I did my first hack with Trial Horse (TH) yesterday. During the ride I wanted to focus on three things: (1) trying out the new bit (swapped the full cheek corkscrew for a D-ring snaffle) (2) canter leads and (3) transitions to the canter. Also on the table were lead changes and ground poles.
Grooming and tacking up went well — he was less ticklish today, probably because I was more aware of it and made sure to stay light, especially around his belly. Overall, he stood very well, and hardly moved around in the cross-ties.
We again had to ride inside (stupid rain — doesn’t Mother Nature know I have a horse on trial that I need to ride outside?!), but this time we were all by our lonesome. I was actually happy about this, because I usually ride in the evenings and during the week, there are not a lot of people out at the barn at that time. So this was a good test. But again, TH didn’t care — yay! During our ride it rained a few times, which can be quite loud on the roof, but again, no cares. TH is definitely turning out to be even more quiet than I anticipated, huzzah!
We got to work, and he was a little stiff and locked throughout his neck and body: he has trouble truly bending and maintaining that bend. But he will do as you ask without complaint, so I feel strongly that this is something I could improve over time. Overall, he was pretty lazy–I can see why his owner sometimes rides him in spurs. I put that on my list to try later in the week. Since I never ride in spurs, ever, I need to make sure I can ride him in them myself!
After trotting, we moved on to working at the canter. Leads are still a bit tough for us — we got most of them, but they were not pretty. I need to remember to stretch up through the entire transition and not relax until we are a few strides into our canter, especially to the left.
We also practiced a few lead changes, since everything else was going okay. Plus hammering TH on his transitions and leads isn’t what we need — we need time to figure each other out, so I figured a change of pace would be good at this point in the ride. His change from right to left is almost automatic, but I couldn’t get a clean one the opposite direction. To me, this makes sense since it means switching to his weaker lead. Plus I really don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to asking for flying changes, since I’ve been riding a horse that doesn’t have them. But in the end I have confidence that it will be there when we need it. I’ve seen him do it, so it’s not like the change that direction doesn’t exist.
We finished with some ground poles, both trotting and cantering. The first time we did them, TH looked at them hard, but I kept my leg on and he jumped it. Oops! But after that he was fine and did them well. He was very responsive to both lengthening and shortening aids, so it was a piece of cake!
Overall it was a good ride, and shows me that his personality is what I’m looking for and that we have some things to work on as far as flatting goes. Both of those I like, because I feel confident I can help out on the flat and I love that I will be able to contribute to his skill-set. This whole sucking back and being looky at poles and jumps I don’t like. Our lesson on Thursday and Saturday will be good tests to see how that issue progresses.
- Wednesday – Off
- Thursday – Lesson
- Friday – Off
- Saturday – Lesson