Today is the first time we take Ashke out, sans another horse, to do an off property ride. I'm both a little excited and a bit nervous. Although he does well on rides where we are alone or with J, this will be the first time trailering to do so. The good news is, if this goes well, 1) he'll get much better about trailering, 2) we will have the freedom to ride wherever and whenever we want. I plan on taking the makings for his mash and feeding him half before the ride and half after. I also plan on putting the light weight black rope Parelli halter on under his regular halter (I would never use a rope halter in the trailer) so that when we unload I can hook to the black halter without taking everything off. (This is a safety precaution to ensure he does not get loose, even if he is a bit unsettled.) I will then leave the halter on under the bridle. That way, when we stop for lunch, I can slip the bridle and let him graze.
Last night we rode for a short bit in the big arena. We did some walk and trot and canter. I can feel in his movement how the saddle still does not work for him, but since I am still waiting on my Spanish saddle, there's not a lot I can do. After we rode two big circles in the outdoor, we opened and closed the gate to let ourselves out and then rode up to the hill.
We did one walk, one trot and eight canter trips up the hill. Only one of the canter trips was rough. It was toward the end and he was getting tired. I think he was cross cantering. I made him work it out though and the next time we cantered he was on the same lead. Our only issue was a long piece of blue and orange baling twine dropped in the center of our path that Ashke kept spooking at. I used Mark Rashid's advice and just kept riding him through it.
After cantering the hill, Ashke and walked down the incline and crossed the creek at the edge of the property near the bike path. He was much less hesitant this time, despite the gurgling creek. At the top of the other bank, we went over and inspected the new barrels. He immediately started to poke and bite at the toppled barrel like he used to with his ball. (This inspired me to pull the ball out last night and get it pumped up. It will be fun to see if he likes playing with it in his run.) We wandered over and played with the gate, walked over the bridge and meandered our way to the back of the property. I had an idea about riding over to N's house to get the trailer key so I could get Ashke's helmet out of her trailer, but the barn crew has built a fence between the property and the neighborhood, so that wasn't an option. I decided we would wandered behind the barn to the other side and go in the side door. (I was walking to cool him off.)
We came to the far end of the barn where the BC had ripped out a bad piece of fencing between two runs and had cut and painted the new posts to go into the ground. The posts were leaned against a fence and Ashke wanted nothing to do with them. I was patient and allowed him to think about it. I was willing to let him make a wide circle around them as long as he moved forward. He took two steps and then reared, spun and tried to bolt. (I laughed and thanked the Myler bit I am riding in.) I stopped him and decided to address the shenanigans. I stepped off and walked him up to the logs. He was snorty and all curved neck and pricked ears (he's so beautiful when he's like that) until he touched his nose to the wood, then the nonchalance came back. We walked over to the door and went back inside after sniffing all of the noses.
After I stripped the saddle and bridle, we went to the round pen with Dessa. I worked Ashke in a circle at a trot in both directions and asked her to see if she could see any lameness or favoring of his feet. He was tracking up under himself very nicely and showed no favoring of any limb. I think what I am feeling is his hesitation at the shoulder because of the saddle.
I can not get the Alta quick enough.