So I got out to boarding school yesterday to ride Bear and I was not pleased with the day. We made the most of it, but it was like I was riding Bear from a whole year ago, fresh and all over the place.
I got him out of pasture just after three girls had pulled a few other horses out to ride, one being the alpha mare of the pasture. Apparently Bear has a big crush on her, because he was simply beside himself when he saw her in the barn! He likes the mean ones that kick!
He was anxious while I tacked up, he was anxious and wouldn't listen while leading around, and so the plan to just hop on and trail ride around the ranch was shot. I felt like I better take him in the arena since he was so hot, and it was pretty wet out. There was already one of the girls in there, and the other two came in just after. Four horses in a small indoor is a whole lot of distraction. Bear never calmed down. There was no option to lunge while sharing the only place dry enough to lunge, so I just made the most of it. I just walked and worked on lots and lots of turns, walking pirouettes, turning on the forehand, stopping, and backing, I tried a little trot but he was just sticky, trotting too fast then dumping on his shoulder and walking, and it was not going to work to try and pushing him forward with three other horses trying to run barrel patterns! So I decided we'd try outside now that he was more focused.
I hopped off and lead him around outside a bit, and he got all hot and anxious again. I finally got on, and did some more turns and circles outside in a grassy area by the trailers, then finally walked out to one of the fields that hasn't been fenced off yet. We trotted some since now we could just focus on going forward in an open space and he relaxed a bit finally. My back has been killing me for about two weeks now, so I couldn't really do much. (Add to that that Bear yanked me forward when a horse bit him while I was pulling him out of pasture, and my back was awful by the time I was done.) So I was crabby and in pain, and mainly just really disappointed that he's regressed so much.
He's in a new place that he's still getting acclimated to (he's only come out of the pasture twice now), and has no training routine going, so all this is my fault and the fix is simple: consistent work. That's the plan for him being there! I just have to follow through now. I'll be taking the new mare out to join him at boarding school today, so I should be able to get out to ride the two most nights after work. I'm thinking I may wait until more like 6:30 or 7 so that they won't miss dinner in pasture and so that the indoor arena will clear out. I have no idea what the riding traffic looks like on a week night but I would assume its the worst right after work. Since I need to lunge and do other things with the new mare (like ground driving) that requires the arena to myself I may end up working horses at 9pm in order to have the place to myself!