It was a beautiful day. Too nice to ride inside but a perfect excuse to do some hill work, so we headed to the front field. Of course, the first thing PJ did was spook at some plastic wrapped around a tree. I was a little nervous as we moved passed it but I wasn’t going to let fear stop me from enjoying the sunshine.
PJ wasn’t paying much attention to me. He was looking across the field; at the motorcycle driving down the road; the garbage can leaning across the street… I started walking down the hill and trotting up in a serpentine pattern until we reached the end of the field and then trotted all of the way back up the hill to where we started. After walking down-trotting up another half-way, I started trotting him down the hill. PJ was all over the place and couldn’t sit to go down the hill. We repeated the pattern but towards the end I tried continuing at the trot, without stopping at the bottom and top of the hill. I felt some improvement, so decided to call it a day.
I’ve been afraid to canter PJ out of the ring. I know that it’s because I’m a chicken and not because PJ has given me any indication that there is a reason to be worried. So, when we reached the end of the field I thought about it. I was nervous but talked myself through it. Even if PJ got away from me a little, we would be going up hill and he’s not all that fast even when I push him, so…..I was not going to let my fear get to me and I was going to go for it. I got him trotting a couple of strides and then asked. He didn’t pick it up right away but then he took the left lead (the one I was asking for) and up the hill we went. It was beautiful. He reached out his neck and was cadenced. It was lovely. When I stopped him at the top of the hill, he was panting.
We headed back to the barn but it was too nice to go in just yet. I took him for a short hack to the river and let him wade in. He took a big drink and started splashing. I had a grin on my face as we meandered back to the barn.