So last Monday was awesome. Big Horse and I moved back into the Show Buddy’s lesson (JLB is doing private lessons only now), and the Trainer set up a cool activity with one jump leading into three different options (left, right, and straight). We started out trotting over ground poles, then the Trainer put the first jump up as a tiny cross rail so that we could trot into it and canter out (something that went much better than the last time we tried it!) while she raised a couple of the other jumps up for the Show Buddy. Ezhno did so well that we moved on to cantering into the tiny jump—and the Trainer took video evidence!
I rode for about 40 minutes on Tuesday. We did a lot of posting trot and he was super responsive, so we gave the canter a shot… and he framed right up and stayed soft in the bridle! I was so excited I had to mentally remind myself that I couldn’t just stare down at his pretty head, I had to watch where we were going, lol. Then we took a walk break and I wrapped things up with some seated trot without my irons and a few trot to halt transitions.
Wednesday‘s lesson was more circles, but we worked on a hunter-esque length of rein (our new “default”). The goal was to turn a circle with his neck straight, his head down, and a slight bend at his throatlatch. He needs work on consistency of his pace, not over bending, and keeping his impulsion at the canter without rushing. I need work on keeping my chin up, my calf on, and my back straight (I tend to lean forward, darn it!). I lost an iron at some point during our canter work, so I accidentally participated in No Stirrups November, too. 🙂
Thursday was a follow up to Wednesday’s lesson. We did a lot of walk/trot plus some canter, all of which looked miles better than just a couple of weeks ago. He still needs a more consistent pace and his downward transitions need work, but I was so proud of him! I hosed him off since it was warm out, then I went to work and came back later for another short ride (bareback while the UW equestrian team practiced!) and to put his blanket back on.
Then on Friday this happened:
I ran him until he was desperate to stop, then it only took one “whoa” for him to come right over and wait to be haltered. I popped his bridle on and took him to the arena for a lunge, then gave him another bath and put him back in his stall to dry while I kept slathering layer after layer of neatsfoot oil on my Ebay saddle. I planned on riding in it that day, but the saddle wasn’t as soft as I wanted it to be even after five hours of conditioning, so I called it a day and went home to have dinner instead.
Saturday morning I came in to try out the new saddle. It went okay, I’m still not super sold on it, but I plan to give it a few more rides before I decide whether or not to resell the thing. I also trimmed his face (see .gif to the left, please ignore accidental eyelash trim, lol), so he looks 100x more elegant now! I had to clip out a lot of hair from his ears, but he was very polite about the whole thing, if a bit impatient towards the end.
On Sunday there were two Girl Scouts of America events at our barn that I volunteered at. I was manning the grooming and saddling station and I decided it would be a good experience for Ezhno, so he got doted on by dozens of young girls throughout the day. He was a great sport about all of it—at least until dinner time rolled around, at which point he was 100% done with being curried a million times and started getting antsy in the cross ties. He did very well for his first time, though!