I'm starting this thread to keep track of my horse's progress as we get out on trail more, so I can look back fondly and say "wow..look how far we've come". Also, so I don't have to start a new thread every time something exciting happens.
So some of you might have read some of my posts about my horse Phoenix. He's an 11 yr old, 16.1hh mustang/appy and he's a huge goober.
This is him: (he's fat in the second picture, it's old, he's lost that weight now) ready for trail.jpg DSCF2492.jpg
You might also have read about his meltdowns which generally result in bucking and/or other dangerous behaviour. My poor boy has a wonky hip, his canter is god awful, he cross fires when he canters and it's just generally the most uncomfortable thing in the world for both him and me. I've had him almost 6 years and in that time i've tried to find a job for him that he'll enjoy but won't make him grumpy or sour; he's got the loveliest personality and is just a joy to be around so I didn't want work to change that about him.
He likes to jump, but that involves cantering so that was a no go. I like dressage but I think we would be kicked out of a ring for his flailing legs :/ So I moved him to a barn near a trail and have been working on making him a walk/trot trail horse. It's been dicey and we've had ups and downs.
I finally bit the bullet and got a trainer involved after one huge meltdown too many which could have ended with serious injury of both him and me. I love him but i'm not willing to die for him.
The trainer came out Saturday and took a group of us out on trail. He had us do exercises to build confidence in both horse and rider since I have mostly lost any confidence I had. He also had me and Phoenix do hill work since that triggered his bucking meltdown. The trail ride was good, everyone did great and came away feeling confident and ready to go out again.
The same group (4 of us) took our horses across the road and into the park. It's hot here today, over 90, so the horses were tired and sweaty before we even went out, they all did great. My friends son has taken to riding with us which can be a little scary since he's really not in control of the 6 yr old horse he's riding. Luckily the horse is pretty level headed but he can get pushy and reluctant. I really wish I had taken my camera, today would have been a great day for photos since my ride was awesome.
Two of the group went off a head to do some cantering away from Phoenix who tends to explode if he thinks he's being left (he is getting better at that). He was a little anxious and did that awful jigging trot but I managed to get him calmed down. The horse that stayed with us (to keep us calm) is apparently a complete nut. He was freaking out, cantering on the spot, calling for his buddies. His behaviour was setting Phoenix off and I could feel a huge moment of badness coming so I took him out in front of the other horse. He immediately calmed down and set a nice slow pace along the trail. I was so proud of him!!
The others waited for us further down the trail and we had to pass a construction site; everyone went past the huge hole and diggers without a hitch. Once we caught up I decided to leave Phoenix int he front to set a nice slow walk (he seriously walks slower than a snail, i'd hate to ride behind him) to cool everyone down on the way back to the barn. He did great, only slightly spooked once at the tall grass. He crossed the road no problem and walked everyone calmly back to the barn like that was the most important job in the world.
On the way back I even though "i might actually be able to take him out alone at some point" and that's honestly the first time i've ever thought that so i'm very pleased with how today went.
Congrats if you read all of that, sorry it got novel-esq.
As a reward: This is my friends horse, he reminds me of a llama DSCF2450.jpg