OK guys take a seat, make a cuppa this is going to be a long one. :o)
Lets go back to last Wednesday. I had a lesson which went well. Jane rode her horse Mojo so we could ride all around the large riding paddock. We started by heading straight down instead of doing a little in the round yard. Jane took me a way down to the riding area that I don't usually go because Sam spooks in that area. I was apprehensive and Sam certainly picked up on that. He went to have a jig jog but I sat deep and he came back to a walk. We made our way over to the arena and Jane set up some cones so I could concentrate on keeping Sam on a 20m circle. We did really well, hardly any falling in or out. We worked on that for a while, both reins then we had a chat about the three buttons she has created on Sam's sides. I practiced moving his shoulders, his hindquarters and then his whole body side ways. I showed her our canter so I could practice that as well. Jane could see an improvement in my seat and position which made me very happy. I just have to concentrate on relaxing my shoulders, they are very tense at the moment.
We then went for a ride through the paddock and Jane sprung a trail ride on me. She took me out along the road. I am glad that she sprung it on me so I didn't have time to really work myself up about it, but I was certainly nervous. We took a dirt road that took as round some properties. We went the way she had already taken Sam so he was forward but content. It certainly helped having Mojo along with us. Mojo spooked badly at a letterbox so Jane had to do some work on getting him near it and past it. Sam stood and watched Mojo have a panic attack and was happy to walk on when Mojo was ready. We then pushed them up into a trot. Sam became tense and looky but was still controlled. I concentrated on my position and rising to the trot evenly. He was happy to come back to a walk. Further down the rode Mojo trotted off in front of us and Sam was happy to stay at the walk - this I was very impressed with. We trotted to catch up but I continued past at the trot so he didn't think we trot to catch up all the time.
All in all the ride went for 2.5 hours, I was tired and so was Sam at the end but I was really happy with how we went. We organised to go for another trail ride on Saturday morning.
Friday I rode again and Sam was awful. I had trouble with my position so Sam wouldn't settle. He felt strong and was leaning a lot on my hands. I just didn't have the energy or patience to really concentrate on it so we went for a walk and went up and down gullies. I was happy how I ended it and in the bottom of the gullies I practiced using my seat and legs to get him to follow the gullies twists and turns. We ended on a happy note which was the main thing.
Saturday morning arrived and I was so nervous about our ride. I didn't have a good sleep and sat on the toilet for a while if you know what I mean. My stomach had a billion butterflies but I got in the car and once I got to the paddock I was doing a little better. I got there early so I could warm Sam up before we headed out. I wanted to check what sort of a mood he was in before we headed off. We started off in the round yard and practiced our halts and turns then we made our way down to the riding paddock. Sam was very forward but listening. We worked for about 20min before I realised Jane and Bec where mounted and had made their way down to get me. I don't know how long they where waiting but I appreciated it.
The three of us headed out and down the driveway. When we came out onto the rode a large group of cyclists made their way towards us. Now Sam always grew ten hands, would stop and stare wide eyed at them when we were riding in the paddock. I asked if we could stop and let the horses watch as they went past but Jane likes to keep the horse moving and keep them doing what you already were. I decided to stop and let Sam watch. He coped really well. I think it all happened so fast he didn't have time to react. The others were a little way ahead which made him a little worried but again after and little jig jog he came back to a walk. Bec and Jane put us in the middle for while to help me calm down and relax a little. Sam grew stronger and braver with this and soon powered on in front with a really forward, strong power walk. I let him go and it took him a while to realise what he had done. He had put about 4 horse spaces inbetween us. I kept him going forward when he started to back off and wanting to wait for the others. I made him do a small circle and we were back in the middle. He went past running sheep, barking dogs on chains, squawking chooks, trucks hurtling past - he did all this with good manners, maybe a little tension at times but I thought he did really well for all the things that were thrown at us and for putting up with a very nervous rider.
We made it to a large open area where we got to do our own thing. Jane and Bec worked on their flatwork and canter, Sam was very tense and not sure what to do with the two horses working around him, behind him, in front of him. I concentrated on keep a gentle rhythm and he soon settled down. Still tense but more focused. We were able to have a little canter and then I gave Sam a rest. I dismounted loosened his girth and let him have a pick. By this stage we had been riding for about 2 hours. After a bit we continued on our way. The way home was mainly by a dirt pathway that people can ride their bikes, horses, walk their dogs along. It is a lovely part and one section is through bush with different size fallen logs that you can jump over. Jane and Bec event so they took this opportunity to practice some jumping. Sam and I stood to the side to watch. He was not happy about this to begin with. I think he thought they were going to canter off with out him but once he realised that they were staying close he was happy to watch. Once we made it back up to the road that leads home Sam showed how tired he was getting. He kept wanting to stop so we took it at his pace. Poor boy our ride ended up being 3.5hrs. A lot was at walk but he took in a lot mentally.
I was very proud of him and myself. That afternoon I had a very big snooze on the couch!!!!
Today was showering with light rain and then this afternoon the wind picked up. I wanted to take Sam out for a walk to make sure he wasn't sore from yesterday's big ride. We saddled up headed up to the round yard to warm up. He was happy. Then I took him out to a different area to ride. Trotted up a hill and walked out along the top. He was forward and in the trot I could feel he just wanted to let rip but he didn't - he came back to a walk when I asked. We worked around on the side of the hill for a bit and then I let him have a canter up the hill. I thought he might stretch out a bit but he was happy to stay at his usual slow controlled canter.
You know what - you just have to love this horse. He really is so patient with me. He looks after me and I really have to TRUST him more. I know I have said that before and I know it will come but he really is awesome. Love little Sam to bits!
OK well if you stayed with me for the whole post well done and Thank you!!!!! Have an awesome horsey day! Go and give your pony a kiss and remember to thank them for looking out for you! Maybe a carrot wouldn't go astray either! :o)