One of the pros of living on the Eastern shore is the generally mild winters. It's only ever "bad" during Em Niño years since nobody is quite ready for winter after having 80℉ weather well after Christmas. The occasional 50℉ days during a regular year are nice, but they come at a price: rain. What's one thing horse people (especially those without an indoor) hate? Rain.
Rather than reschedule my Thursday lesson for today, I opted to suck it up and haul with the gang to the place where Max was boarded in August. It's still a nice place, and four of Miss El's students fit rather snuggly in the indoor with another lesson happening. I took Roman, who's never been to this place before. He's been off-site several times and has visited many different barns, but, he's Roman. Very large very distracted Roman.
We got there, unloaded, I put him on the cross ties, and baby War Horse couldn't stop moving. Just pacing as much as he could, tried to straight up walk out of the cross tie at one point, then almost backed up over me. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I love horses, I swear. He actually rode fairly well. Looky and overly spooky at things we passed 100000 times? Yah, but he looked cute with every scoot to the inside. We walked for a long time at the advice of trainer then started trotting. He was pretty inconsistent and behind the leg at first, so much so that I just focused on getting him forward before asking him to start softening. I actually prefer a horse that will back off a little bit instead of bolting when stressed.
The softening took a lot of effort. Trainer had me really ask him to bend and keep his focus. Pay attention to me, Roro, not the screaming children. Lots and lots of circles and serpentines and changes of direction. He got pretty heavy on me, too, but I just tried to push him forward again. Slowly but surely, he softened and lightened. We had some killer trot work.
We moved up to the canter and stepped into the left lead fine, maintaining it well. It was much easier to sit and hold my leg steady this time (posting was easier too). Always a good sign. Right lead just didn't happen. I tried and tried, but it wasn't gonna be a thing, so I quit with some stretchy trot to the left. He was leaning to the inside, and I just don't have the strength yet in my right leg to support him. Overall, the left rode much easier than the right for this ride. Time for more weighted lunges.
We hung out in the arena for a bit to cool out, then I went to untack him. Suddenly, the anxiety returned. He screamed my ear off for a good 30mins while I attempted to untack him. Hint: if the horse is still trying to walk out of the cross ties, perhaps don't use the cross ties. Hindsight is 20/20, and he ended up snapping one of the bungees. I almost made an impromptu Amazon purchase, but the BO said not to worry about it.
Everyone hauled back fine, Roman got a couple more treats, then he went right back out into the field. He's a really funny horse.
Edit: lol at the previous formatting