As a prep for trail rides we did a lot of walking in hand in the neighborhood. Of course everything looks different and is very, very scary when not seen over a paddock fence, but soon we were going for a long walks and everybody was happy and chilled. Day record of Anka Rancho’s team was walking the horses for 14 kilometers (9 miles)!
After that, the time has come to pony the youngsters of our “professors”: Niko, Imbir and Idylla. They helped them get more confident. Knowing stick to me game on the ground sticking to another horse was a piece of cake. Walk, trot, canter, back up, turns? No problem!
And soon there they were, on their first trail rides, with a rider on, being little superstars.
Poldek (aka Peter Pan) no longer can be taken for a yearling (unless he is standing next to the gigantic Farys). He has grown a very serious, muscly bottom. He is now not only the most adorable horse on the yard but also the (almost) most courageous. Nothing strucks fear in his heart apart from Rose, the stable goat (aka the Evil Goat). However the Evil Goat spreads terror among everyone, including Farys and Imbir, who is well known for his stoicism, so I believe Poldek can be excused.
Below Poldek's muscly hindend and Poldek’s mum warning us against the Evil Goat hiding in the hedge.
Sideways, back ups and yields On Line and Freestyle ticked off. Corners game and Follow the Rail understood. Trotting over poles and left and right canters (or in case of Farys left and right-maybe-left) are working.
Now it’s all about making it solid since so far each horses has less than 10 hours under saddle.
As I wrote in my previous post we started off with walking, yielding and back ups although we were aiming at improving her “go” and trot-canter transitions.
So far, getting one lap in canter was not exactly a piece of cake and transitions to canter too often ended up in a rodeo. Wel,l it was a mini-rodeo as Hawana doesn’t like to move even if she is bucking. However, getting leadership in walk spared me those bucks in canter (actually it didn’t happen even once!).
Hawana, although still skeptical about cantering under saddle as you can see by her ears position, turned out to be exceptionally sensitive and soft. We can canter of phase one and get not only one lap but even 4 or 5 laps of canter.
Trusting that she will response and making her responsible for maintaining gait improved her general expression. Horses often communicate to us by putting ears back that we are nagging on them too much or we are not using phases correctly.