Henry is wild so very rarely that it’s nothing but hilarious to me when he gets to feeling frisky. Mostly because his frisky is a lot of head twisting, and maybe the tiniest most pathetic crow hop you’ve ever seen. But he’s trying really hard and he’s REALLY impressed with his naughtiness, which only makes it even more hilarious.
My standard “I think he might be wild” approach to a ride is to put my sidepull hackamore on him and let him canter around the field. He gets to hop and play and toss his head for a few minutes and think he’s fantastic, and I get to just sit there and giggle and let him get it out of his system. Alas the field was still a bit wet so I headed into the ring instead.
We trotted around a bit, with Henry at what is his Mach 10 (so a normal horse being forward) and wanting to canter canter canter! Trainer asked if I wanted to join in the lesson and first I said no but then I figured what the hell, this should be entertaining if nothing else. There was a gymnastic set up – two crossrails that were a canter in one stride, and then 3 options for jumps afterward. A bending two strides left to a vertical, a bending two strides right to a vertical, or just go straight and jump out over a vertical in 4 strides.
After a bit of warm-up the first course went like this:
It was actually a really good exercise to do with his hackamore on. The first couple times through he wanted to drag me and mini crow hop through the corners, and of course I had pretty much no control over that. But his lack of focus resulted in him burying himself, which in turn ended up being a good self correction. After that he came back pretty well from my seat and decided that plowing through and yeehawing around the corners was perhaps not a great idea (commence Henry pouting because once again I took all the fun out of everything).
The second course got a lot more complicated/tight/twisty, but again – great to do with the hackamore. Precision was key, so I was forced to use mostly leg and seat to steer instead of relying more on my reins.
He was being good by this point, he figured out that everything came up really quickly so he settled and listened and looked for the jumps. Nothing earth shattering happened, but I love a good gymnastics lesson with low jumps that really drill on basic concepts. I really had to sit up and ride accurately, and he really had to pay attention.
Today the vet comes for his coggins and shots, but hopefully I can squeeze in a quick jump school first.