We had our best ride together since sometime early in the fall. After that I wasn’t riding him a lot due to Steen’s injury. Then we had our couple of run-away moments just before the holidays (apparently I didn’t blog about the second one). They were excellent learning experiences, but they definitely set my Laredo comfort level back a little bit.
But since January we’ve been doing more and more rides, and today was the best one yet. He was very attentive to my legs and happy to walk, trot, or lope around. We started moving into the lope very early in the ride, and Laredo was eager to keep doing it. For the most part I don’t worry too much about steering him. We just more or less go along the rail and work on staying relaxed and getting comfortable with it. Sometimes we stop from the lope (which Laredo is really good at) and sometimes we transition down to the trot or walk. He is good at looking for the signals, but at times he still misses things. So sometimes we move in and out of the lope unexpectedly, or other times he will cut across the arena when I did not expect it. As Ray Hunt says, it is a great moment to practice going with your horse.
During one of these sharp dashes across the arena we got pretty close to the wall and I had no idea what he was going to do, so I just reached down and gently picked up on the right rein. Laredo tucked his butt, changed leads, and effortlessly moved off to the right. No pulling or yanking or anything that would push him off balance. It was one of the most amazing moments I’ve had on a horse. It is great to see him responding so well to the hackamore.
Robin and I finished out the ride playing a few transition games and then working on the routine. The first round left something to be desired. Laredo wanted to nip and play with Steen, and Steen wasn’t that happy about it, and then one of us was always going too fast or too slow. It was probably one of our worst runs at the routine yet. Thankfully the next couple improved quite a bit. I was a little worried that I had reached the end of Laredo’s attention span, but he came right back to me and got to work.
I’m really excited about this ride, and I hope it marks a nice turning point for Laredo and I. I have no doubt something else will come along in the future, and even though working through those tricky moments is never fun, it is always great to come out the other side.