How long is long enough

I’ve been told time and time again that you let the horse dictate how long to ride.  PJ is notorious for getting tired very quickly, especially in the heat.  Today he seemed to come out tired (leaned on the bit and wanted to curl his neck) and I stopped after a half-hour. He did everything I asked, which was minimal W-T-C.  We did a lot of trot-poles too. One time he crashed threw them and we fell on our knees.  I kept making him  go through them until we got them good once in each direction.  I half-halted around the turn and then sent him forward before the poles as I had been taught.  He was panting by the time he got it.

I debated giving him a long walk break and doing a little more.  The reason I thought about doing more was because I was concerned that if I didn’t push him a little, he would be stuck in a rut of 30-minute rides.  Was his inability to go for a long time a result of him being unfit and could pushing him a little make him fitter?  The reason I decided against doing more was because I have a lesson tomorrow and I figured I would save his energy for it.  I rather him be ready for a lesson than just a ride.

We can be taught skills; we can read books on good horsemanship; but it is up to us to trust our gut to do what is best for our individual horses.  Today I erred on the side of caution and quit while I was ahead.

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