Yesterday I rode Joy over to the neighbors so we could go for a trail ride.
Let me back up a minute…
I weedled, begged, and harrassed my neighbors until they caved and agreed to go for a trail ride with me (they are not winter riders) . It took me a few days, and a guilt trip, but I finally had them tacking up and ready to go.
I haven’t taken Joy on a trail ride in nearly a year. Last time I walked her off the property, Joy freaked and I barely had enough control to get her home again.
But, she’s been so well-behaved, and such a solid citizen under saddle the past few months that I felt we could do this confidently.
I made sure to get on about 30 minutes prior to get Joy focused on me, and resolve any tension if any existed. But when I hopped on, I had a very calm, very wonderful pony beneath me. We did some basic supplying exercises and then headed over to the neighbors.
Everything was going great! Joy was relaxed, the weather was nice, the footing was decent (for winter) .
We climbed the last small section of hill and as we climbed Joy became more and more tense. By the time we crested the rise, Joy was doing a spectacular rendition of passage. Every fiber of her body felt like a live wire.
We got to the neighbors barn and I slid off Joy. She nervously circled around me, her muscles shaking.
When the neighbors came out, I asked if I could use their little dry lot to ride Joy in before we headed out. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get back on the keg of dynamite I was holding. She was literally vibrating.
I lead her into the paddock. I tried getting on her, but within seconds she’s rearing and bolting and whirling around me like an idiot. I let her whirl for a short bit, and futilely tried to lead her around some. Then I remembered a trick a trainer taught me about getting a nervous horse to cross their back legs to settle them down. So while Joy circled around me, I made her move her haunches out so she had to cross her hind legs.
Took maybe 30 seconds, and suddenly I had my Joy back!
Took her back outside, hopped on, and we had a great, very relaxed, trail ride.
I love that Joy is able to find her brain fairly quickly even when she’s hyped. It’s like she needs 5 minutes to just get it out, and then her brain comes back.
After the trail ride I dropped the neighbors back at their barn, and Joy and I rode home all by ourselves, on a loose rein. Whew! Ended much better than I feared it was going to when I got there!!
A few more of those, and I think we’ll be good to tackle trails on our own again.
Then next step is off property to a totally new location!
I’ve gotta get this pony out and about, or all hopes of ever showing or going to clinics are pointless.
We will conquer this!