Rainy, muddy, cold and miserable... I SO want an indoor arena! I would be so much more productive.
It had been so long since I went out to ride, that I actually had to look at the calendar to figure it out! 16 days! Leaving a barely broke horse to sit for 16 days is not the best way to progress, but between the rain and the holidays it couldn't be helped. Unfortunatley it also means that he spent most of that time locked up in a pen because of rain, and when he is out in the pasture its too slick and muddy to actually run.
So yesterday I was determined to get back out there. We have just 15 days until the schooling show, and I'd like to be able to do a walk/trot class (without crashing into other horses!) I head out in the afternoon feeling a little rushed to get done before dark, so of course I end up cutting corners and regretting it! Because of Bear's run-around-the-pasture-before-being-ridden routine, I decided to take off his blanket first, and then get his lunch ready. I went straight out without a halter or anything, and as soon as I get all the buckles undone except the front two, he starts walking off. So off he goes with straps slapping and banging about, so needless to say, he spent the next 5 minutes trying to get those straps to stop flapping! Every time he bucked, they hit harder, so he'd buck harder! He was distracted by the running and bucking because he had to be REALLY careful not to slip and fall, so he wasn't really watching where he was going. I was just laughing too hard to really do anything about it. He noticed a big boulder at the last minute, and had to jump over it. Then he ended up tripping and sliding when coming up to the old mare, and he only came to a stop when he actually crashed into the side of her!
If it was too slippery to have fun galloping and bucking, lunging wasn't going to be an option, so I planned on sticking with the round pen just in case he was a nut case. I hobbled him while I tacked up, so I've at least spent one extra day working on the one item I swore to do everyday about two weeks ago! Then I walked him around and I addressed some of the ground manners I've been getting a little sloppy on like stopping when I stop and not walking ahead of me. Then we worked in hand through the trail course that I've set up with poles and logs, before finally heading into the round pen to get on. He was just as good as he was 16 days ago! Its so wonderful that we don't have to start over at the beginning just because I've been too busy. We just did work at the walk, and worked on stopping and backing up, then called it a day!
Today (Saturday) we trailered out to the big arena with my sister and old mare. He was pretty full of it while lunging, so I'm glad he had a place to stretch his legs and get some exercise. Since we worked on turns and stopping yesterday I took advantage of the big arena to focus on going forward. So we trotted and cantered around, and I even got his left lead! YEAH! He moved forward on a loose rein and was happy and relaxed the whole time. He's such a good boy.
We're off to a good start for the schooling show January 10th, but I need to keep this up everyday to be ready in time.