Back to Basics

I have a 5 month old baby, so my time is very limited. I get to see Baron every day, but I only get to work with him once or twice a week. I am still a beginner rider, so ideally I would get to ride twice a week, but I’m beginning to see that I need to do a lot more foundational ground work before I continue riding. I rode on Thursday, and a lot of issues came up. Baron had a hard time when he was first introduced to the herd at my barn. He is still lowest in the pecking order, but has finally started to make some friends. Because of that, he is more hesitant to leave the pasture now than when I first got him. I tacked up and started off down the road. He stopped when he came in sight of his buddies in the pasture and neighed and did his little dance. He did continue on when asked, but as we walked along the fence toward the trail, he got slower and slower, less focused on me, and more focused on his friends. As we moved further away from his friends, he became more agitated and finally turned to face the fence instead of going forward. He refused to turn and go straight, so I circled him around in an effort to point him in the right direction. Each time he would turn back and face the fence. The situation quickly deteriorated. The only progress we made toward the trail was by going in circles. It turned into a tug of war, me pulling on the reins and him being forced to comply, exactly what I don’t want. Finally, I asked him to turn back to the barn (so that it was my idea and not his) and headed home. I did trot him most of the way home so he at least kept the pace I set. I realized I need to go back to basic work on the lunge before riding again. I hate riding when it turns into a battle. It’s not fun for either of us. So this weekend we will be on the lunge line doing walk-trot transitions and halts. I need to get control of his feet and teach him to go forward willingly.

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