13.04.07: Light Ride

With the first real gorgeous weekend of spring it was high time the horse got worked! I pulled him out of the pasture late in the afternoon after all the lessons were done and groomed him as best I could. Shedding as bad as he is, its a futile effort to really get all the hair off. It just keeps coming! I need to spend a good couple hours really scrubbing him to get the hair off, but that will have to wait for another day.
I got him tacked up and ready, and we headed to the arena where I started right away with him concentrating on walking pushing from his hind end and moving very slowly. He was really receptive to the work, and put quite a bit of effort into it. His backup is light once I get him reorganized to shift into that direction, and moving forward isn't bad, though he has a tendency to rush which puts him on the forehand.
I worked him up and down the fence line in both directions for a little while before putting on the reins and climbing up. He stayed settled and still while I settled into the saddle reconnecting with the feeling and finding my bubble. We headed off to the right and he settled into the work right away. I didn't need to make large corrections, and was happy that he seemed to really get right back to work where we left off. I made sure that our first priority was his focus, and then his balance. If he got unfocused, I stopped him and waited for his focus and calm to return before we continued onward. I was pleased that the few times that he was distracted, he returned his focus without us needing to stop. It was a quick flick of his attention away from me and then right back. We did a little trotting, though not much, and what little we did felt very good. I kept the pace nice and slow as much for me as for him since both of us were pretty out of shape. 
We changed directions and began working to the left, and I found much of the same, though he was slightly more eager to move faster to the left than he had been to the right. A large group of deer moved around in the woods, and he began to get distracted, but I was able to stop, and continue to ask him to focus on me through the reins until he calmed down and we proceeded forward. He kept trying to look off in the direction of what was so scary, and I was able to tip his nose in the opposite direction and regain his focus. We moved on once he relaxed again and was no longer concerned about what was rustling up the hill. 
It wasn't a super long ride, but it was a nice quiet easy ride, and a great way to start out the season again. I climbed down and introduced him to the big green ball officially. He was skeptical at first, but willing to explore it, and then became a little more hesitant when I started to roll it around with him following me and the big green ball. He didn't get too worried, and I was able to gently bounce it off of his front legs on both sides without him being too worried. We'll have to continue to play with that each time we return to the arena. 
I think it is also time to begin working on trailer loading again, and begin exploring the field for the spring. I'm just going to need to remember to go slow to preserve his and my own confidence.
Next Page: 13.04.18: Regroup 
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