And I STAYED ON!!!!
It was A-Fucking-Mazing!
Okay, Monday I didn't ride. Tuesday I rode in the round pen at a walk and trot.
Last night there were new horses at the barn, and everyone was upset. Ashke now has two horses on either side of him, one of which is a mare named Lacey. Lacey moved into the barn yesterday from a new place. She was also separated from her 4 and a half month old filly, who is at the far end of the aisle next to G-man. T loves it because now he can love on G and Stoli at the same time. Ashke was nervous and unfocused because of all the turmoil between the mare and the filly. Weaning can be very difficult for the first couple of days. Ashke was very unfocused and not really paying attention to me. T wasn't feeling great and I had promised him it would be a short workout. I worked Ashke at a walk, trot and canter with him "arguing" with me, because all he wanted to do was call out to the other horses. After about ten minutes, we went back inside and I tossed him back in the stall.
Tonight when I got to the barn, Nicole had just finished her work out on Callie and they had cantered in the indoor arena, which I find kind of claustrophobic when working with Ashke. He doesn't like how it looks to him. Nicole had some of the same issues with Callie tonight and really had to work to get her to canter, but she did! She got Callie to canter twice and then she was done. Callie is still pretty young but coming along really well. I think Nicole is an amazing trainer.
I was pretty bummed, because it would have been good to work Ashke with another horse. I groomed him and did his feet, then saddled him up. There were a couple of horses out by the big arena and the new filly was tearing around telling the world how upset she was at being isolated from her momma. Ashke didn't argue with me, but he wasn't paying any attention. I had J bring over four white poles and we set them up at the edge of the round pen. Ashke paid attention then. He lunged over them in both directions until he finally figured out how to lift both his front and back feet going over them. There was no fight. He knew exactly what was expected of him and just did it.
After that, we pulled the poles out of the arena and I got on him. He stood still at the mounting block until I was on his back and then turned his nose for a peppermint. Made me laugh, but I obliged. Then we walked in both directions. Then we trotted and I tried to post in time with his movement. That didn't really work very well. I seem to be stuck between posting correctly and sitting the trot correctly. Not really doing either very well. Anyway, Ashke was moving well in both directions at a trot so I grabbed my courage with both hands and asked him to canter. Nicole was watching me ride and giving me verbal coaching. Ashke stepped from a nice trot to a sweet canter in two steps. We rode around the round pen several times and then I asked him to stop. We turned and went counter-clockwise at a canter. Again, he stepped from the trot to the canter in two strides.
I was pretty tense until the third time we cantered. There was a small part of the back of my mind that was stressed he would duck a shoulder and try to toss me. By the third time I asked him to canter, I started breathing again, mainly because Nicole was yelling at me to relax. I was so freaking happy! He got two peppermints when I asked him to stop. He was happy. Then I asked him to back up and he ducked his head and backed. Freaking amazing!!
We were done. He got more peppermints and lots of carrots.
Doesn't he look amazing?!!