Our rides have been great lately. Recently Sofie and I took a ride from the barn to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It’s about 3 miles away. I wanted to work through some thresholds and help my horse to remain calm and become braver in iffy situations.
I also wanted to work on “forward”, keeping an even gait and walk/trot/canter/ transitions. We were given so many opportunities on this ride.. to test our riding ability and also our horse’s trust in us.
Charmer was great. We tried to stay on the edge of the fields since the corn stalks are gone and it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to cut a 5th crop of alfalfa. We ran up hills, long trotted down corn rows and asked the horses to use their hindquarters when descending hills; giving us power and a secure feeling. Charm does this automatically.. I give her a loose rein and only bump a little if I feel her falling out on her forehand. This is always a test to know if she’s with me.. if she’s collected physically as well as mentally.
The highlight of the ride was not only the delicious lunch that Gram made for us, but cantering through a HUGE field, free as a bird. It was good ground and we just had to go for it. Both Charm and Sofie’s horse, Bella seemed to enjoy it.
Bella willingly cantered when asked without throwing a snotty buck. Charm was consistent.
One thing I need to work on is my brace. I felt like I was bracing while we were cantering and Charm kept falling out to the right. I can tell when this happens because my saddle slides a little to the left. I think I have to loosen up and just trust her. This same feeling and saddle slipping thing happened at the cow clinic with Dave Ellis. Always something to work on.
Will have to make cantering across open fields a priority from now on!
On the way back we passed by a farm and some cows were outside. Here’s a big test for Charmer! She hasn’t seen a cow since the clinic. When she first spotted them I asked if she’d like to cross the road to give her a “safe” distance between them. She agreed and then was aware of the cows but not at all bothered. She didn’t snort or blow or spin or stop. The cows even curiously followed us up the fence line! I was proud of my horse.. now I’m wondering how her confidence has grown since the clinic.
The Alaskan Trail Ride is this weekend. Another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and get our good, better. 🙂