This past weekend, Kota and I went for our first ride at home. Pulling him out of the pasture, grooming and tacking were all not a big deal in the least. HUGE difference from miss twinkle toes who would dance and prance around if she was left unattended (aka, my back turned) for a second.
Tossed all my tack on with not really a care about how gently or quietly things were done to make sure he was alright, and I was SO glad that he just didn't react! It's old hat to him, and that's awesome. I did a little bit of sacking out with my saddle pads, and he did. not. blink. Flapping saddle pad around my neck? Pffft, whatever mom, where's the food? Gel pad hanging off my poll? Yeah yeah, now where is the food? Stuff dangling about my legs? Mom, I'm busy eating here, can't you see that?
It made me SO glad and just reinforced the idea that this horse is the one I was looking for.
Once tacked up I took him over to the mounting block and up we go. No walking off, no issues, but I did take a deep relaxing breath before I put my foot in the stirrup just to keep my butterflies at bay. We started our ride, and he was lovely. He has the quarter horse bum, really pushes off his hind end with long strides. He was a bit dance-and-jig, but it felt a lot more secure, and a bit like it was in slow motion.
We hacked out by ourselves plus the two barn dogs until the end of our dirt road where the snow hasn't melted yet. Here is our first encounter with a herd of deer. Of course, the dogs bolt straight towards them and Kota was immediately on the ALERT! Head snapped up, ears so perked that they almost touched, and stiff through the back... uh oh. I sat down and kept going forwards (darn dogs, get BACK here) alternatingly calling the dogs and soothing Kota. The dogs eventually came back, and as we headed back home Kota was getting more and more anxious/jigging. Not surprising, really, with all things considered. What I found helped him regroup and relax was halting, counting to 3, then walking forwards with purpose again. After a few of these, his head and neck were relaxed, and we were walking home nicely.... except for the spook... at the melting snow in the ditch... clearly there were snakes in there just WAITING to get us. Silly pony.
Once we got back to the barn, we took the 'cross country' way back to the yard which is through an un-ploughed part of the circular drive, past the house with truck in the driveway, then into the yard. Not a blink with this horse, I just directed him to where we were going, and on he went! Awesome :)
Sorry for no photos, I will try and get some from tomorrow night! Was going to ride tonight, but was a little too exuberant at a workout and am now doing an excellent impersonation of the Tin Man. Am so glad that the hold of winter is slowly but surely leaving, and we're getting up into the double digits during the day (celsius).
May try to book the arena this weekend for some work with some cross rails... !