We had a second scary outing this week, and, aside from some bug-eyed giraffe impressons, we survived!
I hauled Bear out to ride with a friend where she boards her horse. They have lights in their covered arena, so we could manage this after work even with the short days. It was just dusk when we got there, and the place is a bit chaotic for a greenie. The train tracks go right behind the property, and since the communter train passes by it is a pretty regular distraction. So it is dark, there is a loud train, its a new place, add to it pigeons flitting around in the fairly low rafters, a man with a bike and trailer zipping around in the dark past the arena, a very unruly teenage girl/mare combo out of control or out right defiant in the arena, and a donkey braying in the dark pasture on the other side, and you can imagine Bear's alarm with the situation. Luckily he gets over anything with time.
We just walked around the arena, or stood in the middle for quite a while. I basically decided to wait out the dangerous horse. With a total of four riders in an arena only slightly larger than a dressage court, I didn't want to get in a bad situation if I found myself next to the pissed off mare. So by the time we started riding, he was calm and focused. We took it easy and worked on some walk-trot transitions, walk to free walk transistions, and plenty of bending to ask for more contact on the bit. He was a good boy, and we finished the evening by standing in the middle of the arena while my friend practiced the dressage tests for the show Sunday.
It felt so good to be on him. He is built and moves so differently than Lola, it is a weird feeling! He is narrow, where Lola was round, so my leg hangs differently. He's so easy and pokey most of the time that's it hard to create the energy at first, but he's got bigger and more relaxed strides. With Lola I was working to turn her energized strides into slower longer swinging steps, with Bear I'm trying to energize his lazy jog into his long swinging stride! He's also so ignorant! He is an easy horse to ride, so its hard not to treat him like a dead broke lesson horse. But he is just getting the idea of accepting the contact and from there we'll be working on stretching to reach for it. A work in progress. He did start to get the idea of stretching his nose down at the free walk. Getting it, but not quite there yet!
I have a dressage lesson on Saturday and I think we'll make some good progress towards tidying things up before Sunday's show. Can't wait!