After a few sessions at the arena with Handsome Guy, we had opportunity to ride out today with friend. We rode from her place, fun and interesting! Handsome was right there this morning, ready to catch me up, and loaded up.
Normally, I would go to a place I know for his first ride out for the season, and you know I missed last year, and have been getting everyone tuned up with ground work, arena time, and riding out. It’s been a year or so since I’ve ridden Handsome!
Rode at the arena a couple of days ago, Handsome was making it clear that he was quite bored with my lack of “stepping up”, giving me some wrinkled lip and rolling his eyeballs, so to speak! He is very subtle about it, and I promised him I would be stepping up my game for his sake!
So, we hauled out to a friend’s house. We did a little warm up in the arena. Handsome wanted to be resistant to bitting up, backing up with my efforts, but I outpersisted him, all of this in the most polite way, let me emphasize! I asked him to stand still for mounting up from the block, after a few circles he was cooperative, and stood still after mounting. Always a good thing to emphasize!
We did a little warm-up through the pasture looking for discarded fly masks. We found both, crossing a little pasture creek along with way. Handsome has no issues with riding out on the trails, but it was our first time out, and in a while! He was enthusiastic! So down the road to our trail ride, two-tracks through a canopy of trees making for a nice, cool ride on an early hot summer day!
We crossed two bridges twice, (the ride was an out and back), offered to have him wade in the creek, but he declined today, he does cross water, but we didn’t have to do everything today. . . . .there was some pretty good up and down hill work, some good pulls, and on the way back, my friend’s horses following us on the fence line.
He was resistant to loading, backing out after loading three times,but I out-persisted him, staying put on the fourth, allowing the divider to be placed. I took the time for water and sandwich before heading back.
So. . . .I figured that if he had energy to be resistant, that he could unload himself, backing himself out. That he could have an assigned task for the end of the ride. So. . . . .I got the mounting block and put it in the extra stall so I could see over the divider, and with my Parelli Carrot Stick, created a visual barrier to turning around when I needed it, and applying steady pressure on the chest and saying “baaaaack”.
He had to think about it a bit, with Whiskey in the pasture outside telling him to get his rear in gear!, two steps back, thinking about it, then head down and backed all the way out! Wow!! Lots of complements to Handsome, with a little encouragement from Whiskey! Congratulatory carrots offered all around, with Handsome wanting to refuse! Ha, ha, so Whiskey took them, and then Handsome did. What a hoot! Don’t you love reverse psychology? Gotcha, Handsome Guy!
’til the next trail ride. . . . .