smile because my 2014 goal is to be able to trail ride him around the entire loop of the county part down the road. I think its an 8 hr ride total. (yes I know we need to build up to it) But I think by next fall he should be in good enough shape, and listening much better to be able to pull it off. He is an arabian you know

    And with all that being said, I will bore you no longer. Just wanted to update everyone on the only ride I've been able to get in lately.

    Anyone out there listening that has advice or ideas for me and "Killers" feel free to post. (yes crude and sounds horrible, but what would you call a horse named Achylles for short?) With the cold it gives me something to do and stuff to study so any thoughts or comments are welcome!

    He is SUPER fuzzy right now, so all you picture hounds will be sad, but I have no new pics yet. I really need to post some....I know desertHorseWoman I'll get on it asap!

    Hope everyone in my neck of the woods stays warm and safe with this cruddy weather rolling in over the next week. Make sure your animals have safe warm places to get out of the elements if they are 24/7 outside babies!
         
        12-11-2013, 11:02 AM
      #8
    Foal
    Born to trail-ride....12.10.13

    Well it was warm enough to ride last night!! A whopping 37`F! Grabbed fuzzy man out of the field and tacked up, much to his confusion.

    We have been having most of our problems in the arena with sand, so instead of starting in there I decided to go in the eventing practice field. I am wondering if something is physically wrong so as soon as I pay his vet bill from early this year off (he busted his face open at the first barn he was at....still trying to pay the vet back) I am going to have a vet out to check his teeth and maybe do another set of x-rays to check his progress on the club foot of his. He was dangerously close to foundering when I got him.

    Anyhoo, I think this horse is EXACTLY what I wanted/needed, he is a dream out of the arena. That being said, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to going into the park this spring. BUT if I'm able to get him listening and responding at the walk in open spaces the way he has the past two rides I think he will be OK if we take one of the more experienced horses into the park with him the first time. Either that or I'm going to dress head to toe in bubble wrap, wear football pads and a helmet and get myself a mouth guard

    We walked around the big eventing field and did figure eights around some of the permanent jumps. There is a ditch that runs through it so we can go down and up hills, we walked up the smallest bank jump a few times and had to do some serious work by the gate. That was the only problem, he kept trying to take me to the gate. So what I did was ask him to go to the gate then we worked in circles till he quit fighting with me. After we did that we stood back a ways from the gate and halted there for a bit. Then we went back to work in the field, and came back to the gate when I wanted to and did a bit more work in front of it. I think he was getting it by the end of our session because he wasn't trying to pull me over there anymore. All in all I think he is coming along great!!!

    After he was cooled off I stood there and let him eat his grain, I bent over to check his hoof and didn't realize he had moved his head, so when I stood up I knocked my head on the underside of his head.......ouch.....I saw stars and got really queasy but I don't think I had a concussion. He was fine I think he was more worried about me than himself because he'd take a bite of grain then sniff my head as if to say "well I don't see blood, are you ok?"
    I love this horse
    deserthorsewoman likes this.
         
        02-24-2014, 10:43 AM
      #9
    Foal
    Its been a long time since I've journaled, yes I know I'm terrible...but with the weather being crummy I have actually forgotten to journal when I have gotten the chance to ride....SO here is an update to Achylles's progress.

    We have been using a standing martingale to protect my nose since he flips his head when he gets frustrated and Audry told me I need to make sure I am safe when I am riding. It helps, but I hope we don't have to use it forever. His feet are getting better to the point that he doesn't seem uneven or limpy when we work which makes me so happy!!! Dern arabians and their clubbiness!

    We are finally able to trot with more consistency which makes me happy, seems like we are actually making progress finally. My friend watched me work him one day and taught me the wonderful half halt trick. I think when he gets unbalanced or goes down hill he speeds up to try and re-balance himself, but when that would happen he would get out of control and just start doing whatever he wanted to do. I have been working him in large circles and when he speeds up I hold him back till he goes the speed I want, then I tell him what a good boy he is and release the pressure. That has been the hardest thing for me, knowing when to release pressure and communicating when he has done what I want him to do. I am learning as much as he is to be quite honest, and having him is going to make me a better horse woman for sure! I am quickly learning that sometimes you do need to get up in their mouths, but that you also need to learn when to get soft. I am happy to report that it is working! He is starting to understand what I am asking.

    He is getting much better with understanding weight shifts and leg pressure and I am able to keep him on the rail by keeping my inside leg firm against him without actually pushing on him. That used to confuse him slightly because he was only ever worked in a round pen by his first trainer. The arena we work in is the standard rectangle and it is getting easier to work him in circles every time we ride.

    Another thing I am quickly learning is that this boy LOVES to go somewhere. He gets bored in the arena pretty fast and it was difficult to keep his attention. There is a park down the road with miles of horse trails that I am hoping to ride him in this summer so I want to prepare him for that experience as much as I can before we go out. After we work in the arena for a half hour or so I have been taking him out into the front pasture to relax and just walk through the tall grass, up and down little hills and get used to trail riding. This is definitely his favorite part of our lessons. He gets nervous and a little spooky especially when there is wind, but by doing our short trail lessons he is learning that nothing bad is going to happen to him. Mud is scary and so are snow piles! But he is getting a lot better with accepting those. I actually have gotten to ride him three times in the last four days and have been really pleased with his behavior. Doesn't look like we are going to get to do much this week because another snow storm is supposedly on the way :(

    As far as technical stuff, like I said, he is starting to learn leg pressure and bit prompts. I ask with my seat and leg first and if he doesn't respond then I gently guide him with the bit. He has figured out the trot cue as well as the verbal command. Although yesterday he kept flipping his head when we went into the trot so I need to get him balanced and off his front end so our transition will be smoother. His trot is still super bouncy, but by using the half halts and sitting deeper in the saddle we are starting to be able to slow the trot after a half circle or so and get to the speed I want. That being said he still speeds up when he gets off balance, or we are going downhill. I know that he will eventually be able to maintain one speed without trying to run away from the shifts in weight, but as a green horse he doesn't understand that quite yet. Someday soon he will hit the perfect speed and I won't be bouncing around in the saddle so much. When he gets super speedy I bounce around a lot and even posting is kind of bouncy on his back. I really try to sit quietly when that happens, but I am not as strong in the saddle or the best rider in the world. I do what I can and try my hardest not to screw him up!

    I am really happy with our progress in the last week and have recognized that Achylles is a horse that needs to be ridden a lot. We need to put lots of miles on him this summer and keep him in a consistent program. My friend actually rode him a few weeks back and she used to have a bad view of arabians....but after she got off him she said "WOW, he has potential and a great mind, he's going to be fun once we get him more confident and calm under saddle." :) I tried to tell her he was a great horse to ride, and to be honest she really likes him to begin with because he's such a puppy dog and he loves people, but she's a hunter jumper/eventer and has always had the same attitude towards arabians as everyone else that doesn't really know the breed. But now she's talking about maybe looking into getting a half arabian herself!

    So I know this wasn't really anything specific as to a specific ride, but I wanted to make sure I got everyone up to date on our progress. I will try to journal every time I ride, that way if I have an issue or frustration that I need some expert advice on maybe someone will chime in and help me out :)
         
        02-25-2014, 10:27 AM
      #10
    Foal
    2.24.14

    Had a great ride yesterday! It was a bit cold and windy, but the call of a freshly drug arena was too much for me and Achylles to deny. We spent 30-45 minutes in the arena. We walked a few relaxed laps to start then picked up a trot. He still hasn't quite figured out to start out at the speed we eventually end up at so I bounced around for a bit while I repeated "easy" and did half halts till he was going the proper speed. He definitely is getting the connection between leg pressure and steering because there were a few times when all it took was a slight weight shift and pressure to get him to turn.

    My riding needs work as I feel like I flop around like a rag doll sometimes. Although I felt like yesterday I was starting to understand all the things riding instructors had been telling me. Had sort of, an AHA moment. Instead of just pushing on him with my lower leg, I tried to sit back in the saddle and use my whole leg and butt to queue him. When he responded I about whooped with joy because we were finally communicating effectively! In case you haven't been following along, I am not the worlds greatest rider. I have only recently started riding consistently and am still learning as much as my horse is. We are definitely learning together which only seems to make us bond more, but I digress....

    We trotted in big circles, we did smaller circles, I tried to sit the trot as much as I could and only posted when he got a little bumpy, but as soon as I got him back to the proper speed I'd sit it again since that is how I'd rather ride. I have nothing against posting, but I want to do long trail rides and do lots of long distance stuff with him, since he will always be a western horse I want a nice western jog. He hasn't quite figured out that he doesn't have to prance around like a fancy english horse quite yet ;)
    After we did some basic circles we did an invisible barrel pattern, all at the trot, we kept the trot all the way through the tight circles where our invisible barrels were and sustained a nice trot to the end of the arena after finishing our pattern. Then we decided to do a baby reining pattern, no sliding stops, no spins, just everything else. He did pretty well too! He definitely seems to pay more attention after the first few laps at a trot and is starting to relax more.
    The only thing I can't figure out is why he pulls on the bit so much....it seems like sometimes he is trying to pull me out of the saddle because he grabs the bit, and it usually happens when I am softer in his mouth....makes no sense and is kind of confusing but there it is.

    He did really well to sum it all up. We actually cantered a bit just to see what he'd do, and boy does he have energy to spare. You'd have thought we had just started our lesson with as energetic as he got! Definitely needs a lot of work, but he was doing so well I wanted to see if he would do it, which he did, so yay...
    To end our ride we did our relaxing trail ride in the big front pasture. I think that's his favorite part because he is getting much more relaxed every time we go out in the open field. The culvert and mail box were monsters, but other than that he only broke into a trot once the whole time we were out in the open.

    I still can't stop smiling, and he got an extra peppermint for being such a good boy!!! Not sure if I'll be able to ride in the next 5-7 days because that polar vortex is back apparently. It can be spring any day now!!!
         

    Tags
    arabian, first horse, journal, trail, western

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