Month: July 2015

Progress, Set Backs and Lessons Learned

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I couldn’t be happier with how quickly TJ’s shoulder is healing. He’s gotten more energetic and wants to do more than I expected at this point. He’s cantered a bit under saddle, but always the left lead. Thursday was a beautiful day and we couldn’t pass up a ride after work. To make ring work a little more interesting I decided to trot poles and barrels. Around the 3rd barrel & heading for the finish, TJ decided to canter …. on his right lead. I was thrilled that he’s healed and comfortable to be picking up his right lead.


Set Backs

Both of us are bored out of our minds with ring work. A 3 day holiday weekend, a horse that was physically ready for a bit more challenging work & cooperative weather finally. It was time to do our first “trailer to” trail ride. Green Lane is a beautiful place to ride and only a 15 minute trailer ride. We park and unloaded. TJ was dripping wet from nose to tail. It couldn’t have been hot in the trailer. All of the vents and windows were open. Koko was completely dry. I guess he thought he was going to a show. It took almost as long to settle and dry him as it did to get there.

The first challenge was a narrow bridge between trees over a small creek. He handled it very well. Although he was wired and bouncy, he was exceptional with other horses, mountain bikes, people walking, a dog and the little hills. After 20-30 minutes we turned around and headed back to the trailer. I didn’t want to overload him on his first trail ride. Our problems began. He kept trying to bold and run back to the trailer. I kept turning him around and heading back out until he settled. I walked for awhile, we stopped to eat grass and get him comfortable with his surroundings, he pitched a few fits, I rode. It was a long trip back to the trailer.

TJ had only been on two trail rides at the most that I’m aware of and no trailer was involved. Last Sunday was a good day to take a ride down to the swimming hole and introduce him to trails riding from the barn. A short ride down two back roads and we were at the trail into the woods. We had ridden down the road several times and he should have been familiar with it. The trail is a short, steep hill with some ruts. He watched where he was going and handled the trail like a champ. TJ had a complete melt down when I tried to introduce him to water. The water in the swimming hole was still, but there were minnows swimming in it.  The tiny creek moved. I was finally able to convince him the water wouldn’t eat him if he got his feet wet. He didn’t want to stop playing in it! Of course I had to dismount to convince him. Poor guy was so bouncy and wired he wouldn’t stand still for me to get back on.  I walked home. Amazing how short it was to get there and how long it was to get back. I did ride for a bit when we got back to the barn but only so he wouldn’t learn he would get out of work it he didn’t let me on.

Lessons Learned

  • Wear comfortable boots. If I’m taking TJ on a trail ride I’m going to be doing quite a bit of walking. Unfortunately he’s much more comfortable with me next to him than with me on him in scary situations.
  • It’s going to take much more work and patients than I anticipated to turn TJ into a trail horse.

Starting To Feel Better

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June 14: I rode English yesterday for a change of pace & to see how TJ looked in his new teal pad. He was a fired up goof. Apparently he’s so full of energy these days, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He wanted to race Koko when she went flying past. Then she went to the gate & he tried to bolt to catch up with her. I wouldn’t let him & he decided to be a dressage horse & piaffe instead of standing. Then there was the buck. I’m glad he’s feeling well enough to pull these things, but he’s just to big to be bucking. He did try to make up for it by giving me all kinds of of kisses & playing with my ear.

June 21: TJ is well on his way to becoming a steady using horse. The horses are on summer schedule and he was a bit gimpy from being in his stall and wasn’t going to work out of it. Today was lesson day. He handles everything so well, I wanted to sack him out with the rope. He took it like a trooper and was falling asleep when I was throwing it from his back.

I’m looking forward to our adventures this summer (if the weather every cooperates so we can hit the trails).