I find I am struggling a little bit at the moment, so apologies for the interlude since my last post. I've been in a routine of get up, see Rio, nap, go to work, see Rio, eat, sleep. There hasn't been much thought of doing any more than that. This morning I feel a little more like me again though, so hopefully it's just the end of the Winter blues rearing their ugly heads before the Summer arrives.
Rio seems to know that his 5th birthday is coming up, and thinks that this means he rules the roost a bit at the moment. We've had a few arguments over leaving the field - he took a "dislike" to the electric gate again last week, and we were back to square one snaking up the field to get him out. I hasten to add that this time it is not fear, it is just him trying it on. He's stood right next to the gate since starting this behaviour again whilst I have waved it around him and not flinched the tiniest bit. So anyway, we've been having breakfast outside the field so he has to walk out nicely or he does it again (he's been very good so far though, and not had to repeat!) I'm trying to do it every other day or 2 days in 3 and next week will just do it 2 days out of 7. The intention is to keep him curious as to why he's coming out, and whilst he's not completely food orientated, it does seem to be helping at the moment. That and just having my schooling whip in my left hand for small encouragement if needed.
On Saturday I got up early and rode before anyone else even got up to the yard. That was also a trying incident. Another gate that he's not keen of! We did 20 minutes of schooling in the grass school arena, trying to get him up to the top end of the school gradually as he really doesn't like that end at all. I had to admit a bit of defeat as we didn't manage a full circuit going large without him walking sideways at that bit, or cutting in completely. However, I will take great pride in the fact that I did win the determination award. When we had schooled for a bit, I decided it would be nice to finish on a good note, and that we would go out around the field before I got off. The only problem with that was that Rio was not going to walk out of the gate from the school...
Now, I don't know people's views on neck straps, a couple of friends were bemused when I opted to add one to my tack stash a few weeks ago, but on Saturday it proved its worth! I have a bad habit of crumpling in anticipation of something bad happening when Rio is being a bit of a sod. Not this time. With two fingers looped through the neck strap, I sat up and in, and felt like I was glued to the saddle. Result.
Rio decided that he wasn't going to walk anywhere near that gate - he took a couple of steps backwards. Light bulb moment, if he wants to go back... We're going back. We backed up almost half way across the school before he got bored and dropped his head. When I asked him forward, he walked almost without hesitation through that gate, then we had to negotiate our way through gate two, and again across the forecourt of the car park. We made it to the main gate where he stopped again. Now by this point I was getting a little frustrated, so I gave him a couple of minutes to recollect himself, and have a look around - so he started to go to eat the grass! Well, that was it, he got a sharp kick, I gathered him up and off we went. Absolutely fine after that. And we had a lovely canter out there.
I'm clearly too soft.
Ride safe x