We had a pleasant indoor ride yesterday, despite the cool dreary weather. Our trainer introduced us to some of her long time clients, a couple that are big into trail riding (the wife also shows). They regularly head out on the trail, including trailering to different states. That's one of our long-term goals, getting a live in trailer and exploring other States. Guess their trail ride was cancelled and knew we were scheduled to ride at Iron Horse, they've been wanting to meet us. How sweet is that? When they asked if they could could ride with us, Trainer Patty knew they would be more then welcome!
After warming up, I learned Koda's new trick of the week. He is sticking his neck towards the inside, and nose towards the outside...no clue why he has to be so challenging, other then he is a horse. Patty asked me to correct him if he did it, by turning him right around into a tight circle. Sometimes it worked better then others. She said in general I do a lot of little corrections, while she does one big correction and gets longer results. In the past Koda has done his share of bracing, pulling, chomping etc. It all goes away, but seems to reappear in some form. Last year we switched bits. I wonder if it's time to try something different? She doesn't think so, stating new quirks are all part of the tune-up process.
We all stopped riding to learn together, when a mini trail class course was set up - a rope gait, a box, and a pole. The idea was to lope into a square box (with poles as a border) and stop inside, then do a 360 turn without touching the poles, trot off, go over a single pole, to the gate, and open and close it. Sounds easy, right? Well, it wasn't. I haven't done any gait work in over a year, and stopping in a box - ha! - that was a new one. Koda & I stopped inside the box, but it was a sloppy mess after we lost our gait somewhere right before the poles start. Our 360 turn was great, the gate not so much. Koda started what I not so affectionatally call his "backing crap" aka "I don't want to do that" and it instantly frustrates me. It sends me back to a place I don't like to go. A place where I don't trust him, and want to hop off. I said it out loud. Patty was right by the gate, and just continued coaching me. I tried to get him to WHOA! and not to inadvertently pull back, eventually we managed the rope gait. I only tried the course once, we've got a lot to work on...
After Brad did the course, he hopped off Nemo and asked the new (to us) Assistant Trainer Stephanie to do the course riding Nemo. He wanted to watch. Patty coached her in Nemo's sticky areas as well, and it was helpful for Brad to hear and see at the same time. No one was a shining star, we all had our issues and joked about "no pressure".
On the way home, Brad said he got a lot out of this ride. It wasn't one of my favorite, but they can't all be. Overall it was fun and the couple we rode with were great. We shared a few stories, talked about ACTHA and ended up exchanging emails. I'm pretty excited to have met such nice people with similar interests, and the trail it may lead us on!
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