Had to fly to DC on Sunday for work, and just flew back today. After my last trip, I was really nervous about flying the day before Thanksgiving and making it back on time without any delays or cancellations. Thankfully, the entire trip ran smooth and my plane landed ON TIME at 1pm this afternoon. Got home, dropped my things, and headed straight to the barn!
There was another young girl and her mom there. Her mare and North share a pasture and she was getting ready to ride, so I asked her to wait for me while I got North tacked up so we could ride together. We decided to ride out in their pasture, and I thought North would be better if I had his buddy out there with us. Boy was I wrong!
The first 20 min or so was a complete mess! Lol. I could not get North to listen or pay attention to save my life! All he cared about was what the mare was doing and trying to follow her around. He was just completely blowing through my aids, distracted, and overall not listening. I'd finally had enough when he threw his shoulder out and almost ran us into the electric fencing. I put him in a halt. Then made him back up. Then made him stand. Then asked for a few strides of trot, before halt, then walk, then halt, then back up, until I had his FULL attention. By then, the girl was done with her ride and took the mare out, and his entire behavior changed.
We did consistent, on the contact trot-work, changing directions, transitioning from walk to trot and trot to walk, and he was simply lovely and giving me his all. It was like night and day. It felt so nice and consistent, I was tempted to ask for a canter, but Helen wasn't there and I didn't want to push my luck! Lol. We did one run through of each test, Intro A & B, and then I praised him and hopped off. It ended as a fantastic ride, and probably the most consistent I've ever gotten him in the bridle without Helen there. I mean it felt REALLY nice.
So yea, note to self, the warm-up area at the show is likely going to be a HUGE distraction for him. Lol. But what I saw and felt today? Man, I really think we are going to be a great pair in the dressage ring. It's kinda funny because, even though he's so green, he's teaching me to be a better and correct rider. He's teaching me how to work through his quirks and become more confident in myself. He shows SO much potential for dressage, I can hardly believe how easy it is once we get it and find our rhythm. The mechanics and the way dressage SHOULD be ridden, just work with him. He's going against my hands? Leg and he softens. He goes too far above the bit? Leg and he gets back on the bit. He does well? Praise and he gives me more. These things just didn't work with my previous horses. Not my lease or Tess or Forrest. Tess didn't care how much leg you used. She was gonna do as little as possible and fake it till she made it. Haha. With Forrest, leg just meant run and keep going while using any means possible to get around the contact.
But for the first time, North is showing me how it's SUPPOSED to feel. And I gotta tell you, it feels incredible.