It figures that just as the weather turns awesome I would catch a cold. I spent the week pretty much not functional. On Friday, I finally dragged myself out to the barn and rode Steen during Brian’s lesson. Which mostly means I sat there watching while Brian taught.
Brian’s student, K, rode Oliver. We thought it would be an interesting experiment to see how he did with someone who is more of a beginner. Brian’s student is one of the gentlest, softest people I have ever seen on a horse — to the point that sometimes he has to tell her repeatedly that she needs to come in a little more firmly. And she’s usually riding Steen, who is one of the most responsive horses around. Oliver is also super soft, so it seemed like they might be a good match. And they were. The ride went great. K had a nice time, and Oliver was as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him.
Brian has 24 hours on Oliver now, and I have 2. You can really see the change in him. He’s just looking so much better, and he’s really starting to understand what we want, and settle in.
Today I rode Steen again, then Aiden. The horses got let out into the big pasture on Friday afternoon, and both yesterday and this morning the herd was really kicking it up. They love to get out on the big rolling hills and just gallop madly around. It’s good for them, and it’s always fun to see.
I was afraid Aiden would be a bit tired today, but he actually felt perkier than he has in some time. His back is also finally starting to feel stronger, and he had much better energy all around than he’s had my last few rides. We had some really nice trotting, and one little canter in each direction. He had a way, way, easier time getting into it than I’ve ever felt before, and our balance was better both ways.
I’ve also been working a lot on stopping our last few rides. When we got him, he was one of those horses who would kind of stop eventually at some time more or less around the time you asked. The last few rides, I’ve been asking him for more precision. Today, the ride started out with good stops. Then, when we worked on trotting and loping for a while, we lost them a little. So we polished them up again. By the end of the ride Aiden would stop on the same stride I asked, no hands needed. It’s always pretty cool with a big change like that clicks in.
After nearly an hour in the arena, we went out into the tree pasture for a while. Aiden continues to just be totally chill about exploring new places. Where Oliver gets just a tad antsy when we push his boundaries, Aiden is not bothered. Last week I even brought the tarp out and rubbed it all over him, drove him with it, opened it up and led him across it. Not a problem.
So, I’m enjoying my Aiden time. Due to the abscess, he’s quite a ways behind Oliver. I’ve got 11 hours on him. Brian has 2. Nevertheless, he’s starting to feel pretty different as well. He’s such a sweet horse. He’s getting pretty hooked on to me lately. When I come and go around the pasture and the hitching post, he’s always watching in this quiet, “just let me know if you need me” kind of way. It’s really endearing.
For some reason, though, Aiden is way behind everyone else on shedding. And seriously, he still needs to gain like 500 pounds. But we’re making progress.
Horseback Hours YTD: 85:40