I started out having a lesson but PJ was tired from yesterday’s ride. PJ’s stifles kept falling out and he was leaning on the bit. Barbara and I talked about some ideas on how to get PJ to push from behind sooner. The going very forward didn’t work – it put him on his forehand. We thought it was best to do trot-walk transitions because my transitions within the trot weren’t working enough. However, because he was tired we thought it best to reschedule my lesson for Saturday (giving him off Friday). Instead, Barbara suggested I take him for a nice walk.
I really need to trust my horse more. We started out going to the river. No problems there. Then we went down another trail that goes around the property. We hadn’t been on it since last year. PJ was very looky but not in a scared way, more in a “oh, look at that; wait, look over there that’s cool.” way. Of course, all I’m thinking about is what if a deer jumps out and he spooks sideways off the trail and into a ditch. When PJ spooks his first reaction is to stop and stick his head in the air. The next step is to get a little dancey. The problem is that I don’t know what comes after that because it’s never escalated more, but only because the scary thing went away or I turned him in a circle, or another horse was there to save him. That should be reassuring to me – that it hasn’t ever escalated past that point, but I’m always thinking about the what if.
The good thing was that when we turned around to head home (we had to b/c of a fallen tree), he relaxed and just strolled like a real trail horse. It was actually relaxing. I haven’t had the benefit of taking lots of trail rides in my lifetime, and not many at all with him. I think it will just take time for me to be comfortable out of the ring, and I think PJ is one of the best horses to get that confidence on.