Doug and I just got back from a trail ride on the beach behind our house. We took Savanah and Dan, my appaloosa. We used to go alot, but have been so wrapped up in dressage this is our first time this summer. We HAVE to get out more! It's good for the horses, and for us.
Here are a few pictures:
I just stuck the last picture in because you can't really see Dan well in the 2 beach photos of him, and I never write about him. This picture was taken last summer. He loves trails, hates dressage. I'm thinking the solution may be to practice dressage on the trails :) Honestly he'll go forever. He fights not to turn for home! I've never known another horse to do this. The down side is that he HATES working in the ring. It is such hard work to get him to go forward in the slightest. Point him at a trail though and you have a big striding, forward, eager sweetie. I was reading someone's blog the other night about finding the horse that likes to do what you want to do, and I thought, hmmm. Poor Dan has only been ridden about 4 times in the last year because I've been totally wrapped up in training Rogo in dressage and just don't have the time or energy to train Dan in something he doesn't want to be trained in. But.... I like trail rides and so does he. So I won't dread it and neither will he if we just go trail riding. I'm the type that likes riding goals and improvement (ha ha - no kidding - guess this explains the dressage!), so I'll have to set trail goals. Dan is very willing and will climb anything you point him at, but he isn't big on going through water (he will, but it needs work), etc. Maybe we can start learning a few obstacles and having some fun, instead of me trying to force him to do dressage or leaving him alone. We'll see. My ambition may peter out... It would be ideal if I could find someone who appreciated him and wanted to ride him.
Joan was down this morning and gave Doug and I a lesson in the kitchen. No, we weren't cooking (God help us if Joan was teaching us that! :) We had our bridles on the back of chairs and were reviewing the canter aids, from the initial half halt, to carrying it after the transition. Joan is a perfectionist, so each detail and nuance was discussed and reviewed - the half halt, inside and outside leg positions at each stage, hands, contact, flexion, gaiting, timing with the outside hind, ... I rode Rogo afterward on my own and our transitions were improved. They had started to get sloppy since he was carrying it more. Maybe I was rushing him into it in my zeal to keep him in it. Anyway, we slowed the trot for a step or two and then calmly picked up the correct lead canter with each ask. He is responding to my aids to carry it longer and to steering as well, so I'm pretty happy about that. It was the perfect time for a review.
Looking back, it was a great day. A lesson with Joan, two good rides - it doesn't get any better.