Today I first rode Reign Day in the arena with draw reins on him for the second time. He acted like he had been riding in draw reins forever. I kept them very loose so that he would only have contact if his head went up too high. He just got in a frame and stayed there. Most horses this green cannot hold a frame but he does it naturally. The draw reins only helped him understand where I wanted his head to be. His trot is lengthening and he is reaching down more. Reign Day is very balanced.
After working in the arena, I asked the others if they would help me take Reign Day to the woods for the first time. Bubba, Aly’s Alpha Boy and Political Pull went along for moral support.
Guess who was the best behaved? – Reign Day!
The creek crossing was the toughest – it always is. We cannot ride in the woods unless the horse will cross the creek. I ALWAYS have problems the first time. I had to get off Reign Day and help him across. Barry took photos of the whole thing. Reign Day then stood quietly while I mounted him from the ground. That was another first for him and a first for me for a long time. I don’t think Reign Day has ever had anyone mount from the ground as riders get a leg up at the track. I use a three step mounting block.
Reign Day stood quietly and patiently for me to get on. It has been a while since I have done this. Once I was up, he stood while I got my other stirrup and we walked off at the end of the line of horses. He was happy to be in the rear. I guess that is why he is here and not at the track.
Bubba had to be first into the woods. (He has won lots of money as a race horse.) Aly’s Alpha Boy and Political Pull wanted to know why we were not cantering and jumping everything. I had to get off one more time to cross another very small muddy area and Reign Day again stood quietly and waited while I hauled myself back up on him.
Melanie on Bubba were not sure of the path and at one point we have to exit the main trail and cut through some brush to avoid a bridge that might not hold up a horse. When Bubba missed the turn, Reign Day lead through the pricker bushes to join the trail at an earlier point near the muddy area where we then let Bubba return to the front. This time Reign Day followed the other horses back through the mud. He hesitated and then decided to try it. He walked and did not leap over the mud.
We walked up and down the hills and stepped over small logs lying across the trails. When it was time to go back to the barn, we had to cross the creek one more time. Reign Day stopped and watched the other horses go over it. He did not get jiggy or worried. He stopped and watched and thought about it. Then he walked forward into the water and started splashing. I quickly backed him out and asked him to stand. He did and then I gave him some leg and he walked through the creek quietly. Most of the horses jump the creek as it is about three feet wide. Reign Day walked through the water. I was so proud of him. He got a good rub and a lot of, “Good boys” and he seemed to puff up and be proud of himself.
This horse has a brain.
I do not like to force a horse and scare them. I like to let him just figure it out for himself. I give some leg pressure and maybe a light tap of the dressage whip to encourage him. Reign Day never once acted scared or flighty out on the trail. Only the creek was scary at first but he overcame his fear and walked across both ways.
We have just seven days until a hunter pace. I would like to take Reign Day to the hunter pace to test our training. It will be sort of like his graduation. We have seven more days until the big test.