J wants me to teach him to bow. Worthy of a Prince. It should be fun to try.
Yesterday, we did a couple hours at the barn. I got the bitless bridle in the mail on Friday, but I wasn't able to try it on him because of the barn party. I have to say that I wasn't real excited about the bitless bridle, when I first saw it. It was made of rubber-pretend-leather. I hated how it felt. Now, I know some of my hesitancy is based on knowing I have a side-pull that I and Ashke both like a lot. I tried it on Ashke yesterday and didn't like how it looked or fit. The cross straps crossed under his chin and they didn't slide well through the side rings. I didn't even ride him in it. I think that although I ordered the small size, it still didn't fit his head well. I am sending it back and buying the sidepull.
We were there with Nicole, who was doing a dressage lesson with Margaret, a trainer at the barn. They were focused on getting Cali to take her right lead and trying to figure out what is going on with her. I just rode. Ashke is much more receptive to commands in the sidepull. It's pretty amazing. We were trying to work on him lowering his head and flexing at the poll, but honestly, the boy just wants to go with his head up and his ears forward. He also wants to go fast. Nice, fast swinging walk. Fast trot. Faster canter, although his canter to the left was smooth and steady, his canter to the right is still rocky and rough. We are working on it.
Ashke started something new yesterday. While we were working in the arena, there were a lot of other horses in there. Ashke, who has never been aggressive or shown dominance, has started to behave in an aggressive and dominant way. Every time we went by a chestnut or another gelding, Ashke would pin his ears, swish his tail and try to go after the other horse. Completely out of character. In fact, he kicked out at them as we went past them. Four or five incidents and I was done in the indoor arena. There were also 8 horses, counting us, in the arena and I wanted some space. We went outside.
I figure we rode outside for 30 minutes or so. Ashke loves riding out to the Mesa and has absolutely no issues with riding out just the two of us. He listened really well in the sidepull and we even had a short canter up the first hillside, which I curtailed pretty quick since there was snow on the ground and I couldn't see where the rocks were. I didn't want him to hurt a fetlock, or slip on the snow. He goes great without shoes and was very sure footed.
I forgot to start the app on my phone until we were already 10 minutes out or so. I figure the ride was almost 30 minutes and about 1.5 miles. I think he could have gone a lot farther, but didn't want to push it since we were having such a good day.
He was so strong on this ride. He didn't slip or hesitate on his right haunch. He was very interested in trotting and at one point, we did a brief canter. On the way back, we did a prancing trot down the hill. The only issue was all the rocks he kept shying at. Silly boy.
This frame should have looked more like a bell curve, if I had remembered to turn on the app before I left the barn. We started and stopped at the same elevation.
J and T went up on the Mesa, so I wasn't entirely alone, but they didn't go far because of J's footwear.
Ashke was very comfortable, listened well and seemed to really enjoy the ride. He loves being out, even in the snow and cold, and goes great with his head up and his ears forward. He's just not going to be a dressage horse or western pleasure show horse. He is going to be a wild and free trail horse.
Just what I wanted.