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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I chose to ride off property solo, on a route that had cars, bikes, the odd goat, chickens, and obstacles near the entrance to the return, a scary pass-through gate. We'd walked the route in hand many times, and I always noticed how Boo's breathing would intensify. It was one of the signs I'd debated on, trying to see if he was confident enough to walk out by himself.

I made certain he was in a calm state before setting off, and was super pleased to see him walk forward with ears pricked, and interestingly his breathing didn't change. The roads were quiet, it being a Sunday, and there were less than 6 cars we passed. The mental test for me was the pass through, I wondered if I should take my foot out of the stirrup so it wouldn't catch my foot, then decided against it in case he spooked with my foot out. Passed all the farm equipment and white marshmallow-y hay bales, and then were on the property with the gravel path. He went wherever I pointed him, and I thought, wow, this is such a big deal for us. It means we can really start to build on this success. So, yes, I am thrilled. And would love to hear of your milestone 'first' stories, too.
 

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Congrats, it really is a great feeling!

I had one of these milestones just recently, actually. I've had a little trouble riding bareback with one of my horses, Aztec. He had only been ridden under saddle and would get quite aggressive whenever I mounted bareback (wanting to bite me and any other living thing around). Yesterday, we had our first ride out of the arena bareback, and he did so well. He had his ears forward the whole time and I was so impressed I decided to try a little trot. And he did so well even then, he was a little unsure to begin with but he responded fantastically to my leg pressure and the moment I disengaged my muscles he dropped right back to a walk. I was super proud and glad I didn't end up on the ground honestly 馃槄
 

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I had two big milestones fairly recently. One, you know about, which was trailering the two horses out for a ride. The other was jumping a full course of cross-rails on Pony. I mean cantering and jumping, not just trotting them. And not being too scared! Jumping cross-rails (at least low cross-rails) no longer makes me anxious.

I like to take things very slowly, more for me than for the horses. So I get excited when I do a milestone. I've actually been thinking about trailering Pony solo to the same place we trail-rode and just hand walking him to see how he does.
 

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We鈥檙e going back to Biblical times here, but I guess mine would be the first time I cantered.
My lesson horse that day was Goldie, a VERY chunky little palomino. I was nervous, but once she transitioned to the canter, it was exhilarating; she was a calm, steady little horse and it really did feel like sitting in a rocking chair!
All the ancient Egyptians stood up and applauded 馃槈
 

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Not my first milestone, but one that made me feel ten feet tall and bulletproof.

I鈥檝e always been the old lady on the drill team, and Skip has been my partner the whole time. He鈥檚 calm and kind of pokey but we always held our own in the drill itself. One of the major PRCA rodeos we rode at 鈥渇ired鈥 me and Skip from running sponsor flags鈥aid we were much too slow. Like I said I鈥檓 older and then Skip is a tripper, so there was always that underlying fear of him tripping and me coming off. I was so embarrassed by them firing me that I basically said 鈥淗old my beer鈥 and worked the entire following year on overcoming my fear, plus working on my own riding posture which was contributing to Skip鈥檚 tripping. By the next year when we rode that rodeo again and it was time for the first sponsor flag run, I went up to the gate, grabbed a flag, told the guy who fired me the year before 鈥淲atch this鈥 and Skip and I SMOKED that flag run. I鈥檝e been the go to sponsor flag girl ever since


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Not my first milestone, but one that made me feel ten feet tall and bulletproof.

I鈥檝e always been the old lady on the drill team, and Skip has been my partner the whole time. He鈥檚 calm and kind of pokey but we always held our own in the drill itself. One of the major PRCA rodeos we rode at 鈥渇ired鈥 me and Skip from running sponsor flags鈥aid we were much too slow. Like I said I鈥檓 older and then Skip is a tripper, so there was always that underlying fear of him tripping and me coming off. I was so embarrassed by them firing me that I basically said 鈥淗old my beer鈥 and worked the entire following year on overcoming my fear, plus working on my own riding posture which was contributing to Skip鈥檚 tripping. By the next year when we rode that rodeo again and it was time for the first sponsor flag run, I went up to the gate, grabbed a flag, told the guy who fired me the year before 鈥淲atch this鈥 and Skip and I SMOKED that flag run. I鈥檝e been the go to sponsor flag girl ever since


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Txshecat: LOVE that story! Guess you showed 鈥榚m!
 

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A couple of milestones recently!

Rode Elle bareback for the first time ever on her, and my first time at all over twenty years. It was really nice but she's VERY slippery, so I should probably get a nonslip pad before I try much more of that!!

A couple of weeks ago, I also rode her up and down a little hill on the property that she has always found challenging/a bit spooky in hand. Over a couple of months I included it on all our walks and always gave her cookies, and time to look around, at the top of it. When it was starting to become apparent that out outdoor riding time was coming to a close for the season, I finally rode her up and down it! Seems like such a small thing, but she used to be spooky as heck about being hacked out alone (totally rock-solid in company though) and I worked on being able to reliably ride her out alone all season. This isn't from that ride, obviously, but this is the hill.

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Another big achievement this year was making peace with puddles and deep, wet, mucky footing. She was always known as "the horse who hates water" so once again, to fix this, I started on the ground by urging her to get her feet into puddles, and then giving her cookies. Eventually we moved up to getting her to get all four feet into some pretty deep puddles, and standing there quietly, before getting lots of cookies. My motto for this was "puddles have cookies in them." We moved on to crossing ditches, etc., first just getting her to cross at all, and then not rushing across. Moved on to crossing them under saddle and she was PERFECT and has been since!! Apparently she used to be so bad that if she even saw water ahead on the trail, she's do a 180 and NOPE right out of there. Good girl!!!

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I am loving all these stories and so proud of you guys. @livelovelaughride , maybe you already do, but you would most certainly enjoy @egrogan 's journal when she first started taking Izzy out for solo rides. I cheered for her back then, cheer for her now, and cheer for all of you who are enjoying these milestones.

We鈥檙e going back to Biblical times here, but I guess mine would be the first time I cantered.
If @BethR celebrated her milestones in Biblical times, mine were back in caveman times. I think some big milestones for me back when men wore skins, were winning ribbons in big shows or championships in smaller shows on horses that I picked out as babies, raised, and trained myself. Another one might have been psyching myself to jump 4 feet regularly. We had mastodon meat to celebrate the first time I jumped 4 feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A couple of milestones recently!
Yes, I'd gone bareback on my old TB and while he was 'fine' with it, I found him both slippery and boney. Trot? Uh, carefully!
I love those pics, and your approach. I really think all the hand walking helped, around at my barn I seem to be the only person who takes their horse off property on a regular basis.
Haha, there's cookies in them thar hills!
 

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That's so nice of you to mention us @knightrider. I definitely have lots of mini-milestone rides, like the first time riding my now-retired mare out on a trail ride alone (that's literally the reason I started a journal here on HF, and inspired the title "My mare was a star on the trail today, can she be a trail horse?"), the first time I let her really open up into a hand gallop around the corn field we used to ride (closest I'll ever get to feeling like I was on a race track!), first time we were ever looked at as "babysitters" for a young horse who had never been ridden out of the arena.
Plant Sky Natural environment Sunlight Grass

And with my current mare, again, my milestones are things that were small victories for me that probably seemed like no big deal to other people, but would include the first time we hacked 10 miles from home to the local horse park, first time we did a long ride on the same trail as the competitive endurance folks were using, first time I rode her past cows without a meltdown...
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I'm a re-rider that leans towards being nervous in the saddle, so without trust in my horse I couldn't do any of these things. It's taken lots and lots of miles for me to be able to feel enough trust and confidence to ride on a lot of pretty difficult trails alone, and it always surprises me when other people say they want to be able to do the same things that I do with my mare...I feel like we are such green beans and everyone else out there always looks so much braver than I feel!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
...I feel like we are such green beans and everyone else out there always looks so much braver than I feel!
I think its awesome - these stories. Not only these accomplishments, but the partner forging we are doing with our horses. I have friends who never leave the property with their horse. I imagine everyone's goals are different, but for me, variety is the spice of life!
 

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I bungled a series of cavalleti and my adrenaline didn鈥檛 even blip. Instead of trotting three cavalleti she decided to jump all three of them in the last moment. I am a nervous rider and such a thing would have had me blowing a valve previously - lately it鈥檚 like a forget to get scared. I just forgot to get scared and repeated the exercise correctly. Only afterwards, when I was thinking about that particular exercise did it dawn on me that something actually went slightly pear shaped.
 

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The milestone that was the biggest deal to me was when the NCHA judges test was being given to a large rooom full of people, and I was the only one that passed. I didn't take it to get my card. I did it because I wanted to see if I could pass it, and I did.
It was an NCHA AAAA judge that gave the test. He tried his best to talk me into going to TX and take the test at NCHA.
I just wanted to see if I could do it, and I did.
 

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Recent milestone for me. I sat two big bolting episodes on a lesson horse who is normally very quiet. Not sure what kinds of ghosts she was seeing in the arena but perhaps the veil was thin that day. On the second bolt, I didn't even have stirrups as I tend to walk with legs out of irons to cool down. How I wasn鈥檛 yeeted to the rafters I鈥檓 not sure, but I AM plenty proud that I remembered to sit back and sit deeply, and was able to stop her both times. First big spook that hasn't uprooted me!
 

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Recent milestone for me. I sat two big bolting episodes on a lesson horse who is normally very quiet. Not sure what kinds of ghosts she was seeing in the arena but perhaps the veil was thin that day. On the second bolt, I didn't even have stirrups as I tend to walk with legs out of irons to cool down. How I wasn鈥檛 yeeted to the rafters I鈥檓 not sure, but I AM plenty proud that I remembered to sit back and sit deeply, and was able to stop her both times. First big spook that hasn't uprooted me!
This resonates with me!! Well done!! How did you stop her?
 

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It was a summer and fall full of milestones for me! I rode Rusty out in a big field behind our house that is on a huge hill. I'd taken him there before, not long after I bought him, and he'd bolted downhill at a full gallop which was pretty scary so I'd been avoiding it for years. This time, we confidently rode out and I kept him from bolting even though he was very excited. We rode solo a lot this past summer, and enjoyed a lot of new trails together for the first time. I feel like we really conquered some of my big fears, and it's really only now, after 3 years of ownership, that I feel I can completely relax on him while we're doing trails.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, I jumped 6 times with Harley (3 x a line of two jumps)! Just a cavaletti and a cross-rail, mind you, but other than being on a couple of horses that unexpectedly jumped over streams on rides, I had never really jumped at all. I wouldn't have done it except that my daughter needed to practice teaching a jumping lesson for her coaching evaluation so I swallowed my fears and just went for it! So glad I did! I had no issues keeping my balance, did a mane release, was able to bring Harley back after the second jump, steer between the two jumps - it went WAY better than I thought it would! Just goes to show it's never too late - I jumped for the first time at the age of 51!

Oh, and did I mention, my daughter was certified as an Equestrian Canada instructor? So that's a pretty big one for her, especially given her young age (16)! I'm a very proud mum!
 

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It was a summer and fall full of milestones for me! I rode Rusty out in a big field behind our house that is on a huge hill. I'd taken him there before, not long after I bought him, and he'd bolted downhill at a full gallop which was pretty scary so I'd been avoiding it for years. This time, we confidently rode out and I kept him from bolting even though he was very excited. We rode solo a lot this past summer, and enjoyed a lot of new trails together for the first time. I feel like we really conquered some of my big fears, and it's really only now, after 3 years of ownership, that I feel I can completely relax on him while we're doing trails.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, I jumped 6 times with Harley (3 x a line of two jumps)! Just a cavaletti and a cross-rail, mind you, but other than being on a couple of horses that unexpectedly jumped over streams on rides, I had never really jumped at all. I wouldn't have done it except that my daughter needed to practice teaching a jumping lesson for her coaching evaluation so I swallowed my fears and just went for it! So glad I did! I had no issues keeping my balance, did a mane release, was able to bring Harley back after the second jump, steer between the two jumps - it went WAY better than I thought it would! Just goes to show it's never too late - I jumped for the first time at the age of 51!

Oh, and did I mention, my daughter was certified as an Equestrian Canada instructor? So that's a pretty big one for her, especially given her young age (16)! I'm a very proud mum!
Wow! These are great achievements! I鈥檓 41 and a rerider since almost exactly one year: I want to jump too! 馃グ I need your daughter.
 
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