Wednesday 24 April 2019

Slow but Steady

Easter was this past Sunday. It's one of those holidays that you are obliged to do something with your family that takes away from your precious horse time. So after teaching a beginner lesson, I only had enough time for a quick half hour ride before having to rush home an make myself presentable.

It was a beautiful spring day, so I wasn't going to spend it inside. I tacked Cisco up and we headed out.

We started out in the big field next to the arena. He was a little looky, but mostly in a can't steer very well kind of way, and not a gonna scoot kind of way. So we only did a couple of laps before leaving that area.
Pic from last year because I have no recent media of me on my horse.
I decided to bite the bullet and head down the neighbours drive. The wind, which had not been an issue, decided to start blowing just as I was leaving the yard. Not crazy, just enough to make things move.

This was the first time that we made it all the way down to the tree at the end without stopping. There were some steering issues in which we took a wobbly pass past the shop and trailer that were a bit scary last week, and the utility flags that were no issue last week were a bit worrisome, and then there was a momentary pause when we passed the house that had a dog in the front fenced in yard that was just sitting looking at us. But we kept going forward!

When we reached the tree I felt that we could have kept going, but it gets tricky as to where to keep going to from there. The only option really is to head through a small, overgrown field, to the wooded area behind where there are trails, but they're narrow, through the treexs type of trails. Not the best when on a nervous horse by yourself. So we just turned around.

Cisco kept an eye on the quiet dog as we passed the yard again and jogged a couple of steps. I brought him back to walk, and he momentarily fixated on the flappy red flag that was on the bush next to the shed. He relaxed his look, then suddenly spun his shoulders. To the right - towards the flappy bush. Not the direction I was expecting.

Thankfully I stayed in the saddle (though I got a very good impression of what people mean when they talk about how fast their Andalusian's shoulders can disappear from in front of them). As I turned Cisco back in the direction I wanted to go I looked to the left to see what had caused the spin.

I saw it. And it was terrifying.

It was a black and white silently judgey kitty. That kitty gave no fucks that it had almost caused me to fall off, and just sat there, staring at us, and judged my riding abilities. I'm pretty sure I was found t not be adequate.
Kinda like this, but judgier.
After that, Cisco stayed nice and chill the rest of the way back to our yard. So I decided to push him a little bit more.

There is a shop along our driveway. Behind the shop a camper is parked, and next to the camper is a metal round bale holder. There is a gap about 5 feet between them to be able to pass through. But first, you have to go between the two large, white water containers. And then to top it all off, there is a donkey that lives in the pen on the other side.

It was a good test.

He started by saying no about the water tanks. I waited for a few seconds, he took another step and stopped. Then reached his nose out to one of them. I let him walk over to it, he sniffed it, and we were able to head towards the gap between the camper and bale feeder. At that point he spotted the donkey, but he kept walking. Very slowly and carefully, but it was still forward.
Donkey knows that horses fear him.
Once he got in front of the donkey pen he had to stop and stare (at which point I totally grabbed mane because if that donkey made a noise I was probably going to be in trouble). Cisco's little buddy Blue was in the next pen, at which point he would have liked to stop and visit, but he kept going all the way around back to the barn.

Outside the barn was a hitching post that someone had tacked up at. There was a blanket and a Back on Track loin sheet hanging on the rail, blowing in the wind. I asked Cisco to go over to them, he skipped the blanket, and then went directly to the BoT sheet. He sniffed it, and grabbed it and pulled it to the ground. Oops.

Again, it was another ride that I was really happy with. His confidence seems to be growing every day. Yes, our canter sucks, and there is a lot of schooling that we need to do. But I strongly feel that this slow work is going to pay off. There is so much training that can be done outside of the ring and I would like to take as many opportunities as I can to get outside. Our nice weather is too inconsistent and doesn't last very long, and we will be stuck inside for far too long come September again.


  1. Sorry, lol-ing at the judgey kitty :)

    1. When I saw the kitty I laughed and laughed and snorted, which made Cisco think about spooking, which made me laugh harder.