At my barn, we have tons of trail riders so it’s actually pretty rare when it’s just Kiko and I on the trail.
I missed the one group because I headed out early and thought they were just hanging in the indoor.
Then my trainer passes me but she’s giving a lesson and I didn’t want to just invite myself along incase it hindered her progress with her student. Later she told me she turned down going out with the other group otherwise she’d ask me to join them. So it was just Kiko and I.
What a great opportunity for me to practice my leadership skills and work on Kiko trusting me more! Because we don’t do it a lot of course Kiko was concerned. Concerned when he couldn’t see my trainers horse (his best friend Crescent) worried when he heard others on the trails around us, ticked off he couldn’t go with the group that passed us….totally lashed out at Cyrus as he passed just out of fustruation but thru all of this I maintained a level of leadership because he did listen and would calm down a bit when he would tell me he was upset and I would aknowledge it.
After the passing of the other horses he started doing his old behavior of launching into a trot without being asked but this year being wiser and having a better connection with him I decided to make a game I saw my friend play once with our trainers help. The last thing I wanted was to get upset, I HAVE to be more creative then that. So, everytime he burst into his trot, we turned around and backed up about 10-20 feet. I made it pretty long because I wanted him to start thinking instead of reacting. Then we would continue down the trail.
By the second back up, he started playing with it. In the back up he started to really put effort into his back ups, moving faster then I’ve ever gotten out of him before (something we have been working on) we were truckin backwards! Then when I started the turn, he would plant his backfoot and we would do a rollback part spin to turn around…..Oh! that was cool, he really put his hindquarters into it and was so unusually light in the front it was amazing! So then I started asking for that and we were moving together perfectly doing these really cool movements that were coming from our cores, I needed no leg aids, I barely had to turn my head, I would shift my weight and I moved my reins less then an inch and we would spin around and continue walking.
I was starting to look forward to his trotting just so we could turn around and do it again and I’m pretty positive he was too because he was blowing and lowering his head, stretching his neck down but then would trot…much smoother then before and it didn’t have that panicky edge to it…..my guess is that he was enjoying this game as much as I was.
At the end of the day he seemed totally pleased about our trail ride, didn’t want to leave me when I let him back in the pasture. So we hung out for a bit then I gave him a treat and left.
I think I want to start learning more reining movements because both of us had so much fun! I then remembered his previous owner told me when I asked why she was selling him that she wanted a reining horse and didn’t think that he could do it beause he was too big. I can honestly say, I’m glad she didn’t know this back then because she may not have sold him to me if she knew he could do this! Lucky me!