We’ve been doing this for awhile now, it doesn’t seem like there should be too many things left to do for the first time. We keep finding them though!
After our nice little morning work out yesterday I managed to sneak back out in the afternoon and bring him in again. Any time I want to do anything with the horses they seem to be clear out on the far side of there pen. I can’t call them up the the front from the gate but if I walk out to the end of the lane Rusty will come and meet me in the middle.
I threw his saddle on and hopped on without any warm up or ground work. We had done plenty that morning and I reached a point this summer where I got tired of treating him like a green horse. He’s been under saddle for over a year now. He has only been ridden sparingly in that time but hasn’t ever done anything really bad, so I’m done. He’s a horse. He can go for rides. Little rides, close to the house, but still we’re going.
After a quick circle around the arena I pointed him towards the chicken coup. It’s always a scary place, there are tree branches scraping the roof, an old pickup, calves in their pen, and, scariest for me, a drop off on one side. It took some encouragement and lots of reassurance but we made the scary loop! Check one first off.
On the back side of the chicken coup instead of going around and back to the arena we turned the other way and went behind the shop building and another old barn. There’s an extension cord strung out across the ground, tractors parked, and the tree row. There aren’t as many rocks to hurt a poor little horsey’s feet going that way though and variety is nice. Check another first off.
We went down the driveway a little ways, like last time. Unlike last time it was terrifying this time. Still made it and back into the yard. Nobody died. He wanted to go past our turn and down towards the stack yard. I was happy to comply. He wanted to trot, out of nervousness I think. I encouraged it for a few strides then asked for a whoa. After lots of work on it from the ground he now automatically backs a few steps after stopping. Very nice. Did that a few times as we rode between the towering stacks of round bales. The ones he hasn’t been able to gather the courage to ride between on previous rides. Check another first off.
Heading back to the pickup we met my husband on a four wheeler. I didn’t immediately leap off to meet them from the safety of the ground. Rusty was unconcerned as we stopped next to each other for a brief conversation. Mostly he wanted to see if a four wheeler would taste good. The air puffing from the exhaust was not a worry. It zooming off behind him was not a worry. Check another first off.
Back in our arena I thought we would work on some finer points before I got off. We made one circle, practiced one turn on the hindquarters and looked up to see my husband coming in the semi he had been off on the four wheeler to start. He gestured to let me know that he was coming our way. This time I did jump off. The four wheeler is one thing. For our first time meeting a semi I did want the safety of the ground. We stood quietly and watched it come through our arena. He watched with pricked ears but was unafraid. It came right past his nose and he reached to sniff it. As it passed we gave chase. Following, sniffing, clicking and rewarding his lack of fear, until it parked. And our final first of the day.
The ride may not have been calm and uneventful, he spooked and tried to turn back, but we did it anyway. We are getting away from that green horse, babying, stage and I am reaching a point where I am able to treat him like a normal horse. Life is good.
- And Back To Rusty
- Potty Training And A Variable Reward Schedule