Just when my riding was starting to improve, I got a baby bump and the weather turned alternately freezing or raining monsoons. I may have mentioned that my non-horsey husband is not too keen on me riding while pregnant, so out of respect for him I’m taking it easy. I absolutely refuse to quit altogether while I’m pregnant, but I agreed to no cantering while I’m knocked up. Lucky for my husband, the weather has conspired to keep me from riding. It seems that whenever I have a day off, it’s pouring buckets or really, really cold and miserable, so I’ve hardly ridden in the past two weeks.
I’ve also had to put lessons on hold. I just can’t pay a babysitter AND pay to borrow the trailer AND spend four hours to take an hour lesson. It’s too expensive and exhausting while I’m pregnant. I’ve decided to do as much as I can on my own and resume the lessons next summer once the baby’s born.
In the meantime, when both time and money are short, I’ve decided to go back to focusing on ground work. I came up with some goals for the winter while I’m not able to ride with as much frequency or focus. Here they are:
1. Make ground work fun for Baron! He is smart and gets bored easily, so I want to do things that spark his curiosity. I want him to enjoy our time together.
2. Get him to be more responsive on the ground. I want to wiggle the lead rope and have him back up and I want to gesture for him to follow and have him follow me without any hesitation. Right now he will plant his feet and refuse to go forward if we’re going somewhere he doesn’t want to go. I want him to be more obedient and learn that I’m the leader.
3. I want to teach him to walk beside me and stop when I stop (without a lead rope). I also want him to trot beside me if I jog, basically mirror my gait. I’ve seen youtube videos of this and I’ve seen Parelli do it, and I love how the horses are so tuned in and responsive.
4. I want Baron to load into the midget trailer without a fuss and without the special extra long lead rope that I use now. I want him to walk on with a little encouragement, but no coercion!
5. This last one isn’t ground work related, but it is ever so important to me. I don’t want him to lose any weight this winter. Last winter was hard on him and he got s0oooo skinny. This winter I want him to maintain or gain!