1st Successful Trail Ride

Yesterday my husband kept the baby so that I could go to the barn. I walked out into the pasture and Baron came right over to me. Yay! I love that he’s excited to see me. I saddled up and started out on the road to the trail. We got a little ways out, within sight of Baron’s pasture buddies, and again he stopped and refused to go forward. This time I was determined to win the battle and not reward him by dismounting. I pretty quickly figured out that slapping his shoulder with the reins was very annoying to him. I thwacked him pretty hard and he turned around and looked at me like, “What the hell, Mom?” Slapping him with the reins combined with squeezing my legs got him moving. Yes! I won the battle. After that we had a wonderful walk. He hesitated on the trail head at the same spot he always does, but with a little encouragement from me (clucking and rubbing his shoulders to relax him), he moved ahead. I couldn’t ride for long because I knew my 5 month old baby would wake up soon, so it was a short but very successful ride. He was inquisitive and a little hesitant about his surroundings but trusted me enough to move forward on the trail when I asked. I was thrilled; we are definitely making progress!
My ultimate goal is to show Baron as a hunter/ jumper. We have a long way to go, and I don’t want to rush him, but I’m thinking of entering him in a halter class in March. This would give him a chance to acclimate to the show atmosphere and let me see where his weaknesses are in this regard. He was only gelded this past July as a 5 year old, so he still occasionally acts like a stallion. He winnies at mares and does a little dance. I want to see how he reacts to the other horses at the show. Granted, he was around all sorts of horses at the track, but I want to know what I’m dealing with before I roll up at a show to seriously compete.
Also, I found a trainer that can come to my barn and give me lessons. I want her to evaluate Baron and help me devise a game plan for his re-training. Like I said, we have a long way to go. I am not in a hurry, but I’m a goal oriented person and I want to be able to set a timetable for our first show, even if it’s just a walk/trot class. I scheduled a lesson for this weekend and I’m excited to start working with a trainer again!

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