Days like today are why I love my horse. Dandy was so perfect and we had a great great ride.
First, for your entertainment, a video of me putting on Dandy’s Mary Janes with lots of footage of my butt:
Anyway, I started out by lunging him with the side reins; making sure that I was getting impulsion and really pushing him into the reins so that he would collect. It took about a half hour to find a good part of the field to lunge him in as it’s still really soft and my normal spot was taken over with hay piles. Eventually we found a suitable area by some of the cross country jumps. Dandy did so great and got very very sweaty. I had two reasons for working him so hard. One, because he needs it. Two, because I wanted to go for a road hack afterward and wanted him a bit tired.
Next I got on him and took him out on the road. It was the most perfect ride. I just trotted him up and down the road over and over again until he calmed down. He didn’t spook once and I even got to trot him on the buckle for one loop.
Since every time we passed the gate he wanted to go back to the barn, I started asking him to collect before we got there. This got his mind back on me and also taught him that the barn means work, lol. Dandy was doing so well at the end that I even asked him to canter and got a wonderful lope down the lane. When I started our ride, I didn’t even think about cantering because I was worried that the long dirt road would remind him of being on the track and I’d get a crazy OTTB answer. Clearly I misjudged my wonderful thoroughbred.
I can’t even stress how good of a ride this was for both of us. Since Dandy’s going to be my event horse, it’s important that he trust me to be the leader when we’re out of the arena; I can’t have a horse that’s going to spook at something stupid and there’s only so much ground work and desensitizing I can do (aka, I can’t desensitize for everything).
Hey, maybe I can even do my limited distance event in August? Dare I dream?
This view is why I love riding out here.