September 06, 2010

New Area to Ride In

Willy really seemed to enjoy the grooming session today.  He had a particularly itchy area behind his pole on the far side at the base of his mane.  I curried the area and he leaned into the brush, closing his eyes, a pleased grunt uttered on his happy horse lips.  He was so cute.  His dirty coat took a while to clean, I ran some hand wipes on the dirtier areas to bring off some of the dirt that I just seemed to be moving around with brushes.

Willy Ear
 I purchased a new bit for the bridle, an egg butt snaffle that is a little bit milder to see how it works with Willy.  Once he was tacked up I mounted up and worked him around the indoor ring.  I tried to get him to trot consistently around the ring while I checked out my position in the two mirrors on the wall.  I was having difficulty with keeping Willy at a nice trot, so I decided to take him outside and try a new "trail riding" area. 

Willy Nose
One of the Friesians
I took Willy right down Meridian instead of left.  We crossed over Garrett.  The footing on the side of the road was not quite as good as I would like so we crossed over Meridian onto the east side.  I was planning on taking Willy down the first dirt road a bit to get off the larger street.  He stopped several times on the side of the road, looking around.  Even though he was a trail/endurance horse in his prime I don't know how long it's been since he regularly went out on rides.  At this stable he probably stays on the property most of the time so I can understand his apprehension when we go somewhere new.

We turned down the dirt road and I asked him for a trot.  I worked on posting but his trot was really quick and choppy so I was having a hard time.  I tried slowing him down with my seat and hands but he threw his head and nose into the air with very little rein pressure, nothing different there really.  We finally got back to a walk but with him hollowing his back, and stiffening his legs.  I was using the same aids that have worked well on Divine.  Though I know that sometimes my aids aren't perfect and Divine lets me know by being a bit more bumpy she has more smoothness than Willy and I think that's from her collected gait.  I really want to work with Willy on collection, I'll have to see what Laurie says at my next lesson since we are planning to work on lunging Divine.  We trotted a few more times with the same results even though I tried to change my seat and aids a little bit.

Beautiful Friesian head
We walked back to the stable and I worked on lateral movements with Willy on the road.  To make him move laterally to the left I turned his head slightly to the right and pressed with my right leg; to make him move laterally to the right I turned his head slightly to the left and pressed with my left leg.  He and I did pretty well considering!  We finished our ride and I got Willy groomed and put back in his pen with many carrots.  Of course I had to give a few to Two Socks his stall mate.  I then went on up to the top of the sloped property to visit Lorraine's Friesian mares.  They were very sweet but hard to take pictures of since the light was bad and since they kept following me and nuzzling the camera!  I can see why she loves them so much, Friesians are so beautiful and her mares are so gentle.  I went to say goodbye to Willy, collected my tack and headed home.  On my way out a man with his daughter asked if it was always so quiet here, this was the first day he was out here with his daughter leasing the grey horse, Misty, Willy shares a stall with.  I told him yes it was usually nice and quiet here.  Hopefully that girl will learn a lot from leasing a horse like I have so far!

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