Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Different Bit, Same Game

Sunday was trail ride #2 for the year! I still had some anxiety about it (and probably will for a while) but having John there really helps me! John did a little trailer maintenance while I tacked up and then we headed out along the road.

I use a more 'western' bit for trail riding as I like having the extra control of the leverage and curb chain. I use an argentine snaffle (aka- jointed curb or shanked snaffle) similar to this one. This is what the trail trainer used and Boomer has good control with it. Because it is a mild leverage bit I need to exert less force for him to feel my cue.

For the first 1/4 mile or so, Boomer and I had a little refresher course on flexing and being round and light in my hand. Once he figured out that the rules were the same outdoors and with a different bit, he just dropped his head down and walked along like a champ! At one point he balked and started to back up, testing like he used to and I kicked him hard with my spurs a few times until he jumped forward at a good trot. After that he was a perfect angel for the whole ride! I was so happy with him! He willingly kept his neck flexed and round. I could really feel him using his back and shoulders when we went up and down hills! We went about 4 miles in about 1 hour 20 minutes.

We did take one detour into the state park at an opening by a bridge. Boomer did really well there as well! We came up to a newly constructed bridge that has a concrete base. With a little encouragement, Boomer stepped up on to the raised base (about 8") and stood in front of the bridge. The first section was covered by orange plastic fence so we couldn't cross and get further into the park. I was really proud of Boomer for getting up on the concrete block and checking out the bridge though!

I really had a big confidence boost on this ride because Boomer was so well behaved and relaxed. I was super impressed by his willingness to bring his neck down into a more dressage-y frame and keep it there with only the slightest lift of the rein!

It also really means a lot to me to have John join us for the rides. He is the person who builds me up the most and having him with me makes me feel safe. I am so happy spring is here and the days are longer so that John and I can spend more time together in the great outdoors! Being out in the fresh air and sunshine is so good for both of us and spending time outside together really makes me happy! I am so lucky!


Shanster said...

That is SO cool! HOORAY for you! Yeah, it's why I made Dave follow me home on Rosso that day last spring... wasn't sure what he'd do on the road and it really does feel better to have the person who knows you best around and available for confidence, encouragement and support!!

Heather said...

It is strange, but John gives me just as much confidence as a trainer would. I know he couldn't get on an sort Boomer out or should instructions to me, but it makes me feel safer to have him there.