Actual Riding Updates!!
Yes, that’s right and they’re positive :)
This whole social barn thing is really helping my motivation to ride. At the old barn I’d be the only one there, literally the only one on the property a good chunk of the time and so if Katai was at all anxious or spicy I’d lunge partially from a self-preservation perspective and partially just because I was anxious and didn’t have any reason to ride. It was tough always being alone.
Here there are always people around and there have been at least a few times when I’ve arrived at the barn with no motivation, thinking I’d just lunge, and then changed my mind when I got there because there were lots of other people riding. Part of it is that this barn has a recommendation (I won’t call it a rule because they’re flexible) of no lunging in the indoor when someone else is riding. They’re fine in the outdoor, because it's bigger, but if there are lots of other people riding I’d still prefer to ride rather than lunge since I still feel the risk of accident is higher. Mostly though it’s just that when my friends are tacking up to ride I’d prefer to tack up and ride with them!
That meant that this week when I went out on Monday I was still feeling like crap and thought I’d just groom and lunge and maybe work in hand outside a bit. When I got there though my friend M (who was the reason I moved here) was there and just finishing up grooming and there were lots of other people riding. I had decided I might ride and then I saw another friend drive up. When I asked she thought that she’d ride in the outdoor. I figured I’d see how Katai was, since she’d been a pill the previous few days, but she was so good and quiet in the barn that I decided to join my friend in the outdoor. I didn’t have a death wish though so I decided to lunge first. At first Katai was a little tight and spicy but she calmed down pretty quick and before I could second guess myself I led her over to the mounting block and hopped on.
Long story short she was SUPER good. She acted like she’d been riding in that outdoor her entire life. She wasn’t spooky even with some construction happening at a nearby pole building, or the foal that was being weaned running around in a neighboring paddock. We walked for a while so that I could make sure she was really tuned in and then did some trotting and finally cantered. I let her run into the canter and just kept it nice and forward and low key but with that being said she never put a foot wrong. The arena is huge so she had lots of room to navigate and not feel like she was losing her balance which I think helped. She fell into trot going right at one point and I wasn’t going to ask for more but she went back into canter and the transition was gorgeous and she was listening to me so I just went with it for another circle or two.
I kept the whole ride pretty short because the arena footing is way different than what she’s used to at this point and we’re still acclimating. I was so proud of her and stuffed her full of treats when I hopped off and then hand walked her to “cool down” for a while even though she wasn’t sweaty at all. I think that part of what was so different was that she was out there with a horse that she knows well. I’m ok with that being our method of helping her understand that the outdoor is a safe place though and plan to ride out there with friends as much as possible until the weather dictates that we only ride inside.
I’m up north at a cabin with my bf this weekend so probably no updates for a bit but I’m hoping to post more soon!