Yep, I’m quite sore, but it’s a good sore. I feel like I accomplished a lot with Merlin yesterday and am looking forward to more.
I did some ground work in the morning and it went okay, but I’m considering holding off on doing more until after I do the clinic or I’m able to get someone experienced in natural horsemanship methods to watch me work to make sure I’m not doing something wrong. Merlin didn’t take it too well, but I didn’t expect he would. I doubt he’s used the thinking side of his brain much; many horses do not, they rely on their reactive side. He must be wondering what kind of crazy person is purposely trying to scare him and make him move his feet and change direction on the ground.
A few hours after the ground work, I went back out to catch him to ride. That didn’t go well. I brought him into his stall (which at this time is open on one end) and he promptly presented his butt end. Without a way to close him in there, I didn’t feel comfortable going into the enclosure. I chased him around and around and around and around his pasture until finally he got tired enough for me to catch him. It was not a pleasant experience for either of us. This is something we’ll need to work on. One of the projects this weekend will be to put a gate on the open side so I can close him in.
The ride was good. I did a good amount of flexing before I got on him and asked him to hold his neck slightly flexed until I got on. It worked like a charm. He stood stone still and didn’t take off like a rocket once I was seated. Yes!!!
The saddle is amazing!!! Stupid me, I forgot to put my boots on when I went out and the jeans I wore were too short for riding. My ankles and knees suffered for that. I’ll do better today, assuming I can catch the beast. I’ll need to do some Goodwill prowling to find some jeans that are slightly too long for me and keep them just for riding.
We road for a good two hours and it was wonderful. Gel went with us; Split can’t be trusted around Merlin so she had to stay up. Towards the end of our ride, I was able to ride on a completely loose rein. His was down and he was relaxed. Something he hasn’t been under saddle for as long as I’ve had him and maybe for as long as he’s ever been ridden.
Part of our ride took us down a steep slope and over a small brook. I had to lead him over it the first time. I was unsure how frozen the slope was and didn’t want to push him over it under saddle and risk a slip or fall. On the way back, he crossed without hesitation. An Australian saddle really shines when you are going up or down a steep slope. You stay in a wonderfully balanced position the whole way.
I’m off to deliver three dozen eggs to a local customer and while out, I may swing by Goodwill to look for longer jeans. The plan is to get some housecleaning done until it warms up, then back in the saddle again.
Until later …