The sessions with Little Mighty horse are going great. I notice that she is so very attentive to my every move, but without fear. She gets overwhelmed quickly but if I take it step by step she is pretty receptive of the information I give her. With that being said- She is very expressive when she feels I’m throwing too much at her!
We have had some pretty teachable moments lately! I think the trick to keep having fun, even when she is being a little more difficult. Instead of getting irritated when I have to do a one-rein-stop, I just go with it. Stop… We catch our breaths…resume… as per normal.
Last week we worked our normal routine in the big field working on transitions in the walk and trot. We worked more on our Halt, just for the sake of why not. I am now using the small hills for some strength training and she is getting so much better at circles! I know, I know… Every week I keep telling you our circles are better, but they really do get better; who knew there was so much to teaching a circle!
Again for giggles I decided that last Tuesday after our workout was complete, we would take a hand walk down the long driveway, cool down, and see the sites. She was fantastic! We took a walk around the giant field next to the drive and down into the wooded area. When we returned to our starting point we walked over to the nearby fire pit and got acclimated with solar ground lighting and the pit, as well as the various seating accommodations! She was so brave! I climbed up on the one wooden bench and climbed on. So we stood for a few moments and just took a breather to settle my nerves and off we went: back to the field, where we zigged through trees and zagged through tall bushes and under branches. I finally have a horse that is small enough to duck under them!
After we did two loops successfully with my dog in the background we called it quits on a successful day and returned to snack on some hay. This ride was followed by another ride with even bigger milestones.. Yes, I realize I tell you they’re bigger all of the time, but this is pretty big.. Wait for it…
My friend Kristene keeps her two horses on the farm and had arrived just after I started with Mia. First I started by introducing the side-reins; an effective tool to be used to encourage stretching and to accept the contact with the bit. She was rather opinionated and while she is getting better with accepting the contact she does, from time to time, bump it and startle herself. Her reactions are not normally too explosive but she did hit it and pop a couple of good rears in there. I tell you this to remind you that horses are not Unicorns over-night and they are reactive and explosive and it comes with the territory. It is not for the faint of heart! After encouraging forward movement (She had stopped and backed up, reared and stood) by placing my body to the side with the use of my lunge whip, we were able continue onward and did a little more before calling it a day with this portion of our training schedule. At this point Kristene came out with her mare, and we practiced riding together and following and leading. At first Mia was slightly freaked out, whinnying to the other horses and being slightly jumpy about having another horse with her, she settled right down. We worked on this for probably a half of an hour and moved on to phase three.
I hand walked Mia to the fire pit once again and Kristene rode over and while I mounted she stood near to us and we just took in the beautiful fall air and enjoyed the peace of the evening. With Mia ready to go within a few minutes we rode around the field, down in the trees, playing follow the leader and circled back to the drive way. With Kristene and her trusty trail blazer in the lead we walked down the driveway and up the street. I was nervous and played the, just to that next telephone pole game, until we nearly reached the end of the street. Mia took not one step wrong! She was nervous and looked at things, all the while marching forward! We worked on halting and walking and halting and on the way back we did a lot of circling in an attempt to teach her that doing a jig the entire ride home would not be acceptable. She met each request honestly and answered all of the questions I would ask. I could not have been more proud!
With my past accident it felt great to bring a horse out on the trail again and have success! I am looking forward to our trail adventures! I think it could be possible that Dressage will not be Mia’s only talent!